“Among free men,” said Abraham Lincoln, “there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs.”
Those who get confused about the real priorities on earth and lose their cause will pay the costs
This is the reason I want to speak about the prospect of war tonight, not because I like it but the risks are more clear than ever before. The risk of people as part of humankind as a whole being confused about the real enemies and threats we are faced with.
This is the topic for tonight
Tonight people in Western Australia‘s Pilbara region are being warned that the pending Cyclone Rusty could bring 250 km/hour winds slamming into the coast and inflicting massive destruction. Major parts of the Queensland coast and New south Wales have been battered by storms, twisters and flooding at a scale of increasing force. Both the east and west coast of Australia are encountering changing in patterns subject to greater forces of violence of nature in the future.
That’s nature only.
Like one small wave or earthquake may cause a tsunami, destructive in all its power, – a minor escalating conflict may cause atomic war
Just moments before a tsunami hits can be a time of serene calm, – as calm and hidden can be the preparation of war. In some places the water actually pulls back from the coast. In some cases, harbours and bays are entirely emptied of their water. And people may be misled by those signs, whilst full destruction is pending.
The same applies when times are filled up with hope, where the absence of war does not mean there is peace. Peace though being desired as the most important revelation on earth, – peace being desired as the most important power being able to combat both war and the preparation for it. Peace being required to combat the elements of nature and not destruction ourselves by choice through science being used the wrong directions.
It will be neither Air Force One which brings this peace, nor is it the breaking of a man’s spirit which may cause war, – but the sum of all efforts in either direction of both peace or war will make the difference between our existence or our total destruction, – the difference between the worst possible menace of violence, or our ability to communicate with each other and try to solve problems, – civilised within the potential of our humanity, as civilised we need to be at the major platforms of international discussions
“Civilisation” in the international arena of politics and eliminating dangers, both about forces of nature and war, should be based by principle on communication and efforts to change perceptions and give countries a chance to stick to international acceptable standards, – knowing we do not live in an ideal world. Hence the reason to do it this way, rather than the other way round.
When the bible speaks about the Kingdom of God being pending within the given variety of historical options and debate, – regardless indeed the potential of global self-inflicted destruction, – we have to remember that still a natural law applies: that we can only bring so much of God’s domain into this world as we have access to and willing to apply.
In the past 100 years, since 1914, we have seen two “World Wars”. World War 1 was more profound in it’s destructiveness than the sum of all the wars over the last 2500 years. World War II was four times more destructive than World War I.
The nuclear annihilation of two cities in Japan was the end of it
Two small bombs.
The nuclear bombing which crippled Japan for many years, – had the most painful physical effects for many.
In no comparison with what is available now.
Any humans which survived the first blast of this explosion in eg one city only had major radiation exposure. Some 140000 people who survived this first nuclear explosion being used in war, sustained radiation exposure with many 3rd degree burns and were after the blast subject to the long term after effects of radiation poisoning. They were subject to increased risks on various cancers, the unborn being exposed, – and once born months later, far more vulnerable, with the far reaching increased risks of leukaemia and other malformations later in life.
From the first survivors only some 10% did live for a further 2 weeks as due to the wounds, the pain and the agony.
Nurses being overworked waited just for people to die as this was the last blessing to be relieved from their pains.
The long term after effects were horrendous.
The 2 nuclear bombs destroyed everything in its path. Those bombs killed about 165000 people within the first 3 months in Hiroshima and some 80000 in Nagasaki at a similar time frame
Nothing in comparison with what is available and possible now when any nuclear power would opt to use its arsenal, apart from the domino effect on other nuclear powers doing the same out of retaliation.
The Tsar Bomb eg developed by the USSR and detonated in 1961 over the Arctic island of Novaya Zemlya, had a power of 50 megatons, – about 10 times the total explosives used in WWII, including the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. Its fireball was so huge that it reached the ground while almost reaching the altitude of the bomber plane 10 km in the sky. It was felt almost 1,000 km from ground zero, and the heat from its first flash could have caused third degree burns some 110 km away. The mushroom cloud that formed was about 65 km high and 45 km wide, and the blast could be seen and felt in Scandinavia, where windows were broken. This bomb was originally designed to be one of 100 megatons, in other words twice the power as been exploded.
The Soviets decided in the end not to go ahead with this 100 megaton bomb
Mind you, – – those nuclear explosives were developed in the early 1960ties some 15 years after the end of the second world war and now we are living in a time where small nations developing nuclear weapons which could equate the 100 megatons in about 20 years or less, as those initially being designed by the Soviets and exploded in 1961.
The potential problem for every country in the third world which wants to be a nuclear power, provides the risks they may develop the sort of weapons both the US and Russia already had in the 1950ties, – and the world for certain should not allow this regardless the fact that the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia, India and Pakistan already have nuclear bombs of various strength, -with Israel being included for almost a half century.
North Korea eg is an increasing power, -however a very unusual and unpredictable power, – last but not least as part of its almost total isolation. Despite good connections with both Russia and China in the past, the last 2 superpowers are getting concerned as well, – and the UN does not affect North Korea in any way to change positions of the regime.
There are different ideas about diplomacy and how to apply this in certain circumstances, – but so be it.
There are ideas about applying force, – so be not at this stage!
There is nothing against down to earth diplomacy, face to face at top level, – to prevent an otherwise potential worst case scenario. Only a minor shift in perception may change the risk of war. The reasoning behind this is that North Korea wants to go nuclear as part of its military deterrent in its confrontation with the United States, – which it describes as “the sworn enemy of the Korean people.”
Long range missiles are not aimed for South Korea but are on the long term for the US and its citizens and the only way is working on a shift in perception, guided by both Russia and China as the long term developments and scenario’s may hit them as hard as the US in terms of costs protecting its citizens. It will help the US to get both China and Russia on the same page of the international agenda to stop North Korea with its dangerous endeavours.
The diplomacy of the kind being applied till so far did not work, however top level face-to-face diplomacy has not been tried as yet. Top level diplomacy does not mean bending towards NK’s demands, but high level direct diplomacy should be both aimed to ease the tensions and to create a fruitful alternative, – or NK indeed to face the gradual implications which would make regret its actions.
Such meetings with NK is not rewarding them for bad behaviour but allowing them by choice, and after exploring the alternatives, to engage as the last possible option into the domain of civilisation, – besides preventing the possibility that nuclear technology might find its way to Iran, al-Qaeda and others.
The last scenario would be only the start of a more devastating process, – widespread nuclear terrorism included – –
In the long history of the world, at times there were good powers in the Middle East, – like there were repugnant powers as well, living at the cost of many others, – those who died, forgotten in the dust of history.
As history often shows, people do not learn the way they should do, as a group or as a society, – and with this knowledge in the 21st century we need to make this different to survive as a human race on this planet. The flaws in foreign policy from the past should not be the repeated flaws in the future. Nuclear war starting in the Middle East could easily annihilate the human race, with a destruction and chaos as never being met before.
Like a tsunami may hit us unexpected at the lower coast lines, – nuclear war could hit us unexpected anywhere and unprotected everywhere.
The US may play a major role to help fruitful dynamics, along with China and Russia.
The US can’t be indifferent as a broker, however this does not mean it would be dishonest, or should be dishonest with integrity by principle, – regardless the agenda of placing some safeguards for Israel. Safeguards being justified within the context of ongoing threats. Safeguards, – as the alternative of doing nothing to bend the road among the dynamics in the Middle East more positively, – means simply the clock is ticking towards more chaos and violence. Whether this is in Egypt or with the Palestinians, – Hezbollah in Lebanon or Iran, – or any other areas with conflict including Syria. The last with a promising diplomatic Russian intervention yesterday, with the current regime being ready now to talk to all parties, – despite the risk of so called lip service to dialogue in more sustained ways.
We know it’s all complex, but terrorism and war are even more complex, – and safeguards should be there for any party agreeing with the fact that broader violence is an inflated perception, leading to nothing else than a final destruction of this whole area and with this at least part of the world. Destruction of what once was build in terms of culture and difference. The Middle East being ancient and rich as once was the Roman empire, the first even older than the last.
Everything is a matter of perception and perceptions do rule the world, either in the leaders of people and governments, or in the people themselves. Whether those perceptions are right or wrong, bizarre perhaps at times – if we put up barriers feuded by prejudice, and as such preventing that we work with the most crucial different perceptions of our times, – we are taking away the opportunities of people coming together and making the impossible possible.
Impossible it seems before arriving at meetings, impossible when people are angry at times and reasoning from emotions, leaders living with ideas of going to war, – especially when those ideas do resonate at Departments of existing Foreign policy or at major military platforms. But history shows that the impossible is possible, even when we are faced with the impossible, like we are faced with the impossible of earthquakes and tsunamis when forces of nature do hit us wave by wave leaving behind bewildered people amidst destruction. But the last are situations where people despite destruction and losses of lives find each other in their willingness to help. That’s again a difference in perception, guided by what hits us.
Guided by what hits us, – whether it is a major bushfire or flooding, a tsunami or an earthquake. Those are challenges we don’t ask for but they hit us unexpected, – like a major rock from space can hit us unexpected.
And you know, – we train doctors and nurses, medical teams and fire brigades and all the others to help when required, – but the terrible contradiction comes in when major war hits the horizon.
War may hit us unexpected but the difference is that the dynamics leading to war are premeditated, dynamics who find their roots far too often within inflated perceptions not being properly discussed or taken to a level of exploring different alternatives.
This is the world as it does present us to day, whether it applies to the problems in the Middle East or in Korea, whether it applies to tensions between the US and China. And even when it seems that certain perceptions are not subject for change, those perceptions being purely based on blind hatred and prejudice, – whether it is the prejudice against the Jews or prejudice of any other kind, – still it is worth giving communication a chance, perhaps a last chance. Even when it seems against all odds. However, there should be zero tolerance for people and even countries who simply kill either on their own or in groups, – just for killing and destroying lives.
Zero tolerance for this!
leadership and I mean true leadership is not the rhetoric from behind the desk in front of a microphone, nor is it confronting people with the facts after disaster happened with the knowledge it could have been dealt with differently. Leadership as well is taking fear for granted and leave it behind in order to tackle the problems which need to be tackled. Leadership is not watching a train taking the wrong railway path and simply watching how a collision will occur and tell us thereafter that it occurred without taking action to alarm those being able to stop the train, or plane, – going into a collision course. This applies to the dynamics of potential world events as well, and we know they are closely watched with far too often too little proactive action. And if we speak then again about eg North Korea, the questions is what kind of discussions with NK do we mean? What kind of settlement do we seek? – – Not an American forced process which may escalate problems by American weapons or war. Not the security of us being a slave from a dogmatic regime running the treadmill of their own insecurities by isolation themselves of the rest of the world by their war machinery. Not only by their current war machinery, but by their nuclear potential just years down the line. We can’t afford to turn a blind eye for this
I am really talking about a genuine process which helps both sides to reconsider an ability to take a different direction, – a direction of helping to grow one nation sidetracked from common civilisation, – anxious about the concept of liberation as it would as such destroy the current status quo.
What we know from history is that nations did arise and disappeared at times in the dust of history, a process over many and many more years. We know as well that dictators grew old and were replaced at times. We know as well that the people of some nations said that they had enough and went on the street to provoke change. Change at times so desired and needed. All this is not possible at the moment but we can’t allow one nation at this point of history potentially destroying history itself by simply not talking. Total war as a result of this, triggered by error or miscalculation makes no sense as no one will surrender without resort to those forces which could destroy us all. Believing that negotiations and fruitful discussions do not make sense means that people feel it is inevitable that NK goes it own way by further producing thermonuclear devices and more advanced missile systems in the future, – allowing as such that at some stage we will or may be subject to international blackmail. Not believing in the only possible way of discussions, to change perceptions as an act of real leadership, is a regressive defeatist belief leading to the belief we have no grip to change those forces and powers which need to be changed, – forces which need to be modified based on simply the reason at this time in history.
This time in history!
Whilst sensible words and conversations do not harm and open options for further dialogue, easing tensions, – provocative words and actions may lead to war.
This time in history!
Whilst there is no “magic formula” to make peace, man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly impossible and I believe we can do it again whilst we learn from the past and walk the many miles to reach out to make the impossible possible, – like this happened eg during the Cuba crisis, like this happened eg when the Iron Curtain between East and West Berlin was abolished, like it happened eg when a first US President did visit mainland China for a new chapter in history.
This time in history again!
Facing the facts of this world we can’ deny fanatic nationalism being on the rise, with the situation worldwide being similar to the conditions that triggered both past World War’s. In 1994 Africa’s Rwanda proved how tensions suddenly can explode; church-going neighbors turned on one another with genocide. Close to 1000,000 died. Even women and children that took refuge in churches were hacked to death by machete.
Again this time!
Multinational wars in Africa claimed some 2,500,000 lives, including the hidden war in the Congo, almost completely ignored by western news media. India and Pakistan have exchanged angry threats in the past, backed by nuclear missiles.
War usually does cause famine by disrupting farming, like happened during and after the 2 World Wars. Stalin created death by starvation of millions of his own countrymen in Russia . After the second World War about a fourth of the world was starving.
Corruption and war has starved millions in both Angola, Somalia, Ethiopia and North Korea. Zimbabwe had a corrupt and brutally racist regime, using selective starvation to crush dissents. Wealthy nations do show “compassion fatigue,” Sometimes the news media just ignore situations until hundreds of thousands are already dead. In other places, the problem is not one of war but gross inequality: the rich are sumptuously stocked, while just across town the poor cannot afford even a balanced diet. All too often the poor in so-called “developing” countries have to stand with empty hands and empty stomachs whilst rich harvests are exported for hard cash which then being used to buy weapons being used by the government against its own people.
All this in our times!
The World Health Organization reflects that at least 5 million children die every year from malnutrition. At the same time in the well developed world many children are grossly obese with already early signs of both diabetes and high blood pressure.
The world is shaking both by its bankruptcy of moral values in some countries as literally by earthquakes. Besides this there have been major upheavals in societies and governments in the past century. Empires have been broken up, and divisions have split nations along ethnic and religious lines. In 2008 there was a near-collapse of the world economy due to greedy financial manipulation, with great difficulty slowly recovering but the markets both in Europe and the US still unsure, the last as due to a huge deficit. In early 2011 we observed an Islāmic Spring with still uncertain outcomes.
We can’t deny it, it happens all in our time, in past time and currents times over and over!
In many places around the world people put heavy steel bars over their windows. Often honest people being in jail whilst criminals walk the streets. Confessed rapists and murderers set free and courts finding technical excuse to do so. In some places 80% of all children are born to single mothers with not rarely the father not being known. Many semi-slave laborers as part of the human trafficking industry, often enslaved and very young within an increasing dangerous and powerful evil business overtaking in the years ahead the industry of the “drug barons”. Poisons being poured out into rivers whilst people downstream have no other choice but to drink the contaminated water. Multinational corporations hiding their trail of injustice and profits in a legal jungle of complex contracts where government officials turn a blind eye for cash. The exponential increase of our human population in the 21st Century will raise more expectations on normal living circumstances and shelter, – unsustainable as more people adopt modern lifestyles of consumption and pollution. Climate change will provide a burden for us all, – but in particular for those people with little shelter and less normal circumstances of living.
The 21st century, – all our time and may be the end of times if we don’t pull together as civilised nations and use reason as the guiding force to streamline our decisions, decisions or choices which will determine how we proceed this century.
Conflicts are increasing over essential resources, especially water and energy. Accelerating climate changes with profound changes in patterns both in Australia, the US and other parts of the world. Political and economic instability including the slowly spreading of nuclear weapons give little hope in objective terms. Church officials being exposed as pedophiles, seducing or raping little boys and girls. The Roman Catholic Church turning a blind eye for a long time to this like they turned a blind eye to Hitler Germany to continue as a Church. A reflection of the violence of institutions, indifference and inaction and slow decay. But still amidst this good people as well fighting this decay.
Many good people in our times as well! —-
Going back as not being finished yet:
Hitler, Lenin and Pol Pot who did mislead millions of people doing the most repugnant and wicked things, apart from the “smaller evils” like eg Idi Amin.
However, – still we have the last choice, if people say to kill we don’t need to kill.
If we were abused as children by parents, we don’t need to abuse our children..
For some, – religion as part of their appeal with Al-Qaeda being a prime example now.
All in this world and in our time!
And still, – we can only bring so much of the Kingdom of God into this world as we have within ourselves, – which includes our sense of piety or respect for life, – within the concept of a practical and down to earth wisdom on international relationships.
Our times are full of shame and sorrow despite the hope for a better future where forces of nature should be the enemies and not humankind divided in itself. The victims of the violence and senseless bloodshed are across all religions, black and white, rich and poor, young and old.
“Among free men,” said Abraham Lincoln, “there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs.”
Violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and indifference amidst this is a different sort of violence on its own. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, the hungry and those being victims of broad-spectrum abuse, whether it is human trafficking or the abuse of elderly in homes.
I am not saying this because I have remedies for this. No not at all. It’s more that I am speechless of the complexities and dangers of this world, – our only world.
It is not about me but it is about all of us, young in heart and spirit to do what life asks us to do with the predicaments of our time. This time and for all times, just to set the records straight for future generations.
The question is when we may find in our own hearts that sort of leadership re humane purpose that will see and hear the terrible truths of our existence, to be replaced by the kind of love and commitment which helps people and nations to grow with real destination, with true distinctions in our search for meaning in life, – neither enriched by hatred nor revenge. But a meaning which frees our children from the injustice inflicted by others and allows them not to build their futures on the misfortunes of those who lost their fight for justice in the agony of life.
Let us look around towards our fellow men and women to seek the bond of common faith.
This faith which can teach us neither to be indifferent nor to have illusions, but to see the world as it is and still keep hope by working and healing wounds in hearts and spirit, – by working to be brothers and sisters with a common goal to make the impossible possible.
Whilst there is again no “magic formula” to make peace, – man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly impossible.
And I do believe we may do it again by being free man and taking our bullets of self-destruction to the ballet of international coöperation, – to counteract the problems of our time, to counteract it for the future of our children and their children, – but it will come at a cost we can’t foresee as yet.
All in our time
Paul Wolf is connected on LinkedIn. For more information about him see Google: Paul Alexander Wolf – Physician, FRACGP, DFFP
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