Archive for the ‘genocide’ Category

A Modest Proposal….for Foreign Policy

The world has become such a scary place.  There are so many issues and challenges in the world these days., and there are so many people screaming solutions about this problem or that. The threat of ISIS.  Climate change.  Refugees in Europe.  A nuclear Iran.  Economic lethargy. Lack of education, lack of jobs, lack of political leadership and will.

It struck me the other day as I was thinking about history,and pondering the world and the issues in it that perhaps there was a modest proposal that, much like Johnathan Swift did, like Hercules and the Gordian Knot, could cut through a variety of issues and solve many in a cohesive way.

The start of the solution would be to launch a massive nuclear strike against the Mideast… yes, the whole of the Middle East!!  Iran, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, the whole lot.  Such a strike would eliminate several issues at once and provide some wonderful solutions to our most challenging and perplexing problems!

First, rather than spending money to refurbish our aging nuclear weapons, we could just use them and then build entirely new ones!  Think of the efficiency of it!! The new ones would require building a lot of infrastructure, as our current enrichment and fabrication facilities have grown dilapidated and antiquated.  This would be a tremendous boon in jobs program in this country, both for manufacturing the infrastructure upgrades as well as uranium mining.  Jobs! Yes, jobs!  Lots and lots of jobs!!

On top of that, this would give education a widespread boost because we would need new scientists to run the plants, as well as trained craftsmen to make the equipment in them.  The entire educational process boosted with a single stroke! Of course, we’d need to import a lot of trained scientists because we’ve let our academic science programs deteriorate, but this would be a short term need, or just bring the retired technicians and scientists out of retirement to do the work….which would eliminate the problems with Social Security funding!


Retired scientist Dr. Strangelove coming out of retirement to assist in the educational process

Second, it would eliminate lots and lots of threats, like ISIS, refugees and nuclear Iran.  The wide geographical area held by ISIS would require a lot of weapons, but we have a lot and it would only mean we’d need to make even more from our new plants (see above)!!! Smart, very smart!  Despite their location, the Iranian facilities in Ishahan, Natanz, Bushehr, and the rest could be taken out and forever end the possibility of a nuclear armed Iranian theocracy.  Yes, in both cases there might be millions and millions of people lost, cities destroyed, the birthplace of civilization reduced to glass….but what’s that in comparison to relative calm and stability that would result!


The debate on anthropomorphic climate change would be rendered totally moot!  The amount of debris in the atmosphere, the change in albedo, the increase in clouds would all eliminate any doubt.  And the great thing is that whether the planet got colder or warmer, we would be able to rely on our own sources of coal and gas to keep us comfortable!!

Another great point….No more foreign oil! Drill baby drill!! We’d be back as Number 1 again.  That pipeline the Canadians want to build through the country? It’d be greenlighted so fast it would make their heads spin.  More jobs!  Good jobs! Appalachia could come back with their coal reserves that we could sell to the rest of the world so the countries that would still talk to us could stay warm.  With all that coal and oil being burned, it wouldn’t even be necessary to install expensive pollution control devices, because what we’d be putting into the atmosphere would be minimal compared to results of thousands of nuclear weapons going off!   Solar never was very good, and with the increased debris and cloud cover no one would ever talk about it again!

We could even use this as an opportunity to win new friends in the world!  Imagine how happy Russia would be to be able to use nuclear weapons in the Caucasus’, or China against the far western provinces!  We could even finally become real friends with India by helping them eliminate Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Think how much better the BRIC countries relationship would be with us!! (Okay, Brazil isn’t getting anything out of this, but they’re not a real issue anyway).

All of this could eliminate the refugee problem as well!  First, by eliminating the population centers, it decreases tremendously the number of people escaping war.  There’d be no more war!!  Yes, there’d be a lot of radiation, but that’s a good reason to keep people out of your borders anyway.  The ones that are already out we won’t have to deal with because the rising sea levels brought about by climate change and melting of the polar ice caps would flood out the refugee hotbeds in Europe!  Staging grounds in the Mediterranean would disappear!  Yes, it might mean losing a lot of small friendly countries like England, Holland, Denmark, Greece, Belgium,  but again, you have to think of the greater benefit of the actions!  We’d lose some prime land in New York and Miami as well (New Orleans would certainly disappear) but there are some savvy real estate moguls who  could certainly help build new cities along the new coast!  And that would bring more jobs! Even enough jobs for the immigrants already here to turn them into productive members of society!

UK floods

Of course,there would be nay-sayers and losers who would boo-hoo over the cost.  Lost art, culture, civilization, cities, countries, millions and millions and millions of people.  Our own identity, some would argue, would also be lost but those would be the few who don’t remember their history of Manifest Destiny, or how we managed the native population here.  It would still leave us with figuring out what to do with the southern border of the country, but we could certainly use a new radioactive waste disposal area.

So many issues, so many problems solved with a single game-changing concept!!  It’s such a great idea I’m surprised no one has come up with it before!!


Satire.  Farce.  Gross stupidity.  The point of this is….I’m not sure.   Swift’s point was to lampoon the ideas and the society by putting out a concept that was so abhorrent that no one would take it seriously. I’m tired of people espousing simple solutions (bomb ISIS, bomb Iran, send troops to Syria) or just dismissing the problem (climate change, refugees, societal change) when these are all highly complex and interwoven problems.  There are no simple solutions.  I repeat, there are no simple solutions, only lingering problems and new problems.  Let’s pick one case in point –bombing Iran.  Bombing Iran to eliminate the nuclear facilities brings a ground war (in Iran, in Saudi Arabia, in Israel, somewhere there) with a fairly well-developed country that has a history of asymmetrical thinking and a distinctly non-Western thought process. It’s a war a long ways away, in a challenging climate, with no friends around.  It would be a war that we would have to win by annihilation lest we leave an embittered, implacable enemy behind like a crop of weeds waiting to sprout in the soil, and you can’t kill all the seeds, ever.  It would ruin relationships with West and East, as we assume the bully mantle…only without the people, resources and resolution to fight the fight for as long as the fight is needed.  And, as always, with no thought of an exit strategy or how we fill the void we leave behind.

Everything is a Gordian Knot. It’d be useful if we started thinking about all the threads and considering their impacts. Then maybe we could find a real solution.










NY, Madrid, London, Ankara, Beirut, Paris….Brussels

New York 9/11/2001, Madrid 4/11/2004, London 7/7/2005, Ankara 10/11/2015, Beirut 11/12/2015, Paris 13/11/2015…..and now Brussels.



Sadly, horrifically, the assaults go on.

Haunting Heartbreak

Some pictures remain with us forever, embed themselves in our mind, seer our conscious, break our hearts. Some even change the course of history.

This one should.


Seldom do I feel in so many ways from a picture.  The boy’s age.  His clothes.  His position. His final serenity after the horrors of the capsizing and drowning.

I have never felt for so many others in a picture.  The photographer who has this etched into his minds lens.  The Turkish policeman, who has to respond to the tragedy.  The father who survived while a wife and another son also perished in the seas.

I cry for the inhumanity of man towards man.  The war in Syria has been waged for four years, devastated a country, killing or making refugees half of the population.  Gas. Barrel bombs. Car bombs.  Refugee camps.  Nothing has captured the horror of the innocents like this one picture.

God grant that the conditions that result in this change.

By whatever means necessary.

Genocidal Thoughts

There seemed, this past week, to be a common theme that arose from a historical anniversary, a current crisis, and an ignored tragedy.  And all three are linked by a word and a concept that was not formulated until the 1944, even though the action was known if not labeled.

The historical anniversary was the 99th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in 1915, during World War 1.  An estimated 1.5 million Armenians were killed and died during that year and the subsequent ones.  While condemned at the time, it gradually faded from public conscience until the last few years.  In fact, while I had always heard of the phrase “like a flock of starving Armenians” used by my grandparents and my parents, I had no idea that a genocide was the origins of it.  Interestingly, and I hope significantly, the PM of Turkey, while not apologizing formally or acknowledging it as a genocide conducted by the Turkish government, did acknowledge it in a way no previous government statement ever has.

A friend in a Bible study reminded me of something I knew, but had forgotten, that tied to the current crisis in Ukraine.  The reason for the split in that country, why the eastern provinces are so pro-Russian, is that they were repopulated by Russians under Stalin after he had depopulated them by waging genocide against the Ukrainians in 1932-33.  Stalin feared that the independent minded Ukraine would leave the Soviet Union (they had experienced brief freedom between the Tsar and Lenin), and so began a systematic campaign of killing intellectuals (similar to the Armenian experience) and then collectivizing the land and all the food in it.  Crops were sold overseas to bring in money, while the peasant kulaks were left to starve to death, literally.  Over 7 million people died during the famine, most of them Ukrainian.  The countryside, thus depopulated, became home to ethnic Russians, who are now in the news again.


Finally, another genocide is going on in Tibet.  A beautiful land, of formerly independent people, is being exterminated by the Chinese Communists.  The land mass of Tibet is enormous, but the population small.  Although invaded by the Chinese in 1951 and occupied by them since then, it is only in the past decade that an active campaign of ethnic genocide has occurred.  All things Tibetan, from monasteries to language to schooling to religion, are being systematically erased by the Chinese government.  And, much like Stalin’s work in the Ukraine, the mass settling of the region by ethnic Han is designed to eliminate the popular, cultural, and distinct properties of the Tibetan people.

We keep saying “never again”….but it has happened in Cambodia, Rwanda, Serbia, and Tibet.

Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.  I wonder what seeds have been sown in the current crops of genocide, that will bring forth new trials for the world like the past ones have