Yesterday marked the centennial of the most debated “pivotal moment” surrounding the outbreak of WWI, the June 28, 1914 assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Duchess Sophia, by a Serbian nationalist. Historians and lay people pinpoint this moment as setting in motion a series of actions by the various heads of state in Europe, who at this time could all trace their genealogy to the royal family in England, the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha monarchy (conveniently renamed the oh so British House of Windsor in 1917) or as one of my sons lays the blame squarely on “Queen Victoria’s greedy grandchildren”.
Glenn Beck frequently denotes current events as the Archduke Ferdinand moment too and while he often is correct in how he reads the raging Islamist Ascendency sweeping the Muslim world, often the dots he connects in concrete conspiracy theories leave me bewildered and confused. Perhaps the way to read history is to try to step back and take a civilizational view of world events, then look closer at the little picture events such as the Archduke Ferdinand moment and from there see what threads really do weave a clearer picture.
Some historians try to eradicate the people problems from history and deflate events to all sorts of other forces at play from resources to demographic surges, to intractable sectarian/tribal animosities, etc. Personally, while all these play into events, at the end of the day, I think, our fate, just like every other civilization’s hinges on leadership – yep, who will guide our ship of state determines whether we can traverse around those giant icebergs, lying silent and menacingly beneath the surface of a calm sea. Who we choose to captain our ship determines whether we will sink ignobly into the sea like the Titanic or bravely attack icebergs like our modern iceberg tracking, “FROM SEA, TO AIR, TO SPACE”.
Now, with the current implosion of the fledgling Iraqi state, the collapse of the Bush ME democracy project, the duplicitous and dangerous support to radical Islamist extremists by Obama, the wolf in sheep’s clothing if there ever was one, we (the American people) are left with a totally failed foreign policy in a region set to go up in flames. So, rather than cry over partisan spilled milk, let’s put on our “thinking caps” (if such still exist in this dismal failed educational system in America) and look at the map, define our national interests, really assess the “big picture” (the Sunni-Shia battle for control of the House of Islam), then figure out where we want to dig our firebreaks in this raging inferno. No, let’s not become the air force for either side in this battle for Iraq. How about we look to the potential for nuclear weapons ending up on the loose or in the hands of total loons, like the Mahdi zealots in Iran or some Taliban zealots in Pakistan or even worse some rogue Islamist crazies? These situations should give us a great deal of anxiety and to mitigate disaster will take close cooperation between Russia, China, the US, our European allies and Israel (of course, help from some sane Muslim leaders would be helpful, but is unlikely and most likely untrustworthy).
Juxtaposed to the ME conflagration, President Obama has set in motion the Van Jones/Cloward-Piven plan, yes, it’s true, even if you’d like to pretend it’s not happening – “top down, bottom up, inside out” – written by the likes of Van Jones and Cloward-Piven radicals. The immigrant children flooding the border presently are part of their manifesto, the partisan rancor, yep that too. The demise of the American economy – deliberate there too. Arming all these various executive branch agencies with SWAT team type forces, under the command of executive branch flunkies and the President, with no Congressional oversight or control, who are they going to “police”? Another of their lynchpins is to foment race riots and incite civil uprising, pitting ethnic minorities against whites, workers against non-workers, the little guy against the corporations, etc. (a classic divide and conquer strategy). Lawlessness at the highest level of our government leaves us in a decidedly dicey situation. Scary scenario, when even far-left icon, Noam Chomsky, fears the Obama surveillance state, “Chomsky: ‘Obama Determined To Demolish The Foundations Of Our Civil Liberties'”.
We possess the most technologically advanced military in the world. We possess a wealth of the world’s most creative and innovative people on earth too. We have bequeathed to us The Constitution of the United States, a framework built to weather political firestorms and repair our fractured American polity. What we lack is a cohesive American national spirit, a common purpose for all Americans. This divide will determine our future, the challenge to be faced is whether we can bridge the huge chasm that divides America into virulent partisan, ethnic, socioeconomic factions into one American team in time to respond to the outside crises multiplying rapidly and spanning the globe. The time for slogans is past; the time to leap quickly to unite is here, it’s time to learn to be good citizens again. Most won’t even notice the moment of decision, but the few who are awake will be the ones who step forward to lead. Let’s hope we succeed and calmly unite our country into one American team again, without having to wing it, as in a story I wrote in March 2014, “Who will defend our castle?”