To talk about the NFL season kicking off tonight in Seattle along with the rise of ISIS and the ongoing Putin show must seem inappropriate, or at least jarring, but doesn’t it reflect our lives in general? Most of us live in small worlds of family and friends and jobs and personal ambitions and romantic fantasies and pass times against the backdrop of a large world that most of us give only side long glances to. We might look longer if we felt we could really understand, but understanding our world seems harder and harder to do. Actually impossible, so why work hard at it?
Ironic isn’t it? All of this information we humans have compiled over time and it winds up confusing, not enlightening. We have a vast catalog of facts at our disposal through the internet, but our ability to integrate it is not much advanced from monkeys pounding typewriters and accidentally forming a word. We might think we would have a chance to grab the gist of things if those who proffered the information did not so twist it through some ideology or another. As is, we have to delve into too much information, while tossing out most of it as tainted.
Still, trying to make sense of things is a human habit as deeply ingrained as breathing and other bodily functions, so here are a few off hand stabs at making a little sense of a couple of things. While Putin is skilful at making himself the center of attention with his bad boy antics – most recently pressing for a separate state being carved out of eastern Ukraine, he has no end game as far as I can see.
While it has moved liked molasses in January, the European Union now seems to be willing to back sanctions that should hurt Russia’s economy badly. In the meantime, Putin will remain the center of attention but gradually Russians should feel a sharp economic pinch and realize what a loser he is. It boils down to this: The Russian economy is roughly two trillion a year – about the size of Italy’s – while the combined American and European economies are over 27 trillion a year, give or take a trillion or two. Because of the size of the difference, it would only take some agreement on key sanctions among the EU and ourselves to strangle the Russian economy.
Economically, crushing Putin’s bravado is simply a matter of time.
The ongoing antics of Putin the cunning, ruthless kid are slowly prompting the EU to apply serious sanctions, despite the fact those sanctions will hurt their economies as well. But at some point enough is enough, to most people if not Putin.
To me, ISIS is the much greater danger because of their combination of religious zealotry with surprisingly effective organization and sophistication when it comes to using technology. All this supported by billions either grabbed or donated. Who knows when you might find them at an airport near you?
I continue to find the rapidity of their success startling, but as good as they are tactically, their vicious zealotry, which to them seems a good recruiting tool, as with the two recent be-headings of Americans, is just what it will take to SHAKE UP US AND OTHERS enough to ban together to stamp them out.
I often hear TV pundits talk about Americans being “war weary”. Really, what do most of us have to be weary about? What have most of us sacrificed during the many years of our troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq? We are tired of hearing bad news about the little our investment of life and treasure has wrought, but that is not really being war weary. That is just the reflection of a people who expect to have our own way with the world.
Having done some volunteer work assisting our troops and their families, I would say those who have really sacrificed, these troops, these families and their friends, have high morale. They are believers in their sacrifices.
I would say the rest of us aren’t war weary. We are world weary, weary of a world that is no longer our oyster as it has been throughout most of my 69 years. And weary of a national government too polarized to aid in turning the tide.
So, now, are you ready for some football?