The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Bad Choices

On the foreign policy front, the past few weeks have been absolutely awful for the United States. Barack Obama and his Team of 2s disengaged from the Middle East and hoped that kicking the can down the road would somehow turn out okay. The hope and change gang have seen hope dashed and change that is so disturbing as to be the stuff of nightmares.

We have seen the Obama administration cut a deal with Iran that will provide that evil empire with $150 billion, allowing it to arm bad actors and otherwise roil the most unstable region of the world. We have seen Russia insert itself into Syria in ways that are both shocking and oddly effective. Putin makes Obama look like the weak, ineffective leader he is. We've seen a major Afghan city fall to the Taliban, we've watched as ISIS continues it's atrocities, including a news report that these Islamists strive for a nuclear Holocaust that will kill "hundreds of millions" of westerners.

Richard Fernandez comments:
Now we get to find out the truth about whether there are wolves out there. The answer will alter us. History tells us that events always transform men. They never leave them unchanged. William Halsey recorded the effect of the 40s on his generation when he said “there are no extraordinary men… just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with.”

So it will be with us. To the question “What do we do now?” the answer is: “we change”.

People will pick up what Washington leaves on the floor. Populations will act as they have not acted before and individuals will find solutions in places we never thought to look. We will surprise ourselves constantly, often and always because we have to. Considering this last fortnight has been a good one for Belmont Club predictions, it may be auspicious to venture one for the future.

The ideologies forged in the 20th century are dying and with them will go many of our familiar guideposts. They’ve been around for so long many will find it hard to believe they are actually slipping away. For decades it was the unstated assumption that superstates like the EU and a giant federal government were the coming thing. How, if what we conventionally consider the “future” is actually the past?

That’s why things are so unstable. The so-called future wasn’t.

The real future has not happened yet. This is not an entirely trite observation. The years since the fall of the Berlin Wall have been characterized by a futile attempt to buy stability through risk sharing. There was no crisis, which if sufficiently enlarged, could not be solved. Yet it failed. In an era of rapid change emergent risks can no longer be spread. Survival will depend not upon building a bigger boat but making the right choices.
Here's the problem. Our current leadership has made ONLY ideologically-driven bad choices, and worse, has not learned from those bad choices, thereby repeating them ad nauseum. The real question, coming in 2016, it whether we can find leadership that will make better choices, and whether that leadership can help us recover from the awful mess that bad choices has made.