Led by a few thinking brains scattered amid the 7.3 billion humans who congest this small planet we have attained a plateau that gives us a glimmer of hope that we may yet understand Life and the immense opportunities it offers. Sadly our progress is mired in the mud of human ignorance that fails to know ourselves, the microscopic world, or the composition and frailness of the solids, liquids, gases, and energies that have, temporarily, so arranged themselves as to make Life possible.
One of our current failures is called Terrorism. It is rooted in Rejections and Misconceptions that breed Hatreds. It is widespread but called by other, more soothing, names when we, or our allies, are guilty.
Facts abound but selection is selective by this Human species now dominant after over 3 billion years of evolution which we cannot afford to waste. Entrenched Self Interest and Greed limit the role played by the Media that is vital to remedies. We are fortunate in what we call The Free World to have scores of dissidents, investigative reporters, and whistle blowers who lift the veil, for those who will look, on our faults.
Today, we see much of the human world united in mourning the shameful loss of over 300 lives in Lebanon, a Russian passenger jet, and Paris by a group known as the “Islamic State”, “IS”, “ISIS”,” ISIL”,or “Daesh”. It has brutally murdered thousands, the majority of whom have been other Muslims. It arose amid the chaos we created as a result of the 2003 invasion of Iraq by US, UK, Australian, and Polish forces.
Earlier, some of the current mourners have been mute at the massacre of thousands because the terrorists were allies and/or their own self interests. Likewise we see inadequate action when terrorism arises in most regions of the world, even between husbands and wives. This is ridiculous and nullifies the sacrifices we have made for the future we yearn. How to remedy it?
We humans need, and crave, human and animal companionship, yet we divide ourselves into groups by age, economics, ethnicity, geography, hobbies, languages, philosophies, politics, sex, and whatever. They can be a blessing or a curse, but they all limit the mingling of minds.
We should have learned, over the last 12,000 years, that force begets force, solves nothing substantial, has sent over 8 billions to untimely deaths and destroyed innumerable infrastructures.
Some of our many empires have done more good than harm and their legacies remain with us. Many of today’s failed states were better off under Roman, Ottoman, British or French rule. The new empire leader, the United States, is difficult to rate. It has, in spite of internal squabbles, done immense good and is capable of doing much more, yet it maintains massive and unequalled force with military personnel in 130 countries on up to 1,000 bases, some large, some tiny, but all a source of friction. The Roman and British empires were content with less than 50 bases each. The USA emerged from WWI as a force to be acknowledged but one that refused to join the League of Nations, later joining the United Nations which it has tried to dominate along with a few others granted veto power. It still refuses to join several world organization including the International Criminal Court considering it a threat to US independence. Can the US actually lead when it is plagued by flaws that include a kick-ass mentality, an obsession with guns, 1.096 armed militias with 100,000 members, a cruel penal system with the world’s largest number of inmates, inadequate health and legal care, a money-controlled congress, and an $18 trillion debt? In spite of all this the US believes it can lead. Into what?
What about other individual or groups of nations? The US “Fund for Peace” think tank, using 12 factors, rates 178 nations. Finland ranks first with 17.8 “bad” points, Sudan last with 114.5.
The rankings of other, selected, countries are: Scandinavia takes the top 4 slots. New Zealand #7, Australia 9,Canada 11, Germany 14, UK 18, France 19, USA 21, Japan 22. South Korea 23, Poland 26, Spain 27, Italy 32, Russia 42, Israel 48, Iran 63, Egypt 69, Saudi Arabia 78, Turkey 89, Ukraine 95, China 96.Of the 53 least viable states 35 are in Africa.
World problems should be solved by a world organization staffed by individuals dedicated to the world. Well, we do have the United Nations. What about its peacekeeping role?
The anti-conflict United Nations has no standing army, but it has suffered 3,395 casualties since 1948. When the Security Council authorizes intervention it can call on 122 countries offering 120,000 uniformed personnel (3.8% female). For each mission, the UN Policy Evaluation and Training Division provides help for selected field personnel who come on a 1-year rotational basis, for a current force of 15,845.
The vast majority of these are from cheaper and poorer countries resulting in an army that is not representative, sometimes poorly trained and screened. Nepalese troops brought cholera to Haiti and UN troops have been guilty of rape in the Central African Republic by troops from the Congo where 400,000 women are raped annually. Countries that have violated UN resolutions are led by Israel with 66 followed by Turkey and Morocco. The UN has endured massive failures such as Somalia, Rwanda, and Srebrenica where a few Dutch troops were unable to prevent the massacre by Serbians of 8,000 Muslim men and boys. But the UN has had a score of successes and warrant greater support. To date they have been able to intervene in only 20% of the situations authorized by the Security Council. For a frightened world the UN is our one best hope.The leading donors to the UN are:
Money: USA, Japan, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Norway, France, Sweden, Canada
Troops: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Rwanda, Nepal, Senegal, Ghana, Burkina Faso, China
For non-UN and combat roles Daesh foes have expended $11 million daily and 2,230 bombs monthly. IS replaced immediately their 20.000 killed with many from affluent countries, even including a few women. What motivates them?
Drones that, without warning, have killed many civilians are a factor. Four brave, risk-taking ex-drone veterans and whistle blowers are featured in the new film “Drone”now being premiered in Toronto and New York. They echo my ever-present qualms from my 1942-3 RCAF Bomber Command nights. We had a few amazingly-accurate operation but most were indiscriminate. When the USAAF joined us in 1943 with a promise of pickle-barrel daylight accuracy we found the pickle barrels had huge diameters. Today we have smart bombs and drones but the death toll of innocent civilians is still counted in thousands. Is killing at a distance more humane than the intimate slashing of throats by Daesh? It is the old story of the chicken and the egg. Who started it all?
It is incredible that any human brain would desire to destroy another such unique structure, the pinnacle of evolution and the most complex organism we know with its 100,000 billion connections and whose existence needs a mobile body made up of 75 million million cells, 90% bacterial and 10% human that can be compared to a colony of ants. Each individual performs its tasks without knowledge of the overall purpose. Is this not also identical for the 7.3 billion humans now congesting this planet? Is there a purpose we cannot see? Our bacterial cells are mostly beneficial but can, like humans, kill if they get out of their programmed niche. Both cells and humans have the ability to influence others. When Daesh takes over an area it forces the children into schools where they are immersed in their repulsive philosophy. Many schools are financed by Saudi Arabia and its Wahabism that teaches all others are infidels. We need to fight IS schools with UN schools. Daesh is also financed by all those who buy their stolen oil and ancient artifacts. Millions of us care only for our own greed and provide IS with $50 million monthly buying its smuggled-out oil, mainly in Turkey. This also needs to be fought by a strengthened UN.
All of our religions and philosophies have been born by individuals whose followers, blessed with oral and written skills, spread the word to others who yearn for meaning. Today we have numerous groups fighting climate change, poverty, over population, animal cruelty, wealth inequality, police brutality, gun proliferation, and so on. Our survival demands we melt them into one UN force for good.