We’re currently right in the middle of the holiday season; a time for merriment, frolicking, and joy for all. Or almost all. A time for lighting up Christmas trees all over the world, or decorating the exterior of one’s house to resemble pinball machines. A time for office and neighborhood parties, for egg nog or harder spirits, and for gorging and feasting on holiday treats with a calorie-be damned attitude. After all, we’ll all go back on our diets after the new year, won’t we? It’s a time for college students to enjoy a lengthy break from their studies and return home to their families, or for extraordinarily lucky ones, to vacation in some tropical paradise. A time to engage in holiday shopping in overcrowded malls with lengthy lines at the checkout counters in most stores, for gift giving and receiving, and perhaps for even feeling more generous than usual toward one’s fellow man.
Of course, not every one will be in such a celebratory mood. Ask the 1.3 million, long-term, unemployed Americans whose benefits are about to run out just before Christmas, if they’re experiencing heaps of the holiday spirit. These people receive roughly $325 a week in unemployment payments which enables them to sleep with a roof over their heads and put some food on the table. But the legislation providing these benefits expires shortly, and our dysfunctional Congress seems little inclined to renew it. Which leaves these people with 2 alternatives; either becoming homeless, or just simply dying. Or how about the millions of people incarcerated in our nations prisons. Think they’ll be frolicking in their cells? Many are there for either using or selling illegal substances such as marijuana or heroin. While these may be unwise choices, the stupidity of jailing people for bad decisions not only destroys millions of lives, it also costs the taxpayer hundreds of billions dollars. While the most deadly substance of all, smoking tobacco, remains perfectly legal.
In any event, I thought it might be fun to examine some of the world’s problems that we like to ignore during the holiday season, but which stubbornly refuse to go away, even with the on-going holiday merriment. The ones currently flying below the radar screen, but which will emerge in all their full glory, come January. Take Iran, for example. Please.
Iran, which is the world’s leading purveyor of terrorism and anti-semitism, is first down with goal to go on the one-yard line, as far as acquiring nuclear weaponry. Those crazy-kid mullahs who run the country have repeated many times that their ultimate goal is the destruction of Israel. The acquisition of nuclear bombs will, of course, give them the means of accomplishing that goal. It doesn’t have to be a direct attack either. For example, a nuclear suitcase bomb left in a hotel room in Tel-Aviv by an Iranian sponsored terrorist, will not only kill hundreds of thousands of residents, it would render the city uninhabitable for generations to come. Israel would undoubtably respond by unleashing their own nuclear missiles against Iran which could kill millions more. But the carnage would not end there. Radiation clouds would form in the stratosphere and travel around the globe, pouring down radiation poisoning on all countries.
The U.S. effort to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weaponry has been to impose fairly tough economic sanctions on that country. While these sanctions have resulted in some impairment of Iran’s economy, they have apparently not been enough to dissuade the mullahs from pushing ahead with their nuclear ambitions. So now, the Obama Administration has engaged Iran in negotiations to prevent its nuclear acquisition. As part of these talks, we have eased up on many of the existing sanctions while Iran has given up virtually nothing. Most foreign policy experts believe it’s sheer folly to expect Iran to discontinue its nuclear bomb development no matter what the on-going talks produce. The mullahs running the country are too fanatical in their hatred of Israel and the U.S. for that to happen. By the way, since the Iranian government despises the U.S. almost as much as Israel, a dirty bomb placed in a hotel room in Houston or Chicago would not be beyond the realm of possibilities. The only way to stop Iran from from acquiring nuclear weaponry would be for the U.S. to undertake decisive military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities, such as around-the-clock bombing of these facilities until they are ruble. But that will never happen with this Administration; nor would it have happened had his Mittness won the presidency in 2012.
Speaking of weak foreign policy initiatives, the on-going “civil war” in Syria continues unabated with us doing nothing about it. The Assad government long ago crossed Obama’s red line in the sand by killing thousands of its fellow country-men using chemical weapons, with out any repercussions from the West. The war is now pretty much stalemated, but the killing goes on without any end in sight. And we do absolutely nothing; a course strongly applauded by both the far right and far left. The one thing that Ted Cruz praised Obama for was not taking any military action in Syria. A good illustration of the sanity of that foreign policy position.
Of course, many other long-term disasters are waiting in the wings. I’ve written before about how the steady and systematic destruction of our rain forests and oceans, coupled with climate change, will have devastating consequences for the very existence of life on this planet. Or how about our highly dysfunctional and polarized government that can no longer produce anything of benefit for its citizenry. The same citizenry that elected this government into power in the first place. I could go on but you get the picture. Besides it’s holiday time. So get in the holiday spirit, and eat, drink and join in all the festivities. We don’t have to check the radar screen until after the first. That’s when we’ll go back on our diets too. And also pay attention to what’s going on in the world.