Friday, April 19, 2024

#110 / Rethink Everything


On April 6, 2024, The New York Times ran an article titled, "Power by Proxy: How Iran Shapes the Mideast." As might be expected from that headline, the article illuminates the various conflicts that seem to define this part of the world, with many of these conflicts, if not all of them, being based on religious differences. 

Since that article appeared, as you will undoubtedly remember, Iran launched a massive missile attack on Israel, billed in our press as more or less totally ineffective. Now, the world is waiting for what happens next. End of the world, next stop? That is certainly one option. Biblical references to Armageddon may be relevant! However, unless and until some future and definitive event or events occur, let's remember the words of Bob Dylan, admittedly sung and spoken in a much different context: "Now ain't the time for your tears." 

While the thoughts of Thomas Friedman are much less poetically expressed, a Times opinion column by Friedman, published on April 10th, conveys a sentiment similar to the one expressed in Dylan's song. The Friedman column was titled, "Israel: Cease-Fire, Get Hostages, Leave Gaza, Rethink Everything."

I'd like to stress the "rethink everything" suggestion. Friedman, who is pretty well informed on what's happening in Israel, and Gaza, and in the Middle East in general, gives us about a 5% chance of making things better. That sounds like a long shot, to be sure, but here's what Friedman says, in arguing for us to try to avoid what the pundits predict: 

I have read all the articles about how a two-state solution is now impossible. I think they are 95 percent correct. But I am going to focus on the 5-percent chance that they are wrong, and the chance that courageous leadership can make them wrong. Because the alternative is a 100-percent certain forever war, with bigger and more precise weapons that will destroy both societies.

So, if we don't want Armageddon, says Friedman, we have a 5% chance for peace. We need to go for it, I'd say!

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