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March 21, 2011

Two Evolving Crises; no Solutions in Sight

Eleven days after Japan’s catastrophic tsunami, CNN was informing us that smoke is rising from two of the nuclear reactors thought to have been brought under a measure of control yesterday when electrical power became available at the site (shut-off of electricity by the earthquake itself was blamed for the nuclear crisis). Once again, soothing reassurance was followed by a new alarm; a sequence that's becoming all too familiar to an anxiously waiting world.

Meanwhile, in Libya, there is still no word on the condition of Colonel Gadaffi, that nation’s painfully bipolar autocrat whose HQ was apparently damaged yesterday by aircraft and cruise missiles launched by a hastily assembled coalition representing both the UN and the Arab League. What Libya and Japan have in common, in addition to heightened uncertainty, is their disproportionate importance to both the world’s energy supplies, and its economy, obvious facts that seem to have finally intruded on the consciousness of two wide-eyed CNN news readers who began- spontaneously and perhaps understandably- engaging in their own version of “mission creep” by discussing whether President Obama was guilty of that infraction.

Against that improbable background, we were also told that Minnesota’s governor will explore a run for the Presidency, and Wall Street, having assumed Japan will recover soon from its tsunami and start rebuilding, had just added 200 points to the Dow, a bit of news contrasting oddly with the ubiquitous ads from debt relief companies (which may be more realistic). Another straw in the wind is continued news of unrest in the Arab World, most recently from Yemen.

A quick overview of Col. Gadaffi’s history reveals that he’s been a remarkably versatile opportunist who gained control of a sparsely populated oil rich Arab state at an early age and has managed to retain it for over forty years despite (or perhaps because of) his notorious unpredictability. That he is not without his dark side is signaled by his admission of responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and later payment of a 2.7 billion dollar indemnity.

Carping at Obama by both his liberal and conservative critics for (finally) taking action against Libya misses the point that Gadaffi is not any old despot and Libya is not Rwanda or the Ivory Coast. The US, as the unfortunate reign of George W. Bush so recently demonstrated, cannot afford to go nation building whenever GOP fat cats have a yen to steal from from the Treasury; however those complaining about its cost so soon after the Bush-Cheney debacle obviously have a very short memory indeed.

All things considered, This still shapes up as a better day for misanthropes than for the species; but I'm still looking for that silver lining...

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at March 21, 2011 07:42 PM