Sunday, June 11, 2017

Mere Anarchy: A Look at the World As It Stands Today

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer...

Unending chatter about Russia. What will the investigation find? Will there ever be a smoking gun? Democrats have been afflicted with nonstop Russia hysteria for months upon months, mauling anyone who criticizes them, calling out supposed Russian plants. But despite their mania they may not be all wrong about Trump and Russia. He could have fired Comey to try to hide something. Or maybe the child-president simply lacked the self-discipline to let the investigation exhaust itself. Anything is possible these days. Comey had no bombshells to drop in his testimony but only reminded us that the president is a serial liar--something that might have been shocking at one point but now is so obvious it almost feels insulting.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world...

Meanwhile in the Middle East, destruction from the new regime. Civilians killed in shocking numbers that make Obama's escalation of the drone war look modest in comparison. The Mother of All Bombs dropped in Afghanistan, airstrikes in Syria--not just the ones a couple months back on an airbase, that strained relations with Trump's supposed friend Putin; now new ones against pro-government forces. As we hit at a Russian client state, it's fair to wonder what that will mean for the already precipitous relations with a nuclear-armed power. "Putin's puppet" might be pushing us to the brink of a nuclear war with Russia at the same time that he's plagued by accusations of Russia ties at home. The irony is too bitter to be delicious. 

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

But nuclear war is not the only threat to the species that seems to be increasing. Trump's abandonment of the Paris Accord--a vague agreement that lacked enforcement mechanisms to begin with--only indicates what we already knew. His administration will push the climate closer to the tipping point, the Point of No Return, and toward the grim future that looks increasingly inevitable--melting icecaps, rising oceans, flooded shorelines. American Exceptionalism rears its head once again, grinning its sharp, demon grin as the most powerful country walks away from virtually the rest of the world.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

And, Across the Pond--a hung parliament! Not long ago Labour was certain to be destroyed, but nothing can be counted on anymore. "Socialism or barbarism," Luxemburg said. The Brits seem to be looking more toward the former option as their bastard children across the Atlantic embrace the latter. There may still be good and justice in the world, but the pressing question is whether they can actually come to power and do anything before it's too late. There are only a few grains of sand left in the top half of the hourglass. Corbyn dealt a blow to the savage would-be tyrant May, but the beast she represents has not yet been slain. 

The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle...

There is no knowing what to expect next. Even guessing is less of a science and more of a game. Will Trump be impeached? Thrown out? What can we expect from a President Pence? That stern-faced Christian zealot, wielding the power of the state--would it even be better? Who can know at this point? And we haven't yet even touched on North Korea--an issue that was huge a few months ago but seems to have faded now, likely to come back again before long. Everyone goes about their daily lives like diligent worker ants as the world looks to be devolving before our eyes into pure disorder and mayhem--the Law of Entropy playing out in fast forward. Even as we must do what we can, we are little more than spectators to the free-for-all struggle that will determine our collective future.

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Credit to W.B. Yeats' "The Second Coming" for all italicized text.