I saw a photo today of a city by the sea. Lovely photo – and almost the first thought I had was how the city might be threatened by global warming and the rise in sea level.
In other words, I thought about danger and change and uncertainty.
The ground is moving under my feet. And under the feet of millions of people, to judge by the comments that are swirling around in the news and social media at the moment.
The news is that we are all much more wound up and tense thinking about problems than we were. I certainly feel the pressure.
I think it comes down to parent figures. We want them to take the responsibility off our backs. We want them to keep things on an even keel, running smooth, predictable.
From the perspective of the West, we don’t want relations between the US and Russia to deteriorate. We don’t want to look into what behaviour and what ambitions have brought about the tension across the globe.
We don’t want Russia and China forming new alliances to to oppose US intentions as they see it. We don’t want Turkey and Russia doing deals on gas that strengthens Russian access to the Mediterranean.
And on the other side, we don’t want the US and/or NATO putting missiles ever closer to the dividing line down the middle of Eastern Europe – at least, we want the defence shield and the extra capability but we don’t want to stir up problems with Russia.
We want a better technology that strengthens the defence shield, but we want it invented in the Pentagon with little or no visible sign to ratchet up the tensions.
Geography and territory still rule in all our thinking. We have not moved on in thousands of years.
And when rogue politicians appear, we get all the more nervous.
I think that is perhaps Clinton’s greatest psychological strength – that she appears as a steady hand on the tiller in this dangerous times on the international stage.
But it’s a dangerous game for her to refer to the dangerous times we face. After all, she was Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. There is always the thought that perhaps things could have been ratcheted down had someone else had the job.
Still, it’s a better hand than Trump can play. He is on the knife-edge of becoming a laughing stock and a hate figure for his attacks on women. And that undermines the image he tries to portray of himself as someone who can talk tough and talk frankly and do a deal with Russia and others.
I think people are getting the idea that he would be ridiculed. Then he would get angry and start posturing in a way that would further threaten the stability of the world.
But he is not an idiot. I think he made credible points at the second debate on October 9th. Here is a link to the transcript of the debate. Search for ‘Assad’ and you will find the section where he says that the US has strengthened Iran, that the US Administration doesn’t know who the rebels are, and that Russia and Iran are killing ISIS.
I think he is missing the greater geopolitical picture in the relationship between Syria and Russia, and that the US Administration are well aware of it. You’ll find that in an earlier article Why Russia has been bombing ISIS