Why Is the World Becoming Such a Nasty Place?

Same Old, Same Old

Vladimir Putin is systematically gobbling up the expanse of the former Soviet Union. He swallows some land, regurgitates a bit, then slowly digests what he gulped down, burps, and then has another slice. Future targeted states, perhaps like Estonia, should understand that they are slated to play the 1939 role of Poland after the earlier Anschluss and dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. Estonia should consider itself safe because it is a NATO member; but Russia thinks it is most vulnerable precisely because it is a NATO member: what better way to destroy NATO than to champion the Russian minorities of a NATO member as pretext to carving out territory, and to expect nothing at all in response?

The Dutch were outraged that the daughter of Vladimir Putin -- whose surrogate thugs just shot down a civilian airliner bound from Holland – was living it up in a penthouse in the Netherlands, but then they quickly apologized for being outraged. It is not like she was Jewish after all. (She finally left.)

Speaking of Jews, mobs of Middle Easterners in the streets of Europe are calling for the destruction of Israel, and at times the completion of the final solution -- 70 years after it played out in the streets of Europe. We are told Europeans are worried as these demonstrations become more virulent. But we are confused whether Europeans are worried that their guests are premodern -- or instead worried that the world senses their guests are saying things that they would like to say but cannot (yet).

Christians and Jews -- So What?

Christians are being exterminated and cleansed from Iraq and Syria. But we seem to think they are equivalent to bible-thumping Texas evangelicals and their killers exotic versions of Che, and so the ethnic cleansing is rarely condemned. If Barack Obama would just close his eyes and envision ISIS, Hamas, or Putin as the Tea Party or Fox News, and then react accordingly, the world would be a safer place.

Israel is trying to figure out an effective policy against Hamas. I say struggling, because Hamas is 7th century: using schools, mosques, and hospitals as missile storehouses, wiring up animals to be suicide bombers, stocking up handcuffs and syringes to capture Israeli soldiers for Aztec-like treatment, urging their civilians to become human shields.

In general, the liberal principle persists that when Arabs on the offense kill lots of Arabs it is normal, but when Jews in defense kill far fewer Arabs it is reprehensible.  If Israel were weak, Hamas would do to it what ISIS is now doing to Christians, and the world would react to the rout and slaughter of the Jews with the indifference that it shows to Christians. Wait, it does that anyway.

Yet victory is not an anachronistic ideal; it persists across time and space as long as the human condition remains constant. If the IDF inflicts a great deal of punishment on Hamas, as it did to Hezbollah in 2006, then eventually those whose homes were repositories for missiles and tunnel openings and are now junk will blame (privately) Hamas as much as Israel. Even Hitler lost public opinion once he looked clueless amid the suffering he had caused all those who once cheered him on.