Tipping the Balance Towards Oblivion


Part One: Quick
quiz:  Find a pen and some paper. Take one minute and list as many
wars as you remember.


Here’s my
list if you want to compare:

The War of the Roses

The Peloponnesian War

The Hundred Years War

The Boxer Rebellion

The American Revolution

The French Revolution

The Russian Revolution

The French and Indian War

The War of 1812

Custer’s Last Stand

World War I

World War II

The Spanish American War

The Crimean War

The Crusades

The Iraq War

The Afghanistan War

Desert Storm

The Civil War

The Arab Spring

The Boer War

The War in Bosnia

The Korean War (military action)

It is very,
very difficult to imagine a world with no wars. Peace and prosperity that
persists over time is not something we trust or believe in, although it is
definitely something we long for.

PartTwo: Make
a list of countries you thought would likely upset our hopes for a peaceful


Here’s my
list (in no particular order):



Israel and Palestine







(many African nations)

China (expansion in South China Sea)


North Korea


Unless you
are Tom Clancy (Command Authority) you probably would not have placed Russia on the list of nations
likely to be troubled and troubling until just last week.

As I have
heard people say on the internet and television, you may have felt that Putin’s
behavior has seemed somewhat pathological recently, arrogant one moment, pouty
the next. President Putin makes me (and others) nervous. I don’t know if he
makes me more nervous than Ted Cruz, but I can’t think of a cartoon character
to compare him to and, for me, that’s a bad sign.

Who would
have thought, given all the other nations where unrest seems ready to explode
into violence at each and every moment, that Russia would add to and trump all
the rest of the world’s burdens – not because of any horrors that were
perpetrated, but because of what this action portends for the future. We don’t
want another monster on the loose. We already have Assad who would rather
obliterate “his” country and its people than let go of the reins of government.
We already have the prison camp drawings that came out of North Korea recently.
Crimea went to Putin easily, but if he goes on to try to annex Ukraine will they
prove to be as agreeable (scared)?

I understand
that President Putin wants a sea port. It seems clear that the people of Crimea
do not mind rejoining Russia. Why did Putin, who I wanted to put in the ranks
of modern, enlightened leaders, have to resort to using troops to scare the
Crimean people? This seems to be a case where diplomacy would have worked. Yet Putin
did not even try it. With all those foreboding troops around it is really hard
to guess if the people of Crimea are truly happy to rejoin Russia.

Now we have
to add Russia to that long list of countries with political stresses that could
affect the entire direction of the world. It looked like we were headed, slowly
and rather explosively, towards that peace and prosperity we all long for, that
modern, civilized global community where we all get along and work together to
explore the enormous universe that surrounds us. Now this goal seems even
further away than it did last month or last year. It would be so easy to fall
backwards into a new Dark Age. Now we have a new and really giant nation, with
plenty of nukes, to add to that list of worrisome nations who could send us
spiraling backwards at any ragged moment. Can we figure out a way to take a
long, long vacation from war? It sure doesn’t look promising.

This is the
view from the cheap seats.

This blog
post is also available at http://brissioni.com/

By Nancy