Only a missile apart
Firing a missile into the sea is the politician’s equivalent of typing an email in bold caps. Universally seen as shouting, or a rude gesture, it nevertheless provokes a response ‘Yah, boo to you, too’. Trouble is, voters are not content with ‘Yah, boo’ any more. Violent words and gestures demand a robust response, they say. Diplomacy should be more to do with thumping than thinking. How childish we become when autocrats are made leaders.
Every peacemaker knows that if you don’t stop it early you may not be able to stop it later. Tempers flare, ‘amour’ becomes a bit too ‘propred’, face is not so much lost as flushed. Anger is personal but it is patriotic too. “My country right or wrong” has once again become the cry. Such assertion in a nuclear world turns into ‘kill or be killed’ incredibly quickly. You do not have to be a pacifist to want to live. What is our duty in such a lofty scenario?
A clever and thoughtful reader of the ‘The restless’ (Daily Paradox 10th Feb 2017) commented that my enjoinder to ”stop it now” was more easily said than done. Indeed, but the effort to stop it now is not difficult. It requires time to speak up, to write to your politicians, to compile your views and make them known. Too busy? We all are. But let’s hope they don’t ask why we were after the holocaust. I wouldn’t want that on my Post-Era Conscience.
It may, of course, be only a small war. There have been plenty of local skirmishes, indeed still are. But so far they haven’t involved nuclear weapons. They have been taking place in a world of comprehensible diplomacy where dedicated men and women struggle to calm frenzies before they become fatal. We are losing that calming, not because of less diplomatic dedication but because voters’ tolerance has declined. Brexit became Brexit for all the wrong reasons. That isn’t a nuclear war but one day Europe will deeply regret it.
Political ideological dogma could once again become as dangerous as it was in the cold war, maybe more dangerous. It must be firm but measured. Parents who hit are bad parents; those who over-indulge are worse. The response to Pyongyang over its aggressive missile launch must be unwavering but calm. North Korea is quite likely near the brink of a political upheaval. When that comes we want it to join the world not to isolate itself even more.
Much of the developing world has the characteristics of teenage children. Growing up is a painful business both personally and geographically. The developed world should treat its up and coming youngsters with respect and show them examples of steadiness not stupidity.
Children only grow into responsible adults when they see their parents modelling it.
Can our world leaders behave like good parents, please?