Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Not easy to find closure in current news stories

Walt is having trouble writing trenchant commentary on current events. Making predictions is tougher than it used to be. (Lifetime pct .982.) Why? Because for a prognostication to be declared true...or needs an end to the story, some kind of finality. And in the major stories of this year, we just don't find it.

Ukrainians are shooting each other in the eastern part of the country. Some of the shooters -- and some of the shootees -- may be Russians disguised as Ukrainians. Some of them may be Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Some may be Ukrainians who just wish they were Russians, although Walt can't imagine why. The numbers of dead, which were counted in single digits last month, are now counted in scores. No-one knows what Russia (meaning Putin) intends to do. The intention of the USA and the EU is obviously to do nothing.

The civil war Syria sputters on. Obama drew a red line in the sand years ago, Assaf crossed it, nothing was done, someone may have used chemical weapons but we're not sure who and anyway they're not doing it now, the balance of power seems to have shifted from the Islamic extremists back to the Assaf government, but half the sandpit is still contested, and on it goes.

The Afghanistan war is over. Well...kind of. All the infidel invaders have gone home except the Americans, and they're supposed to leave sometime this year, except that the Americans want to stay but want the Afghans to ask them to stay (to promote security and democracy yada yada) which doesn't look like happening until after another free and fair election (LOL) which just took place but whose result is unknown as yet. Meanwhile the poor people of Afghan are being forced to eat grass, according to the International Crisis Group, which means the West should pour more billions of your money and mine down the rat hole, and on it goes.

The search for MH370 continues, with not one body or piece of debris found and about 3/4 of the Indian ocean floor still to be combed. (No-one is going anywhere near Diego Garcia though.) The Malaysian government has released a report of its enquiry into the plane's disappearance. The paper takes all of five pages to tell us that they haven't a clue -- something they might have admitted in the first week, saving a lot of bad publicity.

The search for the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls continues too. The Nigerian misgovernment says they haven't a clue as to where Boko Haram -- radical Islamic extremists, even though Obama doesn't like to say so -- has hidden the children, although they guess it might be in Nigeria somewhere. The USA may be sending drones to aid in the search, or maybe not, but no American boots will be on the ground, or maybe they will.

Having failed to bring peace to Israel/Palestine, John Kerry went on a tour of African hotspots -- South Sudan (Kerry went to Ethiopia -- close enough), Congo [which one? Ed.] and Angola, but not Nigeria -- yet the situation in Africa does not improve. Nor is the kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls a unique incident. See "Nigeria schoolgirls just part of Africa's cruel history of child soldiers, enslavement". Aren'tcha sick of it? Walt is.

And there's one more piece of "news" -- speculation, actually -- which is freezing the cockles of Walt's heart. The "Lexington" column in week's Economist magazine predicts that Hellery Clinton is almost certain to be the Democratic candidate for the US presidensity. Why? Many democrats, "Lexington" says, have buyer's remorse over the Obama debacle, and reason that it's Mrs Clinton's turn now, before she gets older than Reagan. Besides, who else is there? Joe Biden? John Kerry? Senator Hasbeen? Congressman Nobody?

But it gets worse. The Republican front-runner, according to "Lexington", is none other than Jeb Bush! (Michael Moore will be delighted!) As with the Dems, it's hard to think of any other plausible candidate. So we have 30 months in which to contemplate a presidential election between (a) Bush and (a) Clinton. Please excuse me now; I have to go outside and be sick.

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