- 23 April, 2017
The soil around volcanoes is often rich and fertile, which is why people keep living on their slopes. However, if they fled every rumble, tremor and sniff of Sulphur, they would never get anything done… so they stay until the day they simply cannot run fast enough.
The Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan probably provided the best history of the start of World War One in her 2013 book “The War that Ended Peace: How Europe Abandoned Peace for the First World War”. One of her arguments was that Europeans had got so blasé about crises in the last decades of the 19th Century that the continent slipped into the First World War largely by accident.
Europe hadn’t deliberately decided to commit collective suicide, it was just that they got so tired of headlines reading “Risk of War!”, that they stopped paying attention. In short, they ignored the rumbles, tremors, and sniff of Sulphur until it was too late to do anything.
Thus, on to the news of the day…
“Trouble in the Balkans”: The Albanians – particularly the Muslim ones – are acting up and proposing the creation of a Greater Albania, and the Serbs and Macedonians are getting dangerously tired of their crap. Same-old, same-old but with the added pleasure of Islamic Fundamentalism and mass movement of “Refugees” into Europe.
“Instability in the Middle East”: At one level, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran are duking it out over who runs the Middle East, while the Salafists try to polish off a Secularist regime… nothing to do with Israel except as a cheap way to get cred on the Arab Street. The really old same-old, same-old, and only the Russians seem to get it; God knows most of us don’t.
“North Korea Threatening War”: Yawn. This kleptocratic cult-state is a sore point where the interests of several powers intersect. Same-old, same-old; except that China has just kicked Pyongyang right in the crotch by stopping the regime’s biggest money-maker – sales of coal to China. The Crazy Fat Kid and his coterie really are in trouble this time; their posturing might not really be an act this time.
“Famine in Africa”: Cue the usual alarums from NGOs, and – heaven help us – celebrity fundraising and posturing, right? No. Moreover, this one really is bad in a broad swath from Yemen to Northern Nigeria. All the causes have merged, weather/climate, drought, over-grazing, endemic warfare, misgovernment (where governments even exist) and collapse of whatever infrastructure existed before into a perfect storm. Oh, and food prices are inching up again while the global stockpile has shrunk. This one is going to be really, really bad… and there isn’t much we can do about it.
All these rumbling volcanoes; which one will really erupt? None of us can really know until the ash and pumice is raining down.
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