"Peace on earth, good will toward all men."
It's that time of season, when some people actually try, consciously, to bring that wonderful thought to life.
Frankly, it works better at the local level -- with food and gift drives for those who need them -- than it does at the level of international politics, where finding creative ways to kill each other remains the norm.
China is trying to lay claim (using some very dubious international law) to some largely uninhabited rocky islands, which might have oil under them, in the East China Sea that Japan also claims. Taiwan, South Korea and the United States are backing Japan, but China is flexing the muscles of its new blue-water navy. Watch, somebody is going to do something stupid and people are going to die for "national pride" over a bunch of rocks in the Pacific Ocean.
The promise to pull our troops out of Afghanistan is being reneged on. Maybe we didn't like what happened in Iraq after we left, where they're now killing about 1,000 people a month there (another U.S. foreign policy success), but keeping a small force in Afghanistan isn't going to end the violence there, either. As soon as we read the deal that was struck to keep our forces there, we looked into our crystal ball and had visions of people hanging from helicopters as the choppers took off from our embassy roof. The conditions of our "support" are going to be pretty similar to what they were in 1975 in Vietnam.
And after working so hard to actually achieve a (rare) foreign policy success -- the sanctions against Iran until it dismantled its nuclear arms program -- the Obama administration now appears willing to give up that success on the basis essentially of a promise that Iran won't build nukes. This deal is much like the one North Korea gave President Bush -- and we saw how well that worked.
The Israelis, who are the most threatened by an Iranian nuke but make a valid point that Iranian missiles can now reach Europe and soon can hit the U.S., aren't going to sit still and let someone in their own back yard put a nuclear gun to their head. This is going to blow up into a major crisis, probably a war, when Israel acts some time within the next year.
Then there's the various Al-Qaeda-like groups throughout Africa, such as Boko Harum, whose members like to burn schoolhouses down with the children still in them. Ignorance is blissful to those clowns, but the violence is escalating and the western powers are rapidly being drawn into that quagmire in central Africa.
And, of course, North Korea could decide to do something really stupid at almost any time.
Those are just the highlights as we try to finish off 2013 with a time of "peace on earth, good will toward all men." Next year doesn't look like it's going to get much better.
So, hug your family and be thankful you live in America. Because the rest of the world has very little peace or good will to other men.
-- Kelly Everitt