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Feeding the Devil

This morning’s New York Times has an editorial titled The Saudi Syndrome.

The next time you consider the purchase of a family car that matches satisfying heft with infinitesimal mileage per gallon, you might want to think about where some of that gas money will ultimately be going. Part of the price of every extra gallon helps, albeit indirectly, to finance mosques and religious schools all over the world that spread a fanatical variant of Islam that sees legitimacy in terrorist attacks. This financing, amounting to billions of dollars a year, comes from the government and private charities of Saudi Arabia, a country that is now taking in roughly $80 billion a year from oil exports.

It’s a stark reminder on this first morning of a fresh new year of how the world really works.

And then across the page there’s an op-ed piece by Jared Diamond, author of the new book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, titled The Ends of the World as We Know Them.

History warns us that when once-powerful societies collapse, they tend to do so quickly and unexpectedly. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise: peak power usually means peak population, peak needs, and hence peak vulnerability.

And more…

In this New Year, we Americans have our own painful reappraisals to face. Historically, we viewed the United States as a land of unlimited plenty, and so we practiced unrestrained consumerism, but that’s no longer viable in a world of finite resources. We can’t continue to deplete our own resources as well as those of much of the rest of the world.

Historically, oceans protected us from external threats; we stepped back from our isolationism only temporarily during the crises of two world wars. Now, technology and global interconnectedness have robbed us of our protection.

Hmmm…read the whole article!