How did you celebrate Memorial Day?
For some, it’s little more than the three day weekend that kicks off the summer.
For others, especially those who have seen the horrors of war face to face, it is a time of deep reflection.
And such was the case on last Sunday’s edition of “60 Minutes”.
At the end of the broadcast America’s favorite crotchety uncle, Andy Rooney, shared his usual blend of semi-cynical philosophy.
But this time he included an unexpected twist.
“I wish we could dedicate Memorial Day, not to the memory of those who have died at war, but to the idea of saving the lives of the young people who are going to die in the future if we don’t find some new way – some new religion maybe – that takes war out of our lives. “
Few of us would argue that this world would be a much better place without the scourge of war.
But fewer still have ever come up with any practical suggestions on how to avoid it.
This week we have seen that if there is some way to bring peace to our planet, we’d better get after it and pronto.
North Korea has returned to some world class sabre rattling.
Defying world powers, N. Korea conducts nuke test
Monday’s nuclear test, the North’s second after one in 2006, drew sharp international condemnation and U.S. President Barack Obama said Pyongyang’s nuclear arms program threatened international security.
The nuclear test raised concern about North Korea spreading its weapons to other countries and groups. The United States has accused it of trying try to sell nuclear know-how to Syria and others.
“Another risk is that the North Koreans might peddle some plutonium, or peddle some technology to terrorist groups, that would also be very, very serious,” Hans Blix, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the BBC.
But wait! There’s more!
Coming in a close second in the “Let’s Stress Out the World” competition was perennial threat to peace Mahmoud Ahmadinejhad.
Iran’s Ahmadinejad rejects Western nuclear proposal
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday rejected a Western proposal for it to “freeze” its nuclear work in return for no new sanctions and ruled out any talks with major powers on the issue.
The comments by the conservative president, who is seeking a second term in a June 12 election, are likely to further disappoint the U.S. administration of President Barack Obama, which is seeking to engage Iran diplomatically.
Iran sends warships to Gulf of Aden – navy
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran has sent six warships to international waters, including the Gulf of Aden, to show its ability to confront any foreign threats, its naval commander said on Monday.
Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, quoted by the ISNA news agency, made the announcement five days after Iran said it test-fired a surface-to-surface missile with a range of 2,000 km (1,200 miles), putting Israel and U.S. bases in the area within reach.
Iran said on May 14 it had sent two warships to the Gulf of Aden to protect oil tankers from the world’s fifth-largest crude exporter against attacks by pirates but ISNA did not make clear whether they were among the six Sayyari talked about.
Iranian waters stretch along the Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman. Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, through which about 40 percent of the world’s traded oil is shipped, if it were attacked over its nuclear programme.
“Iran has dispatched six … warships to international waters and the Gulf of Aden region in an historically unprecedented move by the Iranian Navy,” Sayyari told a gathering of armed forces officials, IRNA reported.
It doesn’t take an expert in international affairs to determine that we are walking on increasingly thin ice.
When we stop to consider the danger presented by increasingly unstable regimes getting their hands on increasingly destructive weapons, as well as developing the capability of delivering them, it’s easy to see why people like Andy Rooney believe something radical must be done.
As radical as an avowed atheist like Rooney advocating a “new religion- that takes war out of our lives.”
Well as the old saying goes, there are two great tragedies in life – not getting what you want, and getting it.
The Bible tells us that at a time of intense global conflict, a powerful leader with just such a spiritual solution to the world’s problems will arise.
Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.
Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.
And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.
So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” (Revelation 13:1-4)
There was a time when many people would scoff at the idea that one man could dominate our increasingly restive and conflict ridden world.
Who would be willing to surrender their national sovereignty to follow such a dictator?
And even if he did manage to bring peace and prosperity to a world teetering on the brink, would people in our brave new world actually worship him?
If he gets results, it sounds like Andy Rooney would be willing to sign up for his Sunday School class.
The eminent British historian Arnold Toynbee once made this telling observation:
“By forcing on mankind more and more lethal weapons, and at the same time making the World more and more interdependent economically, technology has brought mankind to such a degree of distress that we are ripe for the deifying of any new Caesar who might succeed in giving the World unity and peace.”
The arrival of that new Caesar may be nearer than we think.
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