Let’s put aside -- for just one minute -- yesterday’s catastrophes of job losses, riots, demonstrations, various political dumpster fires and our chronic catastrophes such as systemic racism, sexism, and various phobias.
Lest we reach a state of emotional exhaustion.
Growing numb would be a catastrophe too.
Just now, per the Washington Post’s Olivier Knox, the terrible swift scimitar of the Taliban scything Afghanistan, and the attendant entrapment of Americans and our Afghan allies, dominates television news.
Meanwhile, the print media is fixated on the rising pandemic and its impacts: the saturation of emergency rooms and the deaths of those who go unvaccinated.
To embellish those reports we now read of massive wildfires from California to Greece to Turkey to Siberia.
Then there are episodic reports of the earthquake and tropical storm in snakebit Haiti.
Now comes the windstorms, as of this writing to include a rare hurricane hitting New York and New England.
The daily news presents as if on-the-scene reporting from the borderlands of the Book of Revelation. Behold a pale horse.
As an unorthodox Jew I don’t hold the Apocalypse to be canonical. Yet something wicked this way comes.
The mass hysteria with which the mass media besets us creates new problems.
The first is banality. There simply is nothing more to say than the obvious.
Many conservatives already deplored Joe Biden and shall now deplore him the more. If there were any remotely credible way to blame Biden for the earthquake in Haiti our jihadis would do so.
Some probably will, notwithstanding any credible lack of culpability for that one. A mere exercise in confirmation bias, casting no light.
Meanwhile, Democratic Party regulars will express disappointment in Biden. Warranted, yet hollow!
As myself a Jack Kemp style Republican “bleeding heart conservative” my heart, too, bleeds for those, American and Afghan, left in the lurch.
I, too, am dismayed by President Biden’s tactical blunder, one precursed by his predecessor.
Yet no light is shed by mere expressions of dismay. That’s merely a device for disentangling our bright halos from Biden’s tarnished one.
For Democrats, it’s also a way of mitigating their political damage.
Meanwhile, the dogs bark but the caravan moves on. While we gaze transfixed at “the fascination of the abomination” a power struggle continues in Kabul.
Which faction of the Taliban will dominate? The utterly barbaric or, dare one even hope, a less uncivilized faction?
Geopolitically, how will this affect the West’s interests?
In days of yore, naked and unashamed imperialism, the long struggle between Great Britain and Russia over Afghanistan and surrounds was called the “great game. ”
It led to the humiliation of various imperialists, as our own fecklessness has led to ours. As the Washington Post columnist David von Drehle dryly observes:
“Churchill observed tribal fighting that had gone on for all recorded time. Through countless feuds and truces, bargains and betrayals. Churchill recognized that the Pashtun tribes would never honor a Western line through their ancient territories. Observing the fighters known as Talibs — passionate and violent young men afire with religious fervor — he concluded that their holy wars were endless. Talib. Taliban. Endless. Everything the United States should have known was knowable before we plunged without planning into the graveyard of empires.”
Once America has reclaimed as many of its citizens and Afghan loyalists as possible, and once the intramural power struggle among the Taliban is resolved, what are the geopolitical implications? Few Americans even know what nations border Afghanistan.
Fewer still can spell them. (Spoiler alert: Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and a tine of Xinjiang, China.)
It would be another dip into a “fatal conceit” as indicted by Hayek, of which we recently were reminded by Prof. Steve Hanke at NR, to pretend that we mere pundits can even interpret the implications.
Surely most of us will inaccurately prophecy what the impact on the future will be.
Only one thing seems clear. America (including myself, a fellow American) is flirting with a state of emotional exhaustion. Which, per the Mayo Clinic, is a Thing.
Per Jennifer Wickham, a licensed professional counselor publishing on its website, “When stress begins to accumulate from negative or challenging events in life that just keep coming, you can find yourself in a state of feeling emotionally worn out and drained. This is called emotional exhaustion.”
And, per Ms. Wickham, use the tools at our disposal to neutralize the stress:
“When you are unable to change a stressor because it is out of your control, it is important to focus on the present moment. In your present, there are many neutral or positive events occurring. When you focus on these types of events, it gives perspective about what is happening around you.”
Yet. . .by the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.
Ralph Benko, co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto" and chairman and co-founder of "The Capitalist League," is the founder of The Prosperity Caucus and is an original Kemp-era member of the Supply-Side revolution that propelled the Dow from 814 to its current heights and world GDP from $11T to $88T. Read Ralph Benko's reports — More Here.
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