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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

THE GREATEST DANGER FACING HUMANITY TODAY

Sure, there is global warming, and the potential for gross calamity, and below at the end of this posting is a large list of deaths from a variety of causes, but wars, in general, have served as the primary source of human deaths.  True, The Black Death from 1347-1351 had a toll of up to 200 million, and with the ease of global travel today, there should be concern about a particularly virulent strain of the flu.  But I have mostly made fun of the latest scourges in my Huffington Post article entitled, A Pandemic Worse than the Swine Flu, and recently posted on Why are People Freaking Out about Ebola?  I was right both times, thankfully.

Anyway, global conflicts worry me the most today.  There was World War II from 1938-1945 when up to 72 million might have died.  But China stands out as particularly appalling, for the Mongol conquests from 1206 to 1368 disposed of 70 million, while, and this is a surprise, up to 78 million were killed from 1949-1976 in the Mao Era. 

So what is the greatest danger facing humanity today?  Nope, not ISIS or ISIL or terrorism in general.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the focal point of what can lead to total warfare in the Middle East.

Netanyahu today, defying the White House, addressed the U.S. Congress at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner, and gave the speech of his life.  Here are the key factors:
  • In December Netanyahu dissolved their Knesset and called for snap elections on March 17.  His performance today virtually insures that he will continue as prime minister, but their parliament is formed of a bunch of parties, and things are complicated, for his Likud support will get less than 25% of the total votes:
  • Then there is the matter of Republican-Democratic politics.  President Obama refused to meet with Netanyahu on this trip, expressed dismay before the speech, did not watch it and his staff reacted angrily following the spectacle.  Within the hour, Obama did indicate that he read the transcript and agrees with Netanyahu that the U.S.-Israel alliance is unbreakable.  The problem is how best to prevent Iran from getting the A-bomb, and they have differing points of view.
  • The latest deadline for the nuclear agreement with Iran is March 24, which, of course, will be pushed into the future, for Iran will find reason to delay things, and the negotiating nations (U.S., France, Germany, France, Russia, China) are not necessarily all in tune with the USA and Israel.  
  • The problem, then, is not between the U.S. and Israel, so you got to wonder about the intent of Russia and China in this hassle.
  • Further, Iran has already said that a 10-year nuclear freeze is unacceptable, while Senator Diane Feinstein, the Democratic lead on the Intelligence Committee has publicly stated 20 years would be about right.
  • The New York Times explains who wants what, and you can thus appreciate the attitude of Israel.
Which then leads to my fear.  The negotiators will never be able to get Iran to stop building an atomic bomb and gaining capability to launch a warhead.  This might occur soon, like, within as early as a year.   If Israel gets any kind of intelligence of this capability, there is good reason to believe that they would launch a  series of pre-emptive strikes, for there are numerous targets to hit, initiating a Middle Eastern war of unprecedented proportions, which would skyrocket oil prices to $200/barrel.  The world will enter into economic depression, and will not recover for a quarter century.  

On the other hand, there will not be a nuclear winter.  The war will be limited.  And this worst case scenario might not even occur, for the Soviet Union did have an ultimate capability, but did not press that button, and neither has North Korea.  The reason?  The high potential of national suicide.  Iran doesn't have that great a relationship with Russian and China, and would be told that if they tried a nuclear attack, the U.S. would totally devastate that country.  Israel knows that, and need not be so paranoid.

The Union of Concerned Scientists Doomsday Clock is now at 3 minutes, but the recent motivation had more to do with unchecked global climate change.  It was at 17 minutes just after the Cold War ended in 1991 and as low as 2 minutes in 1953 after the U.S. and the Soviet Union tested Hydrogen Bombs.



So this greatest problem today is not at any critical stage of human evolution.  Humanity would survive a Middle East conflagration.  More so, the worst case scenario of an Israeli attack on Iran most probably will not occur.  We can only wait for the future to unfold and hope for the best.

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