So 2021 is turning out to be as big a mess as 2020. Perhaps even bigger.
Not only do we have Covid-19 and the Delta variant, also Epsilon and anything else that crops up, we also have a Vietnam rerun in Afghanistan, major displacements and a refugee diaspora from so many countries, an ongoing disaster in Lebanon, increasing tension in the Middle East, essentially a civil war in Venezuela, civil unrest in the US, an increasingly ineffectual leadership throughout the world.
Covid has the capacity to wreck economies. Many Governments are being total dumbos with their reluctance to actually deal with the issues. Some think they can ignore it, like Brazil. Others downplay it, like the US only to turn it into a political football that costs people’s lives on a daily basis.
In Australia, we had Conservative Federal and State Governments making a serious mess of things, while Centre/Centre-Left State Governments are being berated for “damaging” the economy with rolling lock downs.
Australia’s Covid numbers were not great, but considerably better than many other nations, until a Conservative State Government refused to go into lock down over a “minor” outbreak. One person, unvaccinated, a driver ferrying international flight crews, got it. In the two months since then, the outbreak threatens to derail the entire nation. There have been linked cases in almost every State and Territory because one State Government used “local quarrantine” rather than a short, sharp and intense lock down.
This, apparently, was done on the advice of the Department of Health. It seems the Head of the Department did not recommend a total State-wide lock down and at no time did so. I really find that difficult to accept. When confronted with that very question Kerry Chant dodged it, both the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian and the Health Minister also didn’t answer it. I would suggest that for the Conservative Governments it’s “keep the economy open”. Doesn’t matter that such action may have a short term hit, as shown in New Zealand, but also has a longer term strong bounce back, as again shown in New Zealand. Why is this bounce back ignored?
To me, this represents the typically limited, short term thinking of Conservatives. Don’t worry about next week, let’s get through this week first. It’s always justified in terms of “the greater good” or “the best advice we have”. In the case of Covid it has been a wimpish approach that has only created longer term problems.
The Federal Government encouraged this lazy approach which in 2020 Victoria tried and failed miserably. A large percentage of Covid related deaths in Australia occurred with this approach, particularly in the aged care facilities. I thought State Governments had learned, but not NSW. My own State, South Australia, has had two lock downs, one for three days, one for a week. Sure, we got lucky, low population density, winter, and swift action to curtail outbreaks, but our contribution . NSW and Victoria have had serious issues but NSW is easily outdoing Victoria by more than 10 to 1 right now.
I suspect the real issues now are complacency, general weariness with lock downs and Covid regulations that are not making any friends right now. There are now an increasing number of people who are just no longer prepared to put up with the inconvenience of a lock down. This too is a flaw in the rolling lock downs Conservatives have applied. A lot more people are going to die before this pandemic runs its full course, I’m afraid.
Afghanistan, talk about a cock up. It was bad policy to support the Taliban to fight the Russians. It was poor policy to continue that support, when it became clear that the Russians were pulling out. It was really bad policy to intervene and send troops into Afghanistan when historically, every invader has been kicked out, going further back than Alexander the Great. Did anyone think that the NATO force sent in would be seen as anything other than an invader? Even the British were forcibly ejected when they were at the height of empire.
The Taliban are no more than a bunch of thugs using religion as justification for their murderous ways. Just as the Catholic Church has been used by the same kind of thugs, Islam too is easily perverted for the psychopaths that make up the “leadership” of the Taliban and other such groups. When anyone uses religion to justify murder and mayhem, you know that it is a veil providing respectability to a bunch of killers. Their recent promises are an attempt to ease the concerns of more powerful nations, but as those nations are populated by ‘Kafirs’, that is people who do not follow the tenets of Islam, lying to them is of no consequence.
The unfolding tragedy of Afghanistan is going to set an example that haters will use justify their hatred of Islam, and the cycle of hatred continues.
In most Islamic nations, the modern Western Democracies are labelled “Crusaders”. The basis of this is that the Crusaders who invaded Muslim lands for over a century, often with little success. It is interesting to note that much of the flowering of Islamic science, culture, social development occurred prior to the Crusades, while after Islam seemed to fall into a rigid stupor with few, if any advances in any area, for centuries after. Ironically, these same Crusades planted the seeds that flowered into the Renaissance another century or more after the last Crusade. It is the horror tales surrounding the Crusaders that make a loud alarm go off for many Muslims, when any Western nation stirs any nastiness.
The worst aspect of this is that relatively few Taliban managed to overrun a trained and well-equipped military within weeks. Why?