May 6, 2003

By Michael Strickland

A Different World?

Wow. The world seems like a completely different place than it did just months ago. Earlier this year, we stood poised on the brink of war, with all the trepidation and uncertainty that such a position instills. Did Saddam Hussein have weapons of mass destruction? Would he use them if the U.S. invaded Iraq? Would al Qaeda strike in retaliation? Elsewhere in the Middle East, the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians continued unabated. And in Asia, nuclear dragons slumbered uneasily. Kim Jong Il's bravado about North Korea's nuclear capabilities became ever more blustery, and the longstanding tension between nuclear-capable India and Pakistan crackled like static electricity on a bone-dry day.

Now, still not even halfway into 2003, a war has been fought and won. A ruthless dictator has been deposed in Iraq, and efforts are underway to install a democratic government in a country that has been ravaged by violence and oppression for nearly 40 years. The al Qaeda masterminds of the 9/11 attacks and the USS Cole bombing have been captured. In Israel, homicide bombers still wreak havoc, but a new roadmap to a permanent peace between Israelis and Palestinians—which could see the establishment of a Palestinian state as soon as the end of this year—has the two sides making real progress toward an end to their conflict. In North Korea, Kim Jong Il has grown noticeably quieter since U.S. and coalition forces swept through Iraq. In recent weeks, the Communist regime has even expressed its willingness to participate in negotiations to end the nuclear standoff on the Korean peninsula. And finally, in today's news, peace seems to be blossoming in southern Asia as well. India and Pakistan announced that they have agreed to restore all diplomatic ties and transport links—including a resumption of cricket and field hockey competitions between the two countries. If they can meet peacefully on the playing field, then there is certainly hope that they can resolve their larger conflicts.

Since September 11, 2001, I have grown increasingly nervous about the geopolitical state of the world. The devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks seemed to have blown out the doors of Hades, releasing all kinds of ghouls and banshees around the world. I thought it was only a matter of time before nuclear fire bloomed somewhere on the planet. Amidst all the Orange Alerts, I felt certain the next 9/11 was just around the corner. Of course, that all might still happen. But comparing today's daily news with that of a few months ago, it seems like a different world. While knocking on wood, I'll go out on a limb and say that it seems the storm is receding. And though many might disagree with me, I give a fair share of the credit to President Bush for his decisive and relentless pursuit of peace through superior firepower in the War on Terror. Without a significant show of strength—a dedicated effort to prove that we will defend ourselves, that we will defend peace—there would be nothing to keep the demons at bay.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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