People in New Orleans are worried about tropical storm Gustav. How is it difficult to realize that hurricanes are a natural part of life in that region? You live next to the warm ocean people! True, just because they live there doesn’t mean they can’t complain about hurricanes. They are Americans, after all.
I remember reading a newspaper report about an American woman who “suffered” through the June 2008 floods of the upper Mississippi valley. The woman complained that she could not get her family vehicle to their favorite family restaurant for dinner, and that she had to wash her hair in “only cold” water. The journalist was equally mortified.
Shocking. Not for the horrific conditions of this woman’s experience, but for the ridiculous exaggeration of suffering and despair. During the report, I could only think about the cold fresh water this woman used to wash her hair and think of how many folks in the world don’t have that fresh water to drink, let alone wash their hair in.
But that is the past latest news. In current news, China is trying to get their Iraqi oil deal to pass. It’s worth reported billions. They’re also cracking down on corruption with an “audit storm” that is attempting to locate billions in mismanaged funds from several agencies.
That Iraqi deal is based on something that’s going to be a problem for Chinese foreign policy for many years to come. The west will continue to interpret and accuse China of being the guy who will do business with any criminal in the world. China will continue to interpret a nation’s domestic policy as part of that nation’s sovereign rite.
The “audit storm” is as likely to be declared a modern day proscription as it is an effort to make things more transparent. China was built on guanxi, not contracts. You don’t hurt your friends, but you can permanently eliminate your political competition. That’s Chinese history. The west will suspect the audit is China making a staged effort that only seeks to gain political face and eliminate dissent. Cheap argument? China will declare that the west’s criticism is intended to humiliate China and keep her down. Cheap argument?
Here’s the latest news: Everyone rich and powerful will have to share the planet with the renewed China. As optimistic as I prefer to be, I don’t believe earth with super-China will usher in a new era of global peace and prosperity. On the contrary, I think it will be business as usual, with the same dreadful misunderstandings, accusations, tensions, deceit, corruption, backstabbing and betrayal as ever before, only with a Chinese face in the crowd.
The future latest news will surely include issues of energy, climate, food, water, and space exploration. Issues that will demand levels of global participation and individual sacrifice not seen before in history. This adds a whole new layer of complexity to the ageless, global cross-cultural struggle for wealth and power. The future latest is likely to be a more complex continuation of the past latest. One may argue that past human history does not dictate humanity’s future, but then again how many thousands of years of history does one need to see that humans simply don’t change much?
The past, current, and future latest news is likely to share at least one of the following doctrines of human behaviors. In this world or other worlds it’s survival of the fittest; you don’t get super rich and super powerful by being super sweet, super kind, super nice or super honest. Competition inspires humans to justify insane inhumanities. Differences in norms and values are as vast as any space traveled, excluding those norms and values of other life forms. Assumptions and prejudice survive like the beetles of earth’s animal kingdom.
Vanity sparks thought that generates no fire. Nobodies from nowhere special write about nothing that anyone finds interesting. Hope is the last word.