Wednesday, 7 January 2009

The news of today

Blimey! there's always so much going on that it can be hard to take in.

So here is your quick and handy guide to what's going on as my little way to try and make sense of it all.

There's a big ruckus going on in Gaza. Israel has sent it's tanks in to sort out the terrorists in Hamas. It's causing quite a controversy due to the imbalance of forces on either side and both sides like to play hard-ball while milking as much sympathy as they can get.

This conflict has deep roots, but essentially it represents the problematic relations which come into confrontation with each other at the crossroads of Africa, Asia and Europe.

A dispute over gas supply is threatening the relations between Russia and most of eastern Europe.

The tense relations over natural resources has long been characteristic of behaviour between larger and smaller countries. This is just one more occasion where the dominant player is trying to flex some muscle and gain influence as it integrates more fully into the global environment.

The economic downturn continues to bite, becoming so serious that more countries are joining the rush to stimulate their economies.

After more than a decade of continued growth the economic cycle has finally turned - recession is on everyone's lips and a potential depression is on everyone's minds. Pressure is mounting for governments to grasp the levers at their disposal and make effective use of them as the relationship between state and society is reevaluated (yet again).

And finally, in the sports world, turmoil reigns among the England cricket team as both capitain and coach resign simultaneously.

A power struggle between the egoistic star player and technocratic coach reached impasse, forcing administrators to take drastic action to maintain team unity.


The basic cause of all of these ongoing stories is the inequality of relationship between those caught on either side of (or straddling) the dividing line.

But it isn't quite as simple as that (it never is... ) - there are different measures of inequality in each instance. This enables all parties to feel like aggrieved innocent victims even as they perpetrate what looks like shocking injustices and idiocy from the opposing viewpoint.

The three 'serious' items raise questions of the legitimacy of sovereign action, while the sporting story gives a contrast by showing how the dynamic of fluctuating authority and responsibility must remain subordinate to the overall well-being of all within it.

In each case the potential exists for sanity to prevail or for it to spiral out of control. So what we learn along the way about maintaining or restabilising the balance of power relationships will be vital for us to assert the existence of any semblance of order.

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