Thursday, May 30, 2019

Proxy Wars

In a sense I suppose all wars are. Heads of State have tantrums and the next thing we know Joe the Plumber is fighting Charlie Lunchbucket. Those leaders who belong in Anger Management Class never met a war they weren’t happy to send others to die for.

Our own Revolutionary War could be seen as another chapter in the European battle for domination, an extension of the never-ending conflict between France and England fought on American soil which was, of course, still Brit soil when it began. But soil is famously fickle having been stolen from the indigenous people, then labored over by imported Africans and finally declared our own. And now to be trespassed by those neighbors to the south whose ancestors once lived here. Shocking!

After the Second World War the Cold War began when the U.S. fought the U.S.S.R. over who gets the best German Scientists. They plucked their share from East Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia but the Allies snatched the greater number. Werner Heisenberg, of Uncertainty fame, was certain he wished to cast his lot first with Great Britain and later in West Germany where he continued work in advanced physics and as head of the Max Planck Institute. Another prize was Werner von Braun along with his team of rocket scientists. He lived happily ever after in the U.S. in spite of the great Tom Lehrer song….

Gather 'round while I sing you of Wernher von Braun
A man whose allegiance
Is ruled by expedience
Call him a Nazi, he won't even frown
"Ha, Nazi, Schmazi" says Wernher von Braun.

Don't say that he's hypocritical
Say rather that he's apolitical
"Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
That's not my department" say Wernher von Braun
Some have harsh words for this man of renown
But some think our attitude
Should be one of gratitude
Like the widows and cripples in old London town
Who owe their large pension to Wernher von Braun

Fast forward to our present day where Russian intelligence nerds are working through the night with their nefarious deeds having first elected Trump in 2016 and now to reelect their guy in 2020. One can imagine Chinese hackers also busy at work…and there are more of them. Our hotly contested presidential election may well get decided not in an Iowa caucus over cable news but in the basement of a boiler room in Beijing or Moscow.

Each country has skin in the game. Trump has bifurcated the world with enemies also in Iran. They too have an educated elite, computer savvy. Since the McConnell Senate refuses to meddle with the meddlers maybe we deserve our fate. Hack away, hackers. They can do no worse than the nincompoops of the U.S. who voted for the would-be Fuhrer in the White House.

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