I WAS TALKING TO MURRAY, the world’s cutest and wisest dog, the other day. The little Westie is actually quite articulate and always seems to think through our societal concerns. He was named after a good friend who has long since passed but who was concerned with our contemporary problems. It may not have occurred to you that dogs can speak to each other and can communicate about what’s on their minds. They can.
Murray told me that he has been very concerned about the risk of nuclear war. He read in a discarded newspaper that the Russians are up to their old tricks, now threatening to use nuclear devices to have their way with the western nations. It is clear to Murray that things will never change. He says that the Russians have always had this belligerent attitude based on their inferiority complex and that sooner or later, they will use the nuclear weapons that they have simply because, in Murray’s words, “They can.”
It is undeniable that they have the weapons and capacity to do exactly that. The good news is that the Russian people don’t want any part of another world war. They know the carnage and chaos that will result. Nevertheless, ultimately it is not the people who make these decisions but their leaders. Our news media reflects what leadership is thinking at any given moment. Of course, the old Soviet era is gone but the reality is old feuds die very slowly.
Just look at the closeness that we saw develop between Donald Trump and the Russian leadership. You saw it on the nightly news when Trump was president. Trump, the would-be authoritarian, cozied up to the Russians in a most alarming way. That’s because throughout history, authoritarians and war mongers tend to find each other.
We know enough about Trump to understand that if he should find his way to the presidency again, he will impose his world view of competition and authoritarianism on the rest of us. We know a lot about Trump and the way in which his errant mind works but it is puzzling that so much of the American public sees things through that Trumpian lens. That’s the real terror. He has gotten and will undoubtedly continue to get millions of American voters to see things his way. We know that he will run for president again. Once that happens, the potential for war gets turned into reality. As you read this, I really wonder whether you can deny this scenario and the genuine disaster it portends. Since the fickle finger of fame has put this horrible man into office once, it is entirely possible that it will happen again.
Contemporary polls show Joe Biden with more Americans on his side than against him. We know, however, that seismic shifts can happen and when the price of hamburger meat doubles, there are enough voters who will turn on a Joe Biden just because they are angry.
Murray the dog has been concerned for some time about our armed forces. The wise little dog has always believed that if you have an army, sooner or later you are going to want to put it to use. The Russians have certainly found the fallacy of that kind of thinking. All of the people who want to see us use what we have will live to regret that kind of thinking based on silly games like competition that can turn very lethal.
This is not football or baseball. War involves human lives, including those of our sons and daughters and grandchildren. If we pick bad leaders like Trump, we can pretty well count on what will happen. We had better think hard about what we are doing.