We go into Christmas with the promise of fewer nukes, but threats of nuclear war being tossed around... and merry Christmas from Pundit
On the eve of another Christmas, are you feeling safer? No, I'm not talking about New Zealand's crime rate and the propaganda of fear around it or even our continued mistreatment of children. I'm thinking about the wider world, because as the year ends some serious changes are beginning.
One of the under-played stories of the year was President Obama's nuclear security summit and America's new stance on nuclear deterrence under this president. The evolving picture suggests that Obama has profound ambitions on this front, highlighted this week by the immense efforts that went into ensuring START – a treaty with Russia that cuts both countries' nuclear stockpiles by about a third – was passed by the senate.
The Russian Duma may endorse the treaty as early as today, meaning a global Christmas present of massive proportions. Joy to the world, and just a bit more peace on earth. What's encouraging is that military leaders and senior diplomats are all behind this (even if some Republicans aren't).
Sure, both countries can go a lot futher, but it's a great START. Heh.
On the other hand, we have the two Koreas ramping up the brinkmanship on their peninsula. Today, we wake to news that North Korea is talking about a "sacred war" that could include nuclear weapons and South Korea about a "merciless counterattack". Ho frickin' ho.
China and the US have serious roles here, in talking down their allies and finding some peace amongst all this war talk. But it comes back to the Korean leaders on both side of the border.
South Korea, in hosting the G20 this year, wanted to send the signal that it is now a serious world power. Well, if it wants to be treated like that it needs to show the grown-up restraint worthy of a new power.
So we head into Christmas and all the songs of goodwill with contrasting trends. I guess that's the nature human history really – we take one step forward in place, but slide back somewhere else.
Here's hoping our better angels work their magic this holiday season. I, for one, choose to focus on the nuclear treaty and rejoice in the fact that those in power have stepped away from destruction this week, rather than ambling closer to it.
And I appreciate again the importance of our national stance against the evils of nuclear weaponry.
So on behalf of all the Pundit crew, have a very merry Christmas and a bloody marvellous new year.We'll still be posting over the break, but perhaps a little less.
Thanks for your attention and comments this year... your wisdom... your wit... your anger... and above all your insight. We appreciate that you stick to our 'play the ball, not the man' rule and bring so much to the conversation.
There are more of you to send good wishes to this year. Our audience is growing. Around 7,000 of you visited this month alone, and we're averaging close to 1,000 visits a day, during the week.
So have a great break, we hope you have love and light in your life this Christmas.