Do you remember the boiling frog parable? Let me refresh your memory.
If you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, it jumps out to save its life. But put that same frog in room temperature water, turn the heat up slowly, and the frog just sits there. As the water heats up, the frog adapts to the water until it comes to a boil.
Thus, the frog cooks to death. Slowly.
You are bombarded with so much heat in the form of breaking news every day that you may not feel the heat. But if you look around you and the world is boiling you might want to show some concern.
Its only a matter of time before its too hot for anyone in the pot to survive.
Lets take a look around as we move into 2018.
If there is one African nation that underlines the Trump Administration position on Africa it is the nation of Nambia. In September of 2017, Trump mentioned Nambia twice during a United Nations assembly attended by leaders of several nations, including Ghana, Namibia and Uganda. During his address, he praised Nambia’s ‘excellent healthcare system’.
We all remember Nambia, right? Well there is just one problem. Nambia doesn't exist.
Trump and his administration thinks so little of the continent that he never bothered to see if Nambia existed. Nor did he bother to correct himself when his news source (i.e. Twitter) brought the non-existence of said nation to his attention.
Trump is both unaware of and apathetic to the conditions on the ground in Africa. So much so that he is creating conditions for an African apocalypse.
Take for instance the recent attempts to cut funding for African nutrition, agriculture, and entrepreneurial initiatives such as the Obama administration’s Feed the Future program. Or how about Mr Obama’s Power Africa plan and the Young African Leaders Initiative (Yali).
Under the Yali program, as many as 1000 young Africans identified as potential leaders are brought to Washington for seminars and training. This is one of many programs that gives Africa’s young leaders access to ideas and knowledge that they can take back home to solve their nation’s problems and ultimately reduce reliance on foreign aid.
Instead, cuts made by the Trump administration are adding fuel to the fires that force millions of people into refugee status.
I know it seems like a parallel universe, but once upon a time, the United States was led by an empathetic and dignified leader named Barak Obama.
During his presidency, the United States hosted the first-ever high-level United Nations summit to address the plight of refugees and migrants. Member states agreed to a multi-strategy approach that included..
- Providing better educational opportunities for refugee children
- Improving working conditions for displaced adults
- Fighting xenophobia
- And (as a precondition for speaking at the summit) giving more financial and material support to refugee host countries.
President Obama called the refugee crisis as “a test of our common humanity,” adding, “We must recognize that refugees are a symptom of larger failures — be it war, ethnic tensions, or persecution.”
Contrast that with Trump’s straight up disdain for immigrants both foreign and domestic.
The refugee issue is a serious one, and here is why:
Refugees fleeing conditions in their homelands run right into the arms of slavers, traffickers, and nations who herd them into tent cities. These large numbers of displaced people leave behind crippled nations that real terrorist groups like Boko Haram do very well in.
Without a stable workforce to support a nation’s economy and with militias running Mad Max style all over the nation, you have a recipe for a failed state.
The nations those immigrants wind up in face problems, too. To put it in perspective, imagine this:
You live in a three bedroom house and have 6 people living there. 3 people have jobs, the other t dont. That pisses you off, but its tolerable. Bills are barely getting paid. Now imagine a whole other family moves in until they ‘get on their feet’. None of them have jobs, but they need to be taken care of. What would that do to your household budget?
Thats exactly whats happening in places like Uganda, where more than 500,000 refugees from neighboring countries have arrived with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
500,000. Thats a group the size of the city of Atlanta.
Refugees provide the perfect scapegoat for ultranationalist, far-right political parties. Just like the Grand-daddy of them all, the Nazi Party. And we see how well that turned out for non-Germans.
How does the saying go…those who forget their past…
The Middle East
Trump’s decision to make Jerusalem the de-facto capital of Israel in the eyes of the United States drew global condemnation. And rightly so. The plight of Palestinians at the hands of a Zionist regime is undeniable.
The world condemned the move as both unnecessary and inflammatory. Even the Pope broke character and spoke out against the decision.
So you have the United Nations, the European Union, and even the Vicar of Christ warning the United States not to open the gates of hell. Because the last thing we need is another Crusade.
But instead of huddling with our allies, in a childish tit-for-tat the United States cut 20 percent of its funding to the United Nations.
I think we can all agree that with a potential war on the horizon in Asia and a new front in the Middle East (vis a vis Iran) at risk of opening up, now is not the time to test the support of our allies.
Sure, Trump’s policies will unleash unprecedented waves of humanitarian suffering, but that wont threaten the existence of the human species. Nuclear War will.
I dont know much, but I know that goading a nuclear power into war is not a rational approach to foreign policy. Particularly when that nuclear power is led by a volatile regime hell-bent on resolving the Korean armistice in their favor.
See here is the thing about a Nuclear War: nobody wins. Sure, there will be casualty counts that make World War II look like a paintball fight. But the fallout from even a small nuclear strike would plunge the world into a nuclear winter. Thats when all kinds of fun stuff happens, like…
- The dust from the blast flying up into the atmosphere and blocking out the sun for 10 years
- Complete ecosystem collapse with plants unable to photosynthesize and the animals that eat those plants starving to death
- Ice age temperatures along the equator — what with no sun to keep us warm
- Death of all organisms above roach status as a result of ecological collapse
All this because a guy with a combover shot his mouth off one too many times.
And while much of this article focused on the human-against-human impact of Trump Administration policies, I dont even want to think about his impact on the other great species-killer: Planet Earth.
We may not all agree on healthcare. Or infrastructure. Or budget allocations. But we can all agree on three fundamental tenets of humanity: help others when you can, do no harm to others if you can help it, and for keep the lid on Pandora’s box.
If we can agree to those fundamental points, we might have a shot at getting out of this pot.