When North Caucasus groups send suicide bombers to Moscow at the same time as right-wing militias are arrested for plotting to kill law enforcement officers in the U.S.,
When Juarez, on the U.S. Mexican border, becomes the most violent city on the planet;
When young people in Philadelphia use their communications devices to converge by the hundreds on certain popular streets (without anyone guessing as to why);
When increasingly, elections all over the world are contested, the latest being the Iraqi election;
When the most powerful nation in the world counts a growing minority of citizens who resent having to share a basic right to health care;
When all these things are in the news on any given day, we have to recognize that the entire world is in turmoil, and try to see through an apparent thicket to the trees.
Several factors come immediately to mind (but my readers will suggest others, no doubt): the existence, since 1945, of the atomic threat, which has increased over time with ever more lethal weapons; increased ease of communication between individuals; television and internet bringing reality in distant places to increasing numbers of people;
The growing desire for people rendered powerless by the above to live amongst like-minded Others whether for religious, national or sexual reasons – a powerlessness undiminished by the availability of mind-numbing drugs – causes rebellions against governments and ruling elites who place gain above psychological comfort.
Forcing a compromise in Afghanistan will not solve this problem. If it happens, it will be a dent in the wall of Other refusal – while we continue to send un-manned drones over Pakistan, and the Israeli government continues to defy world opinion and increasingly, the opinion of American taxpayers.
Refusal of Otherness is the umbrella category that encompasses all the elements of a world crisis.