‘“Soft” power is no defense against hard men’

I would like to think that this is overly pessimistic… that things aren’t as bad as Michael S. Malone is painting them here to be:

OnthePrecipice Suddenly the pace of technological change (Moore’s Law) and the networking effect (Metcalfe’s Law), so long celebrated for their benefits to modern life, are now showing us their very sharp teeth.  We are now discovering to our dismay that the democratization of information not only can improve the lot of billions of people, but that it can also empower little men standing outside cafes with hatred in their brains and pistols in their pockets awaiting the chance to unleash both.

The world is always a dangerous place; but in the last few years that danger seems to have spread.  Equatorial and sub-Saharan Africa may be about to tip over into another hellish era of tribal warfare.  China, when it isn’t being arrogantly expansionist seems to be dancing on thin demographic ice.  As its hordes of men grow up without women, its thinkers now write about the value of ‘small’ wars. In Russia, faced with economic collapse if oil prices slump, Vladimar Putin has made himself de facto Tsar – or worse.  And in Europe, the aging population, trapped between rioting welfare junkies and unassimilated Muslim immigrants, fervently hopes (they don’t pray anymore) that they will die before their long vacation from economic reality ends.

As for the United States, the world’s military protector and economic backstop, there is not only the greatest philosophical schism since the Civil War, but a dangerous lack of leadership at the top.  Even as it is crushing new business and new job creation at home with endless regulations and the corruption of corporatism, it is also projecting a self-righteous image of weakness abroad.  The lesson of history is that vacuums in leadership are always filled, more often by the ambitious than the responsible.  And that, at least in the short run, “soft” power is no defense against hard men.  Right now there are some very hard men out there leading nations, loading their pistols and eyeing their neighbors and rivals.

I learned a long time ago that when things seem crazy, they usually are – no matter how much smart people try to convince you otherwise.  There is a lot of crazy going around right now. . .and it won’t disappear just because we look away or tell ourselves it’s not as bad as it seems. 

You’ll need to read the whole thing.  And if you’ve had an adult beverage or two, you’ll not need coffee to sober up.  This piece will do all the sober up-ing for you.

We are currently leaderless.  Utterly so.  And I’m not sure that those waiting in the wings to take up the reins are the leaders we’ll need should the fecal matter hit the rotary device.

H/T to Cold Fury.

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