Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Better Chance of Peace on Mars

On Earth, Peace is MIA and the trail is growing as cold as the Tibetan Himalayas. A number of nations are grumbling and pointing fingers at the USA because of its perceived meddling. China is beside itself with outrage that His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, received America's highest civilian honor, the Congressional medal of Honor over their strenuous objections in the rotunda of the US capital today. Pretty sure China's Ambassador to the US skipped the great eats and abundant drinks at the Dalai Lama's sweet after party and huffily pulled out of a meeting with Iran. Its beside the point the Dalai Lama has lived in exile since 1959. (AP photo)

The 1915 Ottoman Turks are on the verge of being declared the cause of the Armenian genocide by the 2007 US Congress. Timing is everything. Turkey is wildly exercised at even the mere idea of being called to account for the deaths of over 1.5 million Armenians. First, in a diplomatic harrumph, the Turkish envoy left Washington at the behest of his government. Today, in a mix of self-preservation and political savvy, the Turkish parliament granted hunting rights for their army to invade the northern Kurdish areas to get PKK rebels in American-occupied Iraq. Under control of the Kurds, Iraq's oil rich northern border provides a base for separatists who want part of Turkey as their own state, to use guerrilla tactics and snipers against Turkey's military positioned on the border. The weather is worsening and leaves a short window for incursions for either side. (AP Photo)

Led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congress is appreciating that Turkey's leaders in Ankara are our only Muslim angry NATO ally and may choose to delay the non-binding blame measure. President Bush gave a butt-numbing press conference today exhorting the Congress to do what he says: No on the genocide bill, fund his Iraq war for 100 times more than it takes to cover poor children, and his contention that Iran could start World War III. The Bush trademarked Global War on Terror used to be the neoconservative's World War III. (AP Photo Kadir Konuksever)

Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, went to Iran to forge ties and a possible arms deal with their controversial president, partly in reaction to president Bush speaking to putting missiles back on European soil as part of a defense shield.

Mr. Putin told a summit of five Caspian Sea nations, "We should not even think of using force in this region" – a veiled warning to the US not to strike Iran. But the Russian leader also sought a delicate balance on the nuclear issue, after a week of rebuffing top American officials over Washington's missile defense plans for Europe, and despite French and German leaders' hopes for a tougher line against Iran.

"From Iran's vantage point, this could not have come at a better time to drastically improve the geostrategic climate in Iran's favor, when Iran is under escalating pressure from the US and some allies," says Kaveh Afrasiabi, an Iran expert at Bentley College near Boston. "This summit works as an antidote to these pressures."

That was just yesterday in Our World. The topic of peace is a prolific one in books. Leo Tolstoy's epic Russian novel War and Peace remains one of the all time great contributions to literature. This translation is by Richard Peavere and Larrissa Volokhunsky.

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