The Chinese Curse of Interesting Times, BigRedCar February 3rd 2020
There is a mythological Chinese curse that dooms a man/woman to live in “interesting times.”
Think of “interesting times” as being times fraught with chaos, peril — thereby being interesting. Juxtapose that notion against “uninteresting times” suggesting peace, tranquility, prosperity.
[Note to self: Go with the “uninteresting times” if you can.]
In fact, the curse/blessing is not really Chinese, but is often attributed to Sir Austen Chamberlain, brother of former English Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.
Old Neville is famous for his declaration of “peace for our time” — spoken in 1938 after a seance in Munich with Herr Hitler who assured the naive Neville that he, Hitler, had no more European territorial ambitions now that he had gobbled up the Saar Basin, the Federal State of Austria, and the Sudetenland of the Czech Republic — all with a pen.
Hitler would tear up the Munich Agreement (signed by Germany, England, France, Italy) and invade Poland a year later plunging the world into a massive war that would kill hundreds of millions in a decades long cycle of violence.
BTW, in the Munich Agreement, the English, French, Italians gave the Sudetenland of Czechoslobakia to Germany without the Czechs even present at the table.
That following decade was an interesting time.
Which brings me to my thought for today: we are living in interesting times judged solely by the last month or so, but writ larger looking at the last year.
Allow me to elaborate:
The USA is enjoying a booming economy of such robust performance as to defy comparisons with any other time. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is not doing so well.
The rate of unemployment is now so low that employers are complaining of the absence of qualified workers.
Our President was just impeached — in time for Christmas gift giving — by the House of Representatives with not a single crossover vote.
This comes on the heels of the 448-page Mueller Report which provided fodder for the pundit class, but nothing of much substance for the rest of mankind.
The Senate, in an equally partisan fashion, will acquit the old boy this week. This shows that partisan behavior begets partisan behavior.
We have signed trade deals with the Mexicans, Canadians, Chinese. Damn good trade deals.
The US killed a high ranking government official of Iran, thereby dramatically altering the Iranian view of what America might do. He was also a matinee idol terrorist, and, apparently, a member in good standing of the Democrat party based on all the post-rocket assassination support and love thrown his way by certain people.
The world has been plunged into an epidemic that has now achieved pandemic status from a bug that burst forth in Wuhan, China. [Epidemic = local health risk. Pandemic = worldwide health risk.] I have a very bad feeling about this.
In the fine print, the Japanese Emperor abdicated his Chrysanthemum Throne (first such move in more than 200 years), the English PM got fired, the new guy is named Boris and he pulled off Brexit, the Israeli PM is hanging on by his fingernails, and Vladimir Putin has fired his entire government to rebuild one that will make him President for Life + 10 years like the Chinese guy.
Hong Kong and France are still aflame with riots for more than a year.
Notre Dame Cathedral was burned down and is being rebuilt.
A Prince named Harry and a Princess named Meghan gave birth to a little one named Archie and have decided to go trans-Royal (thereby really pissing off the only functioning Queen left on the planet).
China went to the moon.
California and the Amazon are aflame to the tune of millions of square miles.
The last square foot of dirt controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was overrun.
Oh, yeah, we killed that SOB al-Baghdadi also. Well played.
There is a second civil war in Libya (we did not start this one).
President Trump continues taking dancing lessons with Kim Jong-un and giving the cold shoulder to Venezuela. Worth noting that President Trump actually enters North Korea at Panmunjom Village.
The President proposes a Middle East peace plan — actually just the Palestinians and the Israelis. He is likely to jam it through. You just watch.
The Iranians engage in all sorts of anti-social behavior while attempting to entice the US to return to the bargaining table to cut another bad Iran Nuke deal.
The Kansas City Chiefs win the Superbowl — who doesn’t love an underdog. The half time show is a bacchanal. Why can’t we just have James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt?
The Iowa caucuses are tonight — Bernie takes the Oscar while Yang gets smoked. Biden turns in a very spotty performance. Come on, man.
President Trump delivers the State of the Union Speech — amateur move, wait until the Senate acquits on Wednesday.
Whew — did I miss anything?
I think these are interesting times. You?
But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Good week ahead. Watch the SOTU. That is really going to be interesting.