by HARLAN ULLMAN
A Rebel Libyan soldier is part of the militia to guard the streets in Beida City in eastern Libya on March 1, 2011. Libyan rebels said they have formed a military council in the eastern city of Benghazi in what could be a step towards creating a unified nationwide force against leader LibyanMoamer Kadhafi. WASHINGTON, March 2 What a world! Much of North Africa remains roiled with mass protests against autocratic or crazed leaders. One predictable result has been skyrocketing oil prices with potentially adverse consequences for recovering economies. And, in the United States, a possible shutdown of government looms because America’s two political parties prefer to indulge in a game of “chicken” a la Washington not Kiev.
These events have been triggered by three, not four, horsemen of a future apocalypse that may be closer than we think. These horsemen arise from the question of what are the greatest dangers and challenges facing most countries. The answers aren’t global climate change, terrorism, natural or man-made disasters and economic crises however much impact each can have.
The simple reality, hidden in sight, is that bad or lack of governance constitutes the first horseman and the greatest threat to mankind. The second horseman is the threat of mass disruption that replaces the fear of mass destruction, when hydrogen bombs could have eviscerated the planet as we knew it. The last horseman is that states and international bodies are simply not organized to deal with these harbingers of danger.
The budget impasse in the United States, compounded with debt and deficit nightmares carried down to most of the 50 states, reflects one of many failures of governance. The reason is sad and clear: U.S. politics are about campaigning and being elected; not governing. Furthermore, the complexity and intractability of critical issues, from healthcare and entitlement reform to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, overload a political system designed by the best minds of the 18th century and perhaps not suited for the 21st century.
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