And then I wrote...

by Dick Schilling, Editor Emeritus

... that this column will appear in the April Fools’ Day edition, but as I look outside this Monday morning after the heaviest snowfall of the season, at the end of the week when the spring season began, I think maybe this is the fools’ day joke!
And I hope some recent reading I have been doing is a joke, too.
Russian novelist Dostoevski wrote something to the effect that humans tend to reject their prophets, and while the authors of the works do not claim the gift of prophecy, the works themselves appear to be all too prophetic.
I recently finished reading Glenn Beck’s Agenda 21. Many rejected Beck at the height of his popularity as being a right wing kook, but I always remember he was the one who foresaw the drive to re-establish the Moslem caliphate a decade or more before anyone else did.
Title of his new work, published in 2012 by divisions of Simon & Schuster, refers to the United Nations agenda plank with that number, unveiled at the 1992 Earth Summit. The gist of it would put the U.N. in charge of regulating pretty much everything humans do, effectively doing away with modern civilization.
Beck follows people through daily living, with some of the older members of the family still remembering “the way it used to be,” when they still had some freedoms.
I am in the midst of reading the second book, The Profession, by Steven Pressfield, published by Crown in 2011.
The story picks up action in the Middle East in the year 2032, really not that far into the future.
Since I started the book, the administration’s possible abandonment of the only democracy in the region, Israel, and America’s hasty fleeing of Yemen have been in the news. A year ago, Pres. Obama declared Yemen a success in his strategy. It is getting hard to recognize the players in that area without a scorecard. It’s the Houthis in Yemen. And there are such as Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Oaeda. el-Shabbat around in one or more countries. And always the religious war between the Shia and Sunni.
It’s even hard to remember which nation is which. Saudi Arabia is sort of in the middle. But is it Yemen or Oman to the southeast? Is it Iran or Iraq that is directly north? Lebanon and Syria are north of Israel and Jordan east, right?
In Pressfield’s 2032, it makes no difference, since tribal groups and oil companies have all but obliterated national boundaries, and are enemies on the battlefields using some weapons not invented yet here in 2015. And while the tribal chieftains have armies of sorts, they are not loyalists. And the oil companies employ all mercenaries, mostly veterans of past (then) wars in the Middle East.
I can hardly wait to see how it ends.
Or perhaps it never does, which seems a likely story.