October 20th 2006...a drift towards stability?
Where are we today? While there is no shortage of hot spots internationally, with Iraq, the middle east, Iran, Korea and Darfur holding centre stage, it seems in a way that a general exhaustion has found its way into the hearts, minds, souls and bodies of the enemy on both sides of lines.
Perhaps one should say on both sides of all the lines, as there seem to be almost more categories of conflict which embrace so many conflicting views that making an inventory of conflict is almost impossible.
This day, this October 20th 2006, is witness to the fact that certain leaders in the US administration are leaning towards the realization that efforts to bring democracy - at least the US definition of democracy - to the middle east may soon end in the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
The degree to which this realization is voiced has to tempered with the fact that congressional elections are but weeks away; and what is said may be more reflection of political aspiration than true belief. For the moment at least it would seem that an inclination towards withdrawal from this costly war will garner more votes than the hawkish stance which saw Republicans steering the US for two consecutive terms.
Notwithstanding the might of the US on the world stage and the influence of the US voter on Congress and its eventual composition, there are others who carry weight as much, and combined, even more, than the US.
In Britain one TV commentator from a military college notes that today the British Army is regarded as no more than another 'tribe' fighting for its patch in southern Iraq.
Iran, a long time foe of Iraq, is viewed today with more concern by the Iraqis than they view the US.
The ground that once changed so swiftly below the feet of the coalition forces seems now it self to have morphed into quicksand.
Far away, in North Korea, Kim Jong Il declared today that one nuclear test is enough. Perhaps the realization that he could not, if push came to button push, resist a combined spanking from China, Japan, South Korea and Russia, caused him to pause in his quest for 15 seconds of fame? Perhaps, the simple threat of having his Paris Hilton lifestyle eroded by sanctions on luxury goods was enough to bring him to his senses, such as they may be.
As for "Ferme Le Bush"? One can detect, as everyone can, a toning down of the mission accomplished rhetoric.
Next time, when they 'come to the table' at the UN, don't be surprised if it is under circumstances somewhat different to what we have seen these five years past. And be very surprised if a few chairs have not been added to accommodate some new faces.