Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's happening in the world?

As the end of my chemotherapy gets closer I find that I am just gritting my teeth and hanging on. I am confined to the house because the side effects (especially stomach cramps) persist all the time. Next Tuesday will be the start of my final course. After that the moment of truth when I have my CT scan.

Yesterday I had a visit from Dr Brian Koffman and his wife, who are taking a vacation in Europe. (Regular readers may know of Brian who is a GP from California who has CLL and ITP and has had quite aggressive treatment for them). They had just been in Venice, Rome, Naples and Florence and had had a few days in England with friends. It was a pleasant Spring day and they had a chance to appreciate the sea front here. We had a couple of hours together. We share the experience of being doctors and patients at the same time.

I am afraid that I have been unable to write very much recently. I have put my mind to more mechanical tasks of SUDOKU and model making. I finished a goods depot for my model railway and may make a start today on an engine shed.

The book I am reading at the moment is Voodoo Histories by David Aaronovitch. It is a look at Conspiracy Theories. A strange fact is that the assassinations of JFK, RFK, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and the deaths of Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana are all linked by a complicated conspiracy, but the attempt on the life of Ronald Reagan was just an isolated event by a lone weirdo.

I shall be reviewing the book in the future. In the meantime we have been watching two great world events take place in our living rooms: the disasters in Japan and the uprising in Libya. Obama's response to Libya has much in common with the America First Committee, which opposed FDR's tendency to meddle in foreign wars. Acts passed in the 1930s prevented America giving aid to Abyssinia when invaded by fascist Italy to the republican government of Spain when Franco's fascists rose up against them, to China when Japan marched into Manchuria, and allowed Hitler to occupy the Ruhr, to annexe Austria and march into the Sudetenland unopposed. For a superpower whether or not to act as the world's policeman is always a dilemma. It is probably true to say that it should always act in its own interest, but that does sometimes require prophylactic action. Perhaps Pearl Harbor would have been forestalled if action had been taken over Manchuria. Perhaps World War II would have been prevented had America joined the League of Nations. Perhaps the current mess in the Middle East would have been prevented had Eisenhower supported Britain, France and Israel in 1956?

What has happened in Japan is, of course, awful. One of the spin-offs has been a hardening of opinion against nuclear power. This knee-jerk reaction ought to fade away on mature reflection. Where else is sufficient energy going to come from? Lessons should be learned, however, principally that we shouldn't build such power stations close to where they can be damaged by earthquakes and tsunamis.


Burke said...

A very interesting post Doc, and I hope you come out of your treatment well.

Anonymous said...

America is a deeply troubled nation, mired in debt and getting more broke by the minute. It is time for us to stop meddling in affairs that can be handled by others.

All we are doing in Libya is to help Iran and the militant Muslims to seize another country from which they will strike at Israel and the West.

Another dumb move from our fearless leader.