In 1989 the fall of the Soviet Union began and the collapse was complete on December 21st 1991.  At that point in time it appeared that the world was poised to declare the world safe from war.  Ten months earlier a coalition made up of both friends and foes joined together to oust Iraq from Kuwait.  A western led military with supporting forces from the Mid-East and Africa left a Soviet Union startled as it watched their military equipment sitting on the Iraqi side of the line turned to junk by superior firepower.  A wake-up call that NATO spoke softly but truly carried a big stick.

Naively the word felt it was finished with war and we could return to a world like it used to be.  This is the same way the world felt following the end of World War I, the war to end all wars.  The world also sensed this following the end of World War II. After every major war that costs hundreds of thousands of lives and uncountable amounts of money coupled with sadness and sorrow, the world felt that a new dawn of peace was before it.

Recently I was looking at AMAZON to get some idea of gifts for the grandchildren for Christmas.  There were models to be put together and it reminded me of my own childhood so I browsed through the display of small figures that could be painted and then displayed.  Page after page of these soldiers were available.  Egyptian soldiers that could fight Assyrians were available.  Tiny Romans that could be pitted against the Gauls or Celts or warriors from Germania could be purchased as were Aztec and Incans from Mexico and Peru.  More modern soldiers were there for the purchase.  Mexicans and Americans fighting at the Alamo were mixed with Germans at war with American dough boys, French and British from World War I.  All wars, all nationalities and all types of weaponry were being glorified.  Then like an epiphany it came to me that the world had never been fully at peace.  While large parts of the globe experienced no war and economic growth, there has never been true world peace.  War is a normal part of world society.

When World War II ended there was still conflict in Eastern Europe where ethnic groups jockeyed for position just as the Soviet Union built a suppressive state, the USSR.  Following the Korean war in 1950 and 51, the cold war began but there was nothing cold about the communist led upheaval going on in Africa and South America. Che Guevara, confidant of Fidel Castro of Cuba traveled through South America promoting revolution until he was eventually captured and summarily executed by CIA led forces.  Open warfare was taking place on those continents following the end of the Viet Nam war.  Wholesale genocide took place in Cambodia while America and Western Europe dozed in the light of a supposed peaceful world.  This false sense of peace has been with man for thousands of years and is with us today and the only contact with crisis are the news shows depicting beheadings in the Middle East and school girls being kidnapped and sold in Kenya while the pirates and training grounds of Somalia remain.  Rest assured that an American wake-up call will be with us as another 9/11 looms in our future.

There was a time in the history of the world that we almost achieved world peace.  While humans all desire peace there are all ways those differences in thought and perception that lead to armed conflict.  Man is territorial and thus when territory is threatened, man fights.  But, the one time that we were close to world peace, we let it slip through our finger tips.

Following Desert Storm, the world was finally at peace, at least for a while.  Coalition forces from around the world had worked together and unity existed between previous rival countries.  Syria and the United States fought side-by-side while Israel stayed out of the conflict despite being hit with missiles.  The world was ready for negotiation and Iraq could be the control point to make world peace happen.  Unfortunately, we let this pass.  Instead of seeing what could be, the West packed up its’ tents and went home.  Instead of building on the success of the war and while tyrants trembled at the thought of this world power that was unleashed on Iraq, it was felt by the West that the war was over and world peace would simply happen without any further leadership.  Instead of embracing and supporting the Arab Spring we stood on the sidelines and watched as potential democratic countries fell into anarchy.  Instead of nipping ISIS in the bud we stood back and watched it flourish while at the same time we let an Ambassador die in Libya.  Had the leadership existed with the foresight to see what could be, the world would be a much safer place to live in today.

We were so close and now we are so far.

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