What’s gone wrong?

Any rational person can see that there is a serious problem with this world. Even if everyone wants to enjoy life, there are a lot of obstacles in the way these days.

For instance, as prices rise, it becomes more and more difficult to earn a decent living. In addition, the human family is distressed by issues such as civic unrest, war, poverty, family disintegration, and crime, and an increasing number of people say that they do not see a way out of all of these issues as life’s pressures mount.

At the beginning of 1979, something else very significant was added to this “anguish of nations”: for the first time in history, communist countries began waging war against one another.

The New York Times described it as such:

“They are singing ‘The Internationale’ on all sides of the Asian battles this week as they bury the hopes of the Communist fathers with the bodies of their sons.

“There was once a time when Communists felt themselves to be incapable of war against each other . . . the Red brotherhood believed that the only international wars that could still occur​—which were in fact ‘inevitable’—​were those growing out of the contradictions inherent in capitalism.”

NY Times

Divisions within the Communist bloc have grown more pronounced following the end of the Cold War. When Vietnam, a communist ally, unexpectedly invaded neighbouring Cambodia, also a communist state, in early 1979, the long-simmering tensions finally burst into open warfare.

Barre with Romanian president Nicolae Ceaușescu in 1976
Barre with Romanian president Nicolae Ceaușescu in 1976

China’s invasion of Vietnam, which was supported by the Soviet Union, was a show of sympathy with besieged Cambodia and increased tensions between the two countries. The world was rocked by this abrupt turn of events, and The Times reflected on the far-reaching effects of this occurrence:

“The conflict that spread this weekend from Cambodia to the border of China and Vietnam and to hostile exchanges between China and the Soviet Union provides the final proof that no ideology makes men immune to ethnic and racial strife, or aggression and chauvinism. While an impotent United Nations looks on, hotheaded governments with no apparent economic interest at stake risk even major war. Ugly nationalism has triumphed once again in the human family.”

The Times

Thus, communism demonstrates, like all previous political ideologies before it, that it is unable to bring about true peace and unification for all of humanity. “Nations live as nations have always lived, by the code of outlaws,” the Times wrote in its conclusion.

Have the numerous dismal global events that have occurred during your lifetime demoralised you? For many, it has.

the war to end all wars

The phrase “the war that will end war” was first used to characterise World War One, which had started in Europe in September 1914, by British author H.G. Wells. According to Wells, the fight would establish a new global order that would prevent such conflicts in the future.

So, as we all know, that didn’t happen—World War II was looming, and this war unleashed a greater fire, taking 55 million lives! Horrible new weaponry and tactics were unveiled.

One gory relic of that battle can be seen at Hawaii’s Pearl Harbour today. A monument is situated atop the submerged battleship Arizona, which still holds the remains of more than a thousand crew members who are buried within the ship’s hull. It is just another sad example of how destructive man can be and how unable he is to find solutions to his issues.

The attack killed 2,403 U.S. personnel, including 68 civilians, and destroyed or damaged 19 U.S. Navy ships, including 8 battleships.

from bad to worse

The vast majority of humanity has become infected by the mentality of violence and anarchy exhibited by governments in their interactions with one another during our time. Because of this, there is an outbreak of crime, violence, and other antisocial behaviour. This led to the following editorial in the New York Post:

“In truth, life is so traumatic and so bloodied with horror that it takes a cast iron stomach to read the daily news. On TV, the agony is compounded by living colour.”

“Where, one wonders, is the end of it​—of the killing, the maiming, the broken heads, the battered children, the casual murders for two dollars and a cheap wristwatch? . . .

“Violence, in the 1970s, has been aptly called ‘the cancer of our soul.’… No adult can remember anything quite like it.”

NY Post

So how can we be encouraged and given hope when surrounded by so much trouble?