05 December 2020

5 December 12020

284,571   pandemic deaths here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. So far I’m not one of them, but I credit that to dumb luck and my habitual disinclination to interact with anybody unless I absolutely have to. I suppose it could be divine providence; I’ve noticed whenever there is a significant disaster anywhere on the planet I am somewhere else. What other explanation could there be, except that Allah favors me and keeps me from harm? Okay, maybe not, but I sleep better at night knowing that whatever happens, it is the will of an all-knowing all-seeing all-powerful divine being that favors me above all others.

5 December 12020 is Saint Nicholas’ Eve. It’s also World Soil Day. After that it’s probably unnecessary to mention that it’s Discovery Day (Haiti and Dominican Republic), Day of Military Honor (Russia), Children’s Day (Suriname), and King Bhumibol’s Birthday (Thailand). The day’s saint is Crispina, who declined to sacrifice to beings she considered demons; when informed that it was a requirement of the law, she observed “True worship does not require compulsion.” (Many twenty-first century American Christians seem to think the opposite—that they cannot honor their god without using compulsion.) Notable people born today include poet Christina Rossetti, pilot Clyde Vernon Cessna, director Fritz Lang, historian Gershom Scholem, animator Walt Disney, physicist Werner Heisenberg, and pianist Little Richard. On this day in history Flight 19 disappeared off the coast of Florida, presumably due to the disorientation of the commander, in 11945. This event arguably gave rise to the story of the “Bermuda Triangle,” a supposed area of the world prone to mysterious disappearances.

In the news we see no sign of Iran’s return to negotiations for a new deal (as President Trump predicted it would), nor any of the regime’s collapse (as his administrations seems to have hoped for). It appears that the American policy under Trump has been a total failure. Nor is it all likely that Iran will be willing to return to the accord Trump trashed without considerable concessions on America’s part—I mean, the hardliners opposed the accord from the beginning, and the moderates who supported it got severely burned by Trump’s shenanigans. I don’t see what future president Biden can offer the Iranians to bring them back into compliance with the accord—which means, I suppose, that we can look forward to an Iran with nuclear weapons as the best-case scenario, or maybe another major Mideast war. And this is entirely on the Trump administration. Unlike the North Korean mess, where we can absolve Trump in some measure for his failures by observing that his predecessors didn’t do all that much better, this disaster is of Trump’s own making. He inherited a situation that was under control. His hubris led America to the current debacle.

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