Castles of cards

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It is said that there is nothing more unstable than a castle built with playing cards; in fact, it is precisely their high degree of difficulty in keeping them in balance that makes them more attractive to those who try to establish them and keep them upright for a long period of time, while still being able to add new elements to them. An instability that, as is logical, increases as the castle grows taller and gets bigger by widening, with the consequent complexity of maintaining the balance in its different stages.

A syllogism that comes to mind to compare the world in its current state and the worsening of its stability, as the problems widen, worsen and new or more aggressive protagonists or threats appear, producing telluric movements and situations equivalent to real gales, which increase the possibility of destroying all the work and painstaking effort that led us to build it up to more than respectable dimensions. 

Everything pointed to the fact that, after the two great world wars of the last century and the successive fall of the Berlin Wall due to the disintegration of the USSR, the world, with honourable but serious exceptions, was easily spared from serious scares and strong threats capable of endangering its continuity, stability and progress. 

It lived in a much healthier space and environment, less harmful to human health and obsessed with the care of nature, broad democratic dyes and focused on a serious and strong international cooperation. All this, together with other factors of apparent 'goodwill', supported global political and economic stability based on, in principle, serious and iron checks and balances that, conveniently and almost automatically, were applied to avoid falling into past mistakes, already known, well defined, studied and framed.   

The false but effective bipolar balance, maintained throughout most of the Cold War, seemed to have worked perfectly. No one dared to show his or her face to the outside world and even less dared to burst into the international arena abruptly, with a desire to buy or create difficulties that would endanger the stability apparently devised and agreed by the main international protagonists (the victors of the Second World War), who directly and indirectly jealously guarded that this did not happen.

The USA had taken the baton at the helm of the world, setting the pace for everyone and even imposing sanctions of various kinds on those who dared to go astray, protected by a kind of agreement and comfort zone that the International Community (IC) had established, created - through laws, uses, customs, regulations, treaties and conventions established and legislated by the aforementioned main protagonists and accepted by the rest without complaint - and distributed in order to live in peace and at ease. Thanks, above all, to a sectoral and regional development which, using all possible means and conditions, 'controlled' new actors on the world stage.

A scenario that, at times, was beginning to take on an excessive shape and height; and, as a result, it was beginning to be too overloaded to survive with that 'agreed peace and harmony' without anyone stepping on the toes of the neighbour with whom it shared space, aspirations and needs. 

But it could not last forever, as happens with everything that is complex and made by the hand or will of man, which tends to get worse and worse until it disappears. It was getting bigger and bigger in weight and contents to bear; soon the low-intensity frictions, the aspirations restrained for many years and the desire to appear in very marked personalities began; so much so that a moment was reached when any internal threat or external influence could endanger the promised and falsely hoped for, desired and unshakable stability. 

We can say that the instability that is currently looming and threatening world peace and development is not due to a single factor or actor, but to the sum of several of them, which, successively or simultaneously, have been appearing on the scene and taking action without the IC itself realising it; or, if it did, due to a lack of will or not having the necessary tools and actors for such a complex situation, it did not put the necessary remedies and firewalls on the table to remedy it.

Various characters, seemingly harmless and not so harmless, became more and more prominent. The little or no reaction from the IC to prevent them from doing so made them feel more secure, comfortable and convinced that their prominence would have no limit at the local level, and then move on to the regional and even global level. 

In some cases, several countries have been allowed to emerge - with impunity - as clear threats due to the ideology of their leaders, the economic and military capabilities they have achieved and, in several cases, for basing them on the possibilities of their current or potential nuclear weapons, despite all that has been legislated against this being feasible.  

Today, the lust for power of too many crazy leaders has become irrepressible, as has their need for expansion to occupy the spaces they claim as their own, either because of their own needs or because they belonged to their more or less recent ancestors, together with the destructive capabilities that sophisticated weaponry, especially nuclear weaponry, gives them. 

Although it may seem an exaggeration, I firmly believe that the IC is clearly unaware of what is coming our way and I have the feeling that we intend to continue to live by looking the other way, as if nothing were happening in our political, regional, military and economic environment.

9/11 marked a clear turning point in international politics by directly disrupting the comfort zone of a civil society too comfortable with living well, oblivious to dangers, and which had left its own security in the hands of volunteers and quasi-mercenaries. 

These attacks dragged the entire IC into Afghanistan, in a war of unprecedented capabilities and means, to fight against an ideology and terrain that has repeatedly shown its hostility and real possibility of bending the will of powerful armies, which, after years of bloody and costly fighting, were forced to leave with their tails between their legs. And this time, after many years of bitter fighting, it would happen again, despite the scale of the forces deployed and the number of countries involved in the coalitions that were formed to fight there.

Once again, and even more shamefully than what had recently happened in Iraq a year ago, we had to leave Afghanistan in an ignominious and execrable manner, leaving behind a large and almost indefinite number of tons of military equipment, thousands of our own previous casualties for nothing and hundreds of thousands of collaborators who believed in us and who are still being persecuted by the Taliban for their openness and servility to countries and civilisations far removed from Islam and its derived laws.     

A dishonourable departure, which has constantly been preceded by the terrible blows inflicted by jihadist terrorism on all continents, without exception. These blows occurred thanks to their current recovery, for having left them enough space and means to do so, and for the mania of American presidents to wash their own guilt by assassinating their top leaders, even though they know that the successors of those assassinated take hours to take power and control of the movement and are usually more bloodthirsty than those who preceded them, so they will continue to threaten the 'civilised world'.

The new world leaders, those who run the levers of the IC, are hundreds of miles away from what a commanding leader should be, and are certainly not equipped to lead their people and the organisations they are part of to success. At the same time, and as a consequence of their personal distractions and internal pretensions, they ignominiously allow tyrants like Putin, Xi Jinping, Kim Jong-un, Erdogan, numerous communist satrap minnows at the helm in countries in Central and South America, as well as much of Africa, Asia and among many Arab countries, to keep the IC itself on tenterhooks and unable to react to keep them in check.        

A clear example of what was said in the previous paragraph is the incredible war in Ukraine, in which an authentic and sickly satrap is leading a people to ruin or death; and its territory to be left like a plot of land, before the eyes and the perverse and inhuman passivity of leaders and organisations that only think about how to stay in their comfortable armchairs and, at most, to face the economic and energy crises that are coming, which in a matter of weeks will leave Europe paralysed and the USA badly affected.  

An IC unable to bend Putin, which offers the Ukrainian people 'warm clothes' in the middle of summer instead of the weapons they need and which, as soon as the first cold weather arrives this autumn, will most likely force Ukraine to sign a more than shameful peace in exchange for the normal flow of fuels back to Europe.  

I think that the future of this house of cards, described as briefly as possible, is not at all rosy; not only have we built it too big and too flimsy. Moreover, we have not provided it with the tools and support it really needs to assert itself and, finally, the policy - falsely attributed to the ostrich of hiding one's head in the face of danger - is practised daily by too many leaders, in frank decay and even some who are on holiday at the expense of the public purse; while everything around them - internally and externally - is crumbling. 

We have come too far ahead, too far; the situation will not be fixed with Decree Laws, as we call in Spain the authentic "alcaldadas" of the rulers, nor with Executive Orders in the purest US style, all of them taken out of the hat and signed with only a few or no minutes of reflection. I fear that this time they will not be enough and we will have a very bad time.