Not the worst of times

Not the worst of times

The world seems very messy these days, which might be an occasion to examine the broad forces producing the turmoil. But in Washington, of course, it becomes one more opportunity for partisanship. “I do believe that the things we’re seeing in the world today, [which is] in greater turmoil than at any time in my lifetime, [are] a direct result of an absence of American leadership,” said Sen. John McCain last weekend on CNN.

Really? McCain has had a long and distinguished life and I’m sure he remembers what happened in, say, 1973, the year he and 590 others were released from imprisonment in Vietnam. That year, in Vietnam alone, several hundred thousand people died as a result of the war.

And that doesn’t include the tens of thousands who died in the Yom Kippur War, also in 1973. The effect of that war was that, in retaliation for America’s involvement, the major oil-producing countries announced an oil embargo against the United States and its closest allies. Within a year the price of oil had quadrupled and the industrialized world was plunged into deep economic crisis, forever losing its access to cheap energy from the Middle East.

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