I would like to report that over the past two weeksthings have got much better on this planet; even alittle better would be nice. Unfortunately, that is not thecase. As usual the news has been filled with more ofthe same old problems that never seem to get fixed.

We see yet more stories on the advance of globalwarming and the threat it presents to ourecosystem as we now know it. The world’s climate isgetting warmer, glaciers and ice caps are melting,species of fish, plants and land animals are disappearingfrom their traditional habitat if not disappearingcompletely.

And the bought-and-paid-for so-calledscientists who spin fairy tales for the large corporationsthat stand to lose some profit if we do anythingmeaningful about the problem are still telling us thateverything is okay and there is nothing to be alarmedabout.

Meanwhile, North Korea claims to have tested a nuclearweapon. The whole world is aflutter, never mind thatsuch reliable and stable countries as India, Pakistanand Israel also have nuclear weapons. It is scary, butnot as scary as the report that the U.S. is thinking ofre-arming its ballistic missiles with conventionalwarheads to use against places like North Korea andIran.

If they do that who is to know when launchedfrom a submarine at sea if a missile is nuclear or not, orwhere it is heading? — a situation that other nuclearpowers such as Russia and China might reasonablyassume is a nuclear attack against them and causethem to launch their own strike in retaliation.

In Iraq things keep getting progressively worse while thecheery assurances from the warmongers are comingwith more and more caveats. So, too, in Afghanistan.

George Bush and his cronies and toadies like StephenHarper, guys who have probably never been anywherenear a firefight or an ambush, keep telling us that it isimportant to win this war, and that the deaths of oursoldiers there are the price we pay for world leadership.Meanwhile Canada’s defence minister is begging othercountries to send more troops into the quagmire to bailus out, and a number of ranking military officers andeven conservative leaders are saying that a militaryvictory is not possible.

One might ask, what does the future have in store? It isan interesting question, but not nearly as important asasking — how did we get here? The future depends on itspast and what we make of that past will be determined by thelessons that we learn about how we got to this point tostart with.

One of my favourite pieces of BS is one that is oftenheard when answering this question. It is thecomparison of relations with (fill in your enemy ofchoice) to the Munich Agreement of 1938. Oh, if onlythey had stopped Hitler then, we hear; we can’tmake the same mistake.

What bumf. There is noquestion that Hitler should have been stopped, but not atMunich. In fact one might argue that the MunichAgreement allowed the Allies to be better prepared forthe inevitable war with Hitler. Why fault them for notwanting a war when they did not feel ready for it?Hitler might have won.

Where Hitler should have been stopped, of course, at thevery latest, was Versailles. If Germany had not beenmade a scapegoat for the war, forced to surrenderunconditionally, and then oppressed with reparationsand an occupying army perhaps Hitler would never havecome to power.

Then again, if all concerned had negotiated rather than gone so foolishly to war in1914, Hitler probably would have been avoided. Ofcourse, if the European countries had not embarked on a500 year campaign of world conquest and colonizationin the 16th Century there might not have been theconditions for World War I, leading to the rise of Hitlerand World War II. And so on.

Small and relatively insignificant incidents like theMunich Agreement, the 9/11 attacks, and any number ofother excuses throughout history are meaningless inthemselves and only serve to indicate a much morecomplicated and serious set of underlying problems.

Thebiggest problem, though, is that fixing these seriousproblems would be a direct attack upon the accumulatedpower and wealth of society’s ruling classes. As long aswe see greed and accumulation of wealth as a goodthing, as long as competition and unregulated enterpriseare valued more than cooperation and equality, as longas social climbing and personal power are moreimportant than social cohesion, the news will continue onas it is.

The problems today with the Islamic radicals, NorthKorea, Iran, the environment, poverty, ad infinitum, allhave common roots in our past. What we need to doto solve them is to first face the pertinent facts.