I have not made single comment about “Brexit”—the popular handle regarding Britain’s recent referendum whether to stay in the European Union or to leave it—because I don’t know anything substantial about it, things that an intimate and lived-in knowledge of the intricacies of culture and the palpable impact of policy can only bring.
Not that you and I shouldn’t care, because even the politics of Britain, halfway around the world, does affect all of us in unseen ways. There are reverberations, especially in a world that is increasingly run as a closed system dictated by the whimsies of internet, the weather, trade agreements, and the stock market—and only fools would say, “Why should you care? You’re not British.”
But I really don’t know anything.
Still many of the British people I do know—smart ones whose opinions I trust—are genuinely horrified by what has happened. So I feel horrified for them.
The writer Lara Stapleton, echoing the many Cassandras sprouting all over the web, told me over in Facebook: “It could crash the world economy, which might help Trump.”
That is, help Trump goose up enough fear-mongering to become the American president to succeed Barack Obama.
Oh. Dear. God.
I replied to Lara, given my own fears about the uncertainty that can unfold here in the Philippines after June 30: “After Duterte and this [the Brexit], a Trump win would be the final nail to the coffin called Apocalypse.” It didn’t help that when I tried to write “Duterte” in Facebook, AutoCorrect insisted on spelling it as “Détente.” Which might not be incorrect. Maybe AutoCorrect knows something we don’t? We’ll find out soon enough.
But that made me think. The likes of Duterte and Putin are increasingly in power all over the world—macho leaders with an almost fascistic appeal, and most of them brought to power by a popular vote, which begs the one irony and frailty of democracy. If the people decide, on a vote, that they don’t want freedom, what do you do?
So there you go. Macho leaders with macho blusters. And China in a standoff with the rest of Southeast Asia over territories it claims for itself. Then Brexit and the continuing European crisis, hobbled with the troubles in the Middle East and the migration nightmare that has created, plus the continuing crisis in Greece and the Ukraine. Then there’s the likelihood of President Trump.
It made me come to this tarrying conclusion: given the way all the chess pieces of current world events are positioning themselves, is World War III a possibility?
This superb introduction to Fallout 4 seems like the best illustration to use about war.
It is a farfetched idea—but is “farfetched” even a reality anymore. A year ago, the idea that Britain would leave the EU was considered “farfetched.” Look what happened.
All I know is, I can smell the gasoline and the trigger, and the world can burn.
This somehow reminded me of the planet in Isaac Asimov’s short story (and eventual novel) “Night Fall.” In that story, the world of Lagash has never seen night. The reason for that is because of their six suns. The Lagash daylight is a perpetual reality—and it is the only thing they know. Darkness is a myth, and shadowed places are places you never venture to.
Art by Dirk Terrell
But both prophecy and science soon unveil a terrifying truth: once every 2049 years, the suns are eclipsed by a rogue planet in their system, and there will be a quick descent to night fall. Night would be brief—but for a planet that knows only light, there is no such thing as a “brief night.” Alas, they’ve also found out that older and more mature civilizations before them had succumbed to the same temptation every time this phenomenon happens: the people, in beholding for the first time a thorough darkness, and with that the appearance of all the stars that had been until now completely unseen, they go mad. Seeing the far-off pinpricks of light suddenly surrounding them in the blackness of the night skies, they have gone mad—and they have proceeded to burn their cities and everything else that has made them “civilized” to the ground. And it appears the current cycle would go about the same exact way.
It has been a while since 1945. The sun has gone on for far too long.
We are such a blood-thirsty species, and we strangely privilege conflict above everything else.