My trip to work this morning included a detour around the demonstrations in San Francisco’s financial district protesting the invasion of the Gaza Strip. It has been a daily inconvenience coming and going for the last week, but a reminder that global events have local, and immediate consequences.
It is apparent that this flashback of “shock and awe” is an attempt to foreclose the options of the new Obama administration to bring about a rapprochment in the Middle East in order to focus on the issues that matter most globally such as global warming, hunger and disease.
The president-elect is well served to continue his discipline to maintain the agenda he has set on economic stimulus. The Gaza crisis is making economic conditions worse by driving up gas prices, just as the run up last year was sparked by rumors of an Israeli attack on Iran.
There are larger global concerns. The meeting of Latin American countries last week that sought a new alignment in South America, included a welcome to Cuba’s president Raul Castro and a call for the end of the U.S. boycott.
One hopes that the assessment of the failure of the Bush administration to get past its obsession on “terrorists,” who are undoubtedly far more numerous now than in 2001, includes a recognition that dignity and respect go a lot further than bombs and missiles, and are far less expensive.
The problems facing the world are far too serious to let those who believe in war, whether in Gaza or the Congo, to distract the critical search for solutions.