‘Tidal’ war

[Sent to the Sydney Morning Herald on November 17, 2011.]

During his visit to Australia, US President Barack Obama, apparently referring to US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, said, “The tide of war is receding”.

It is understandable that US citizens, after the history of the last two centuries, might think that wars involving their country are natural phenomena, like tides. In reality, however, wars are caused by decisions of governments, like the one that Obama heads.

But perhaps with the “tides” metaphor, the US president was alerting us to his plans. Every ebb tide is followed by a flood tide. So the allegedly receding tide in Afghanistan and Iraq is no doubt to be followed by a tide of greater war in Pakistan and Iran.

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