Perhaps spurred by the thought that I'll be back in the United States tomorrow, I checked in to the New York Times today for the first time in three weeks. It seems that virtually nothing has changed in the important things--things like war and peace--except that relations with Russia have deteriorated since we left. Do we blame Putin, for his insistence on making a grab for the power that his country and its satellites once wielded in the world: or Bush, for his arrogant bellicosity? Does it matter who deserves the blame? The world, it seems, is still in the deathly grip of men who are incapable of change, and for whom the old--and by now widely discredited--models of power, territoriality and ownership are still the governing principles.
I note from Bob Herbert's column that Al Gore has a new book out, attacking the Bush administration's assault on reason in favor of an extreme and misguided ideology. Good for him. Gore, I mean. As Herbert is at pains to point out, the world would look very different today if the man who won the most votes in the 2000 presidential elections had actually moved into the White House. With regard to running again this year, Gore tells Herbert that he now realizes that he's "not a very good politician." Just what we need, in my view. I wish he'd heed the many voices begging him to run. He's the most fully qualified, the most visionary, and the least compromising of the lot.
All this from Harpenden, Herts., UK, where I sit looking at my adoptive country from a useful distance. It has been good, honestly, to be away. It has felt like there is still some sanity in the world, though perhaps not much. There are many huge changes that we must make, if we're all to survive the results of our own base impulses.