Today it seems the world in on the edge of some kind of precipice. Maybe it’s always like that. But today it seems closer than it has been in a while. That’s because Russia is sending more troops into the Crimea region of Ukraine, which is emerging (or trying) from a revolution. It’s true, Crimea is a semi-autonomous region with strong Russian ties and no love for the new Ukrainian government. According to one senior U.S. official, Russia is now in “complete operational control” of the Crimean peninsula. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calls it an “invasion.” G-7 leaders condemned the action and suspended participation in the G-8 summit in Sochi this coming June. Experts say it’s reminiscent of the Cold War.
While this is happening, North Korea launched two more short-range missiles into the sea off the country’s east coast. I interviewed Asia Expert Gordan Chang, for CBS Radio News, and he says this is bad news from all angles. North Korea is trying to get the attention of the international community for a yet undisclosed reason, and will continue to escalate. The reclusive regime is also perfecting its arsenal. Chang says North Korea is working hard to have a nuclear warhead and long range missile that could reach anywhere within the United States. That could happen within a few years, according to Chang.
And there’s Syria, which is still in the midst of a brutal civil war. Civilian areas are still under bombardment by the government. The United Nations says Syria is on track to become the world’s worst refugee crisis. At the moment, it has the world’s second-largest refugee population. Afghanistan is still number one, but barely. A striking photo from the Yarmouk Camp in Damascus shows a sea of people filling a canyon between bombed out buildings. Perhaps thousands of people are in line waiting for food. It’s a devastating picture.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this, but this feels like a pivotal moment in history. I know that I’m fortunate to live in the United States, and even more fortunate to be a witness, and sometimes scribe, to this history. But it’s sometimes hard to watch and be able to do nothing.