Cassi Creek: Once upon a time, we had the luxury of being separated from most of the world by the oceans that defined our continental land mass. We were relatively able to maintain political neutrality when other nations decided that the failure of diplomacy left war the only option.
Along with the steam-powered, coal-fired engines that drove our railroad trains, we developed steam-powered ships that could cross the oceans more rapidly than ever before. With the introduction of trans-oceanic telegraphy, telephony, and radio; our secure and might Fortress America began to develop chinks in our protective walls.
By the onset of WWI, the industrialization of warfare was carving out larger chunks of protectionism. The brutality of un-restrained submarine warfare made Germany an international villain. We gave up our neutrality to join the effort to defeat Germany.
Industrialization continued to provide ever-quicker communications with people on other continents. The horror of Germany’s submarine warfare in the WWI Atlantic was replaced by the unimaginable, genocidal sub-war waged in all of Europe to some degree and in Germany and Eastern Europe as national and cultural policy. We lost more of our isolation in winning WWII. We’d have lost more if we had lost the war. IN our Pacific war against Japan, we turned to the same unrestricted submarine warare than we had so strongly condemned when practiced by Germany less than 20 years earlier.
Even during the Cold War with the USSR, we retained some residual ability to hide behind distances.
In 1993, the initial WTC bombing was the two-minute notice. War had arrived on America’s shores but we largely ignored the fact. 2001 backed us into a corner and slapped us into minimal awareness. We could no longer deny that foreign powers were waging war upon us. Nor could we deny the existence of domestic enemies who are as equally willing to kill Americans as any Jihadist.
Today we are faced with the same future already expected in other nations. The cultural, social, and religious wars that have cost so many lives in other nations have surfaced in the U.S. Boston is yet another notice that we can no longer use distance as a protective shield. It is a difficult lesson to learn and as a nation, we have yet to understand all that it is teaching us.
"We'll build a sweet little nest, somewhere in the west, and let the rest of the world go by"