Maybe I will, maybe I won’t

Maybe I’ll make some changes, maybe I won’t. No, that’s not me trying to gain control over my chocaholism, even though it can get out of hand. It’s Donald Trump talking about his team and his strategy going forward.

I have written 15 episodes of the TRUMPs show. The blogs speak for themselves. They were my way of getting rid of some of my pent-up frustration after Donald Trump’s election. A Trump fan I am not.

But after the fifteenth TRUMPs blog, I decided enough was enough about Trump. Little did I know that this was when the show would really take off. Overnight we went from far right Bannonite themes to The Era of the Generals. Suddenly, missiles and bombs were flying.

My head is spinning, and so is everyone elses.

The world is playing with me, and I am in no position to make any changes. It makes me want to tear out my hair – or at least eat a ton of chocolate. I feel as helpless and obsolete as the unfortunate natural history museum exhibit hanging upside down in my featured image.

My world tilted towards fatalism a long time ago: the day an acquaintance of a friend was randomly stabbed by a stranger while walking along a pedestrian walkway in the internationally acclaimed “garden city” Tapiola, a quiet suburb in Finland. It could have been me. I was walking nearby at the same time.

Up until then, I had bought into my parents maxim that honesty and hard work will get you where you want to go. Now I added the footnote: Unless you meet up with crazy.

Que sera, sera – whatever will be, will be.

Random acts of violence abound, whether it’s a gun crazy excop, who ends up shooting someone in a movie theatre, and claims to have felt threatened by the victim’s attempt at popcorn throwing, or a Uzbek refugee, who drives into a crowd in the centre of Stockholm.

Four people, two Swedes, one Belgian, and a Brit, were killed, and  fifteen others injured in Stockholm. Why do I mention the nationalities of the dead? To underline the randomness of it all. Belgian Mailys Dereymaeker, 31, had been visiting friends in Stockholm. She never made it back home because Rakhmat Akilov, 39, a known ISIS supporter wanted by the Swedish police, chose a specific time and place to drive into the crowd.

The Nordic welfare states had had their share of crazy violence and psychopaths’ shootings before. But international terrorism, as a form of warfare, was another matter.

It was all over Europe: shootings and bombings, trucks driven into crowds in Nice, Berlin, London. Now it had reached Stockholm.

When I studied international law, much was made of how wars were declared, and who could go to war where. What later became the European Union, was initially an effort to ensure sustainable peace in Europe.

Those were the good old days, when we believed that if we worked hard on international treaties, and rules and regulations, we could make sense of this world. I grant you, we took it too far when even the form of cucumbers (straight) was regulated. But the intentions were good.

ISIS, or ISIL as some prefer, never got the memo. What started as a local religious war – of which history knows many – has escalated to outright crazy on an unforeseen level. All because ideas and people travel more freely, and so much faster, today than before. Even the crazy ones.

So do I feel safer now that Donald Trump has decided to take an active role in fighting ISIS?

I might, if there was some consistency, some rationality in Trump’s “maybe I will, maybe I won’t” leadership. But there isn’t, so I don’t. Feel safer, that is. Especially not with the whole “my bomb is bigger than your bomb” muscle-flexing that is going on between the US and Russia.

Finland has fought Russia, and walked away to tell about it as an independent country. But it taught us a lesson. “Maybe we will, maybe we won’t” is not good strategy with Russia. Actually it is seldom good strategy anywhere, except when you are on a power trip with no regard for the consequences.

I just read an article about senseless police shootings in the US. It boggles the mind how many there are. Take the two officers who stopped Rodney Mitchell, 23, in Sarasota for not wearing a seatbelt. Mitchell reached down towards his gear shift, when he was ordered to put his car in park. Both officers shot him, stating later that they were worried he was reaching for a weapon or about to drive at them. Mitchell was unarmed.

This incident was triggered by the maybe factor. Maybe he will shoot, maybe he will drive at us.

You can see where this is going can’t you? Maybe he will let the war escalate,  maybe we need to strike first….

When office intrigues abounded, I used to tell my team that we should just concentrate on doing our jobs well, instead of jumping into the fray. You may end up imagining foes and creating aggression, where none existed to begin with.

I am not arguing that ISIS is imaginary. I am arguing for consistency and some form of predictability in international affairs.

People and countries tend to get carried away, which is why consistency helps. My parents were right, honesty (always a relative matter in international affairs) and hard work towards mutual understanding takes you far. If your base is sound, there is still room for the occasional surprise attack without creating total chaos.

In Donald Trump’s case, even his allies don’t know from one day to another whether they are still valued as allies or not. By no stretch of the imagination can that be considered a sound base.

If you are in no position to affect international affairs, a dose of fatalism helps you cope. I watched Finnish television news the day after the terrorist attack in Stockholm. A reporter was interviewing ferry passengers, who had decided to make their planned trip to Sweden despite the  tragedy of the day before. Families with young children, retirees, youngsters. They were all in a “whatever will be, will be” mode. Some planned to pay their condolences on the site of the attack, others sympathised quietly with the victims and their nearest, but felt it would be better to avoid the site.

They all travelled as planned; because this could have happened anywhere. Even at their own doorstep back home.

Luckily they took the ferry. If they had booked a United Airlines flight, they might have found themselves dragged off the plane with their faces bloodied just before departure, and never reached Stockholm. United Airlines is no stranger to maybe we will, maybe we won’t. Fly you to your destination, that is.

Hand me the chocolate and play some Twisted Sisters. I’m not gonna take it anymore. Then again, maybe I will, maybe I won’t. What else can I do? Blog?