I've been gone for months with a vision problem but what a challenging day to come back. This is a day of great good news. It is also one of stunning sorrow.
Good news first: Obama has done it again! He has saved our bacon big-time.
Today he got a strong agreement that blocks Iran from making nuclear weapons. Even some of his critics - not the anti-Obamas who oppose whatever he does, but those who are educated and savy - have rejected their own prior criticisms and have good words for this agreement
In less than a year he has saved us from two threats of annihilation that were looming over us. First, he got a crucially significant agreement with China to reduce carbon pollution and thus avoid turning our planet into Venus. Now he has staved off the other nightmare: nuclear cataclysm.
If Iran had made a bomb......! All this world needs is a nuclear arms race between Sunnis and Shiites or between any other divided segments of the Muslim world. No matter the division, we would have a nuclear arms race. A reignition of bitter religious wars dating from more than a millennium ago, with each side armed with the worst killing capacity there has ever been. Saudi Arabia was poised to pick up its side of the contest if these talks failed and start its own bomb-making. Already it has come off the sidelines in recent days to fight against Iran and its proxies in several places in the Middle East. With Iran and Saudi Arabia squaring off with conventional weapons, these are not the best of times.
But with a nuclear weapon in Iran's hands, these would certainly have become the worst of times. From Iran where could the bomb have wandered? For that matter, the more countries have the bomb the more likely that ISIS and other extremists groups will steal it.
But as great as is Obama's halting of Iran's bomb ambitions, we cannot rejoice as we would like because of the tragedy in Kenya. No, I misspeak. It's not a tragedy when gunmen invade a college campus and methodically execute over a hundred non-Muslim students and staff. It's murder.
Sure, these fanatics really believe their warped religious doctrine that drives them to kill, but they are nothing more than cheap vicious criminals who must be caught and jailed if possible or killed on sight if necessary. A plague is lose in the world. We are seeing the early stages of infection which, bad as they are, could be nothing compared to the next phase that could be developing, i.e. Sunni vs Shiite all across the Muslim world and the worst of the extremists groups being fueled by the major antagonists.
That is how the great good news today ties in with the sorrowful news of today. The gunmen who invaded the Kenyan college and massacred people were allied with an Al Quada group. Country by country the infection keeps growing.
We must keep nuclear weapons out of the Muslim world to keep them out of the hands of the extremists. Those who burn people alive and film it and slaughter college students in their beds would never hesitate to unleash a holocaust of atomic weapons should they get them. We should in fact get rid of all the nuclear weapons. It's a miracle that in 70 years since the bomb was developed it has never strayed into the hands of crazy groups or been set off by crazed individuals in the military of one of the nuclear countries as in "Dr. Strangelove".
There is another connection between the good news and the bad. Kenya is the land of Obama's father. By the strange paths of fate, a descendant of the wonderful country of Kenya today built a major wall against violence while at the same time violence was being inflicted on the people of his father's homeland. Indeed Obama still has relatives there.
Remember too that Obama is a college professor and those who died today in Kenya were college students. We college professors and other teachers love students. That's why we teach. We love students wherever they are.
As our world gets smaller and smaller, the hurts cut deeper and deeper. We would never dream of asking for whom the bell tolls. We all know too well that the bell tolls for each of us. Today my daughter-in-law in Norway expressed on Facebook great sadness "for all our friends in Kenya." She means actual friends. She and my son visit in Kenya. We are our brothers' and sisters' keepers, and our brothers and sisters live all over this world.
Thank you, President Obama, for today making the world safer for all of us. I wish you could have also saved the Kenyan students. I know you wish the same.