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The Armageddon That Wasn't
If you're living in Israel, it certainly feels like the End of Days, especially this afternoon. First, there's the whole Coronavirus thing. Aside from the threat to life, this has basically shut down the airport and hotel industries, and an announcement this afternoon that all schools might close.
Then, this afternoon, there's weather which I haven't seen the likes of in the quarter-century that I've lived here. The unbelievable winds shook my car as I drove home; I stopped off a store and someone asked how my End Of The World is going. Right after I parked at home, the howling gale toppled a tree outside my house, entirely blocking the road. Then the power went out in the entire city.
There was also a power outage earlier today in the museum, and together with the unusually over cast skies, it felt like the Plague of Darkness. And I saw locusts, frogs, and wild animals. Though, come to think of it, I see those every day, so perhaps that wasn't significant.
But enough about the End of Days, let's talk about Armageddon.
I have to preface what I'm about to say by stressing that I utterly despise Donald Trump. He's like Yosef Mizrachi, but even worse. A while ago I was offered a chance to meet with him at an exclusive event, and I turned it down. Trump is a repulsive person (and I don't think that he's done much good for Israel either, practically speaking).
Yet I firmly believe (and it should be obviously true) that just as very great people can do terrible things, so too very terrible people can do great things. Recently I saw an ordinarily level-headed person write that in the next US election, he will vote for absolutely anyone who isn't Trump. This is irrational. However bad Trump is, it's certainly conceivable that there is someone who is a worse president. Just as, several years ago, a certain crowd was irrational in automatically hating absolutely everything that Obama did, so too other people are irrational in automatically hating absolutely everything that Trump does.
A case in point is the Armageddon that wasn't.
It's always easier to notice things that do happen rather than things that don't. So let's refresh our memories. A little over two months ago, the United States took out Iran's major general Qasem Soleimani.
Do you remember what many people were saying? They were convinced that World War Three was going to immediately break out. It was going to be Armageddon.
Now, I'm not saying that it was necessarily strategically wise to take him out. And it's certainly possible that there could still be negative repercussions. But it's not exactly looking like the Armageddon that people predicted is going to happen. Furthermore, it's not even as though they said that it might lead to Armageddon; they were absolutely convinced that it would. (Along with moving the embassy to Jerusalem, which they were also certain would set the Middle East on fire.)
There are three lessons to take from this. One is that End Of The World predictions often don't come true (in fact so far, there is a 100% failure rate). Another is to remember to notice the things that don't happen. And a third is to bear in mind that knee-jerk responses to the actions of people that you love or hate are not necessarily correct.
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