What is keeping me awake at night tonight, you may ask? Let me tell you a short story.
On 19-20 November 1985 Ronald Reagan, the most powerful man in the First World, and Mikhail Gorbachev the most powerful man in the Second World met to discuss a way forward which did not involve the mutually assured destruction of the planet. A dangerous Cold War had raged between the two powers for decades, leading to a massive stockpiling of nuclear weapons. The talk had been incredibly tense as both men politicked away. If you were a fly on the wall at the Geneva chateau where the two men met you might think we’re all done for – the talks were not going terribly well. The group took a break, with Reagan and Gorbachev taking a walk outside.
While stretching their legs, Reagan turned to Gorbachev and asked, earnestly
“Mikhail, What would you do if the United States were suddenly attacked by someone from outer space? Would you help us?”
“No doubt about it” replied a bemused Gorbachev.
“We too” responded Reagan.
I needn’t tell you the Geneva summit went much more productively after that. In 1987 Ronald Reagan revisited this thought in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly.
“I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside of this world.”
This evening a friend of mine re-posted a video to social media featuring a tearful WHO head Tedros Adhanom. In the video Adhanom pleads with the despots of this world who have let COVID19 run rampant to do the right thing. He calls for the world to put aside partisan squabbles, and act in the greater good to defeat this alien threat. What struck me is, if Ronald Reagan, a criminal, one time bootlicker of the House Un-American Activities Committee; a man once out-acted by a chimpanzee got it – surely we all can too? Trump, I’m looking specifically at you.