Okay, well maybe not the whole world but certainly around my world.
I have tried to keep off the topics of Brexit, Trump, Russia, China, Korea, alternative facts and downright lies because there is so much out there already I thought I should stick to the mundane issues of everyday life that affect us daily. But it's not possible. Every conference, meeting, breakfast lunch and dinner and everything else in between is consumed with discussion about these topics. "Oh yes, what was that conference about - malnutrition in Africa?" We spoke about everything but. "We were going to talk about schools, and taxes and rugby ..." - but we got side-tracked into a review of the world as we saw it, right now!
At this point one has to reach for the Emoji page and go 😱. (Mvnch's "The Scream" was just too large!).
People say over dinner, aren't you interested about what is going on in the world? Sure I am, but will be better placed once I can make some logical sense out of it all. On the basis that it helps sometimes to see the issues more clearly, I thought I would jot down some of mine. From what I understand:
The Brexit referendum was a huge misjudgement in the first place and should never have happened, although once decided upon should have been conditional upon receiving a significant majority in favour of leaving, not the squeaking past the post outcome. I also think that if the television stations had their wits about them they should have played the "Yes, Minister" clip about why Britain should stay in the European Union. That, together with Boris Johnson arguing on the side of the "Remainers" would have created a different result. The fall-out is now going to plague debate in the UK for the next two years - at least.
Mr. Trump, surprisingly to many outside, finds himself President of the United States. That event alone and its aftermath has created enough ammunition to ensure that meetings between any two people in the street last considerably longer than usual and interminable debate at the dinner table. He has insulted the judiciary, he seems to insist on staying in business, he bans the media who are less favourable to him, he is getting US companies - at no small cost eventually to the consumer - to stay in the US so that they can build factories that will actually be operated by robots and not create jobs for the "man in the street" who voted him in ... and so it goes on.The pre-election rhetoric against countries and some leaders from outside the United States softens once he meets them, indicating to those who live in the real world that the USA does not have much of a foreign policy. And by the time people finish talking about President Trump it's almost cheese or dessert time.
And then there's Asia. Lest we forget, Mr. Kim, Chairman of the Workers Party of Korea is only 33. He has an interesting style for a leader, despatching formerly trusted relatives or lieutenants by using a well aimed missile or feeding them to the dogs, for such heinous crimes as falling asleep in a meeting. And not forgetting the removal of his half-brother with impunity. And he has something nuclear. It's true. Remember the last time a leader was suspected of having something nuclear - Saddam Hussein - coalition forces went into his country and got rid of him. It was perhaps unfortunate they found out later he didn't actually have anything, but he was a nasty individual anyway. Good enough! But Mr. Kim does have something - something that may be capable of reaching West Coast USA and certainly Japan. I find that troubling, I must say, but then how much can he leverage that position to his advantage, or is he truly just a loose cannon? No wonder Japan is keen to boost its defences - but wait a minute, the last time they built up their defences they went to war, and before that they invaded Korea. Ah, so neither North nor South Korea are particularly fond of Japan, possibly the one thing the two Koreas have in common, although South Korea is possibly less fond of China than Japan today - but let's see whether the noises coming from the current (interim) South Korean President Hwang Kyo-ahn can improve that situation.
Meanwhile China moves forward, slowly, but nevertheless forward. It is expanding into the world in general. President Xi's speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos this year promoted global free trade. A surprise to many that China thought this way, but China does want and in fact probably needs to trade with the world. Perhaps the words attributed to Napoleon about "the dragon waking" will become a reality.
Having got through that lot, and with coffee or tea on us, we just have time to round off the meal with a few sundry views on President Duterte in the Philippines, President Erdogan in Turkey, the Middle East in general, the perceived coming collapse of the European Union in general - and we still haven't reached Russia.
Seriously, it is confusing - at all levels. One has enough to worry about daily with things like creating sufficient jobs, the too many injustices and divides that remain throughout our modern world, the too little talked about coming shortage of water, and hey, people still want to live for ever! We are consumed by "news" - or at least the news we are fed by both the discerning and the indiscriminate media - from which you have to try and sort out fact from fiction. We need less reliance on rumour or half-truths, and more personal rational judgements, followed by actions.
Technology is, in very many ways a blessing, but when business and political leaders resort to off the cuff tweets without necessarily thinking through the broader ramifications of what they have just written, they create and then build on fragility in people's minds.
There is no escape from it all, no sanity it seems - and now that I've finished the coffee I probably can't sleep either!