jigsaw big picture“Thank you!” to all who replied to my informal poll, which asked you to name one or two post-9/11 issues and events that you would like to this blog take on during the months ahead. Some sent email, others replied in the Comments area. Thanks also to those I spoke to in person. The replies were thoughtful and identified significant areas of concern, although no consensus emerged. But now that I think about it, I should have known that would be the case.

Our post-9/11 world presents us with a wide array of consequential issues, events, and policies that we need to come to grips with, both in America and in the Middle East. And the reality continues to change dramatically, and at times dangerously. There are so many decisive areas of the post-9/11 big picture to tackle that it would be hard to find agreement any one or two. That was certainly true of my small poll, in which no two people expressed an interest about the same area.

There were also significant aspects of the big picture that were not mentioned by the responders. That was an interesting omission to me, because I thought these areas would certainly be mentioned. What the poll did for me, then, was to remind me that the post-9/11 big picture has many crucial pieces of different shapes and sizes. This was on my mind as I wrote the pool, and one of the email responders picked up on that. So in the next post I want to summarize the salient pieces of the post-9/11 big picture.

Following that post, we will begin to consider some of these areas in depth. I will take you behind the scenes, on a kind of crash course, to understand where are at (really at) and how we got here, and, importantly, to consider what some wiser ways ahead might be. What I have to say is not going to be some rehash of you have learned from the evening news or talk radio or the blogosphere.

We live in a dangerous period. If we do not know why that is, really why, then wiser ways ahead cannot be formulated and implemented.

©2014 by Charles Strohmer

Image by Lynette Cook & NASA

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