Saturday, August 30, 2008

Two Paths Ahead

When looking back o'er the last seven years:
The missed chances, priorities misplaced,
Short-sighted vision, treasure sent to waste,
Hundreds of billions spent placating fears.
When looking forth to the next seven years:
Will the next wars be fought with mindless haste,
And turning of backs to troubles home-based,
Forgoing the plowshares, forging more spears?
Two paths to the future diverge just ahead:
One leads to hollow, victory's false lure,
And cities infrastructurally poor;
One leads to plans for revival instead,
Rebuilding and environment secure.
Two paths, two futures—which one will be tread?

As I sat in my seat at the Bird’s Nest, watching thousands of Chinese dancers, drummers, singers and acrobats on stilts perform their magic at the closing ceremony, I couldn’t help but reflect on how China and America have spent the last seven years: China has been preparing for the Olympics; we’ve been preparing for Al Qaeda. They’ve been building better stadiums, subways, airports, roads and parks. And we’ve been building better metal detectors, armored Humvees and pilotless drones.
Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times, August 26, 2008