Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fiddling With Politics and Profit While Rome Burns?

The BP oil rig that is gushing tens of thousands of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico is the largest environmental crisis the world has faced in the 21st Century. That’s right, the world has a problem, not just BP, President Obama, or the unfortunate citizens who make (made) their living from the rich Gulf resources. All politics aside, the pathetic non-response to the problem is a tragedy more dire than virtually any governmental or business failure in the last decade.

We are not talking about the clean up, the lost jobs, or the lives lost when the oil rig exploded. Those problems will be dealt with in the way such problems have always been dealt with. The clean up will mobilize gradually and eventually wash away most visible evidence of the oil. The lost jobs will be replaced or compensated for, most likely by yet another giant financial program implemented by President Obama and his political network, at the expense of the free market and the American taxpayer. The lost lives will be paid for by insurance and legal settlements, never, of course, sufficient to ease the enormous personal loss of the surviving families.

But world leaders, including and especially our president, have supremely and repeatedly failed to take the necessary steps to solve the most pressing aspect of this problem – the leak itself. Six weeks after the leak began, a modest redirection of oil is taking place, and tens of thousands of gallons of oil are still gushing into our oceans. Instead of throwing every resource at the problem – and we mean every one, including the National Guard, the Corps of Engineers, the experts from domestic and foreign oil companies, the best engineering minds of academia, and the astute solutions offered by the public – our government and the BP corporate leaders have spent considerable time thinking about the problem, meeting about the problem, making public statements about the problem, and using the problem to leverage their political positions, all while the oil continues to spew into the Gulf.

Our opinion is this: there is one over-riding priority that dwarfs every other aspect of the problem, and it’s so critical that the rest of the issues should be immediately put in the background so that all major effort and resources can be brought to bear on it. Stop the leak now! Stop the leak now! Stop the leak now!

President Obama. BP. World political leaders. The time to take action is now. Put the ten best engineering minds in a room and don’t let them leave until they have outlined not one, but ten, or one hundred, potential solutions to the problem. As soon as they have offered one solution, immediately bring the resources of the world together to implement the solution. DO NOT WAIT to see if that solution proves to be the one that works. Instead, start preparing the know-how and technology for the NEXT solution. Implement number two the SECOND the first fails. Implement number three IMMEDIATELY when the second one fails. Don’t stop, DO NOT STOP, until the problem is solved. The leak MUST be stopped.

When the leak is stopped, and only then, you can go back to your old ways. BP can work to figure out how to generate income from the well. Politicians can talk about how the opposing party contributed to the disaster. Environmentalists can go back to washing pelicans that will ultimately die anyway from the stress and disease of being exposed to oil. World political leaders can talk about the failures of capitalism.

The human spirit is amazing. When we pull together and all work for the same goal, there is no limit to our potential for achievement. We must bring together the best aspects of human nature and solve the oil catastrophe in the Gulf. We CAN solve this crisis, and we can do it NOW.

- Nicklaus Suino Sensei

- Director, Japanese Martial Arts Center

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