The World in a Nutshell: October 2014


It is time to give a quick “global update” and comment on some of the many stories dominating the news theses days. Fasten your seatbelt – here’s the world:

1. Shooting Near the Canadian Parliament. One soldier was killed and at least 3 others were wounded by a terrorist shooting today in Ottawa. Why does it matter? It’s not the number of people killed or wounded in this attack that is noteworthy – it’s the unexpectedness of the event. And if it turns out that the shooter – who recently converted to Islam – was motivated by what’s going on in Iraq and Syria, then the attack takes on greater significance for Western nations. But we don’t know yet. People will speculate, but let the facts come out.

2. Ebola. The Ebola outbreak has already killed more than 4,500 people. The first transmitted cases of Ebola in the US have occurred. Even if the CDC gets a handle on this, even if a serum becomes available for others who have contracted the disease by January (as WHO is hoping) we can now file all of this under, “really bad stuff is possible anywhere.”

3. ISIS. The Islamic State continues its advances, the US-led coalition continue their air campaigns, the Kurds continue to fight fiercely. ISIS is getting smarter, telling their fighters to stop giving away their locations on Twitter. Kobani and Baghdad have not fallen. Atrocities and threats continue (ISIS just released their first video showing the stoning of a woman accused of adultery and a 17-year old boy was crucified in Syria a few days ago, supposedly for being a spy.) In the end, somehow I think ISIS will be gone and the real winners of this situation will be Iran.

4. Hamas. Israel’s summer war with Hamas in Gaza already seems like ancient history. This week a top Hamas official claimed that the conflict barely impacted Hamas and its military capabilities. “After all the bombing and war, Israel reduced Hamas’s military capabilities by less than 7%,” Abu Marzouk said in an interview with Egyptian daily A-Shorouk. And according to the Jerusalem Post, Hamas continues to construct infiltration tunnels into Israel.

5. U.S. Mid-Term Elections. In less than 2 weeks Americans will head to the polls and President Obama will either have a very frustrating two more years, (if the Republicans take the House and Senate) or America will continue on with its present policies and direction. Either way, politicians will blame each other. But maybe we won’t have to hear about it so much in the media.

So that’s a quick snapshot of some top stories. In a couple of weeks, I’ll be heading to ITALY with a student group for a leadership conference on personality profiling and personal influence called “Who Let the Dogs Out?”

I am more committed than ever to the idea of training and developing young (and not so young) leaders in a global context.  The need for thinking leaders grows right along side the global challenge. But no one ever said making a difference would be easy, secure or predictable. In the process, however, we love helping people live better stories!

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