world war

The Blood-Dimmed Tide is Loosed, and Everywhere

14 November 2023


The post-war world of my youth is gone. We are now living in a pre-war era.

The world is at this moment grappling with a succession of challenges that, if not properly addressed, will cause everything we know to spiral hopelessly out of control.

It may already be too late.

The world has, for a while now, been moving rapidly toward a future that is unguessable.

Things were unstable before China sneezed across the globe. And after the pandemic, nothing has been stable.

I am raising my children in a world in which nothing is certain, and in which nobody is sure of anything.

What we do know, indeed all we know, is that something big is on the horizon. Something bad.

The sense of foreboding is everywhere.

William Butler Yeats was right:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere.

From Rosy Dreams to Bloodshed

The barbaric slaughter of Israeli civilians on the morning of Saturday, October 7, was not the beginning of this dark new era. But it removed any doubts about whether or not the sun had in fact been hidden.

Israel is now waging a war for its very survival. Hamas is an Iranian-backed death cult that nobody would tolerate in their own backyard.

While Israel will never destroy the evil ideas of Hamas, they must, and will, crush Hamas as an entity.

When Israel is done, there must be no possibility that Hamas as an organisation could ever reform, let alone exercise power.

The battle, only a few weeks old, is already outraging a Western population that only 30 years ago had agreed history was over.

American political scientist Francis Fukuyama’s 1992 book The End of History imagined that, with the Cold War ended, all ideological struggles had been resolved and that all great wars had been fought.

All that remained was never-ending human prosperity.

And, I have to admit, the 90s were good.

Little did the Spice Girls know at the time that we were merely living through the eye of a storm — a brief moment of inanity that rocked us to sleep while dark forces were gathering strength for a renewed assault upon humanity.

We are just starting to grapple with the realisation that we might actually be in the midst of a hurricane we had long ago stopped believing in.

This is part of the reason for the outrage over the casualties in Gaza. So many in the West imagine war to be a game of football between two teams playing by mutually agreed rules, referred by an LBTQ-affirming bureaucrat in Brussels.

But war is terrible because the game spills off the field and into the grandstands, where innocents are tragically caught up in its cascading effects.

But what is Israel to do? The Jews are fighting an enemy that glories in death. Hamas use their own people as human shields. They rape and behead their enemies.

The Israeli Defence Force drops leaflets warning civilians to flee before it launches an attack. Israeli soldiers phone civilians directly and warn them to evacuate buildings before bombs are dropped.

Tell me another military that does that.

But even with the best of intentions, mistakes will still happen. Civilians will still be killed.

Right now, Israel has teenage soldiers fighting urban warfare in the rubble of Gaza. An 18-year-old kid firing a gun or operating a drone is expected to make split-second decisions under extreme pressure. Mistakes will be made.

And when they are, the entire world (which applies completely different standards to the Israeli army than to any other fighting force) will scream, “War Criminal!”

But war is not a crime. And civilian casualties as a result of Israeli mistakes are not the same as civilians deliberately raped and stolen and beheaded by Hamas.

Wrongheaded Compassion

But look at how many Palestinians have died compared to Israelis!uni students with half-finished degrees in Gender Studies will cry.

We are witnessing in real-time, on our own streets, just how easily ignorance combined with emotional bias can twist people’s thinking.

Far more Japanese were killed in World War II than Americans killed at Pearl Harbour. Does that mean Americans should not have fought back against the Japanese?

We demand a ceasefire!” chant the Greens.

Would Adam Bandt and his conga line of brain-dead Senators have demanded the Allies agree to a ceasefire after landing at Normandy on June 6, 1944?


Bandt would have given the Nazis time to regroup and then push the Allied forces back into the sea.

Bandt sounds so very humanitarian.

But unconsciously, or perhaps consciously, he has a preferred side in mind for victory.

He and his party room of weirdos should hope they never get the world they want, since they would be the first ones taken out the back and shot by the very people they now cheer.

We are learning fast (or at least I hope we are) never to underestimate the confusion caused by a combination of fuddled goodwill and complete lack of historical knowledge. But now I’m describing your typical Q&A audience.

William Butler Yeats again:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.


It’s a mistake to think this is a war between Israel and Hamas. It is already much wider than that. In fact, it has been much wider than that from the very beginning.

Israel is being attacked by from Gaza by Hamas, from Lebanon by Hezbollah and from Syria by Shiite militias — all of them acting as Iranian proxies.

Iran spent months training the Hamas terrorists. This is an Iranian war.

Dozens of American troops have already been injured by drone attacks in Syria.

Iran hates Israel because Israel’s very existence prevents the appearance of the 12th Imam. This is not a geo-political war. At its primary level, it is theological and religious.

The West cannot and will not ever acknowledge this since it is completely unequipped to fight a religious war.

So, the West will make pretend policies pretending solutions to pretend problems. More on that in a moment.

Iran is, of course, also hostile to America since America (the Great Satan) is Israel’s (the Little Satan) greatest defender.

The Obama Administration decided the best way to deal with the Iranians was to gently stroke them.

The Democrat Party have insisted, and still do, that if we are nice to the Iranians, the Iranians will come around.

It’s the classic delusion that our hostility is what makes the hostile guys hostile. If only we were less hostile, Iran’s inner good guy would emerge.

You might as well stroke a viper and sing it lullabies in the hope it will turn into a cooing baby.

All this has done has been to convince Iran that the US is weak.

President Obama and President Biden, but I repeat myself, decided they wanted to avoid war with Iran at all costs, even if that meant letting Iran develop a nuclear weapon.

America, they reason, could live with a nuclear-armed Iran. Hadn’t America lived with a Russian nuclear weapon since the 1940s? And a Chinese nuclear weapon. And a North Korean nuclear weapon?

What they have not understood — or perhaps what they have understood only too well but completely ignored — is that Iran is motivated by an apocalyptic religious vision of world events.

The Iranians are not rational actors, unless you subscribe to their religion, in which case they are terrifyingly rational.

Iran is more interested in advancing its agenda than in reaching a civilised agreement with the United States. They sense this might be their End of Days moment.


Meanwhile, China is stomping its way around the Pacific, a neighbourhood where the American military has failed to keep up. It’s a failure that has created a ticking time bomb we all hope and pray does not go off.

And, of course, we haven’t even mentioned Vladimir Putin causing havoc in Europe.

The years-long appeasement of Putin, combined with the gentle codling of Iran, along with the failure to match China’s military might in the Pacific, has combined to convince our enemies that the West is enfeebled. That, and they’ve been watching what our young people do on TikTok.

So a sleepy West has suddenly woken up in a very dark alley with three big guys who hate our guts, wondering how the hell we got here.

All three conflicts — in Ukraine, in the Pacific and in the Middle East — are linked.

A lack of resolve against Putin is seen by Xi Jinping as a green light in the Pacific and, in turn, sends encouragement to Iran.

Moreover, each of our enemies is happy to see the West’s attention and resources so spread out.

Russia has little in common with China, and neither has anything in common with Hamas. But it suits all of the parties to see America tied in knots.

War in the Middle East will send fuel prices soaring, weakening already weak European economies and thus helping Russia.

A US-Iran war means US resources, already deployed against Russia, will also need to be poured into the Middle East, leaving China to dominate the Pacific.

Both Putin and Xi Jinping have learned how to chant “Free, free Palestine”, and when necessary, they’re not above a little “Allahu Akbar” for good measure.

Kim Jong Un has not even begun.

Feeble Leaders

Western politicians know what is happening but are in complete denial, at least publicly.

Our political class cannot even bring themselves to acknowledge we have a problem with homegrown Islamists, let alone with an Axis of Malevolent Intent that puts us on the precipice of World War III.

No. It’s worse than that. Our political class pretend not to know what a woman is!

But you cannot mobilise a population who are unaware of the threat.

Western leaders need to trust citizens enough to be honest with them so that we can start to marshal the resources we need to defend ourselves.

The citizenry, still obsessed with a litany of luxury beliefs, needs to be scared into sobriety.

Leaders are supposed to lead. Instead, we have Sleepy Joe, Airbus Albo and the smooth-talking but so far all-talk Rishi Sunak.

Don’t get me started on the metrosexual prancing around Canada.

Any hopes that the next generation might be better, if we survive that long, are misplaced. They’ve been trained by this one and have spent their entire lives marinating in Marxism. Have you seen the state of our universities?

Western leaders need to tell people what is happening. They need to tell people why it is happening, and what we will do about it, and why it is important.

Albanese has just completed a Gough Whitlam reimagined tour of Chinese tourist spots. He stopped long enough to assure us all is well with the world before heading to the South Pacific for a spot of dancing and Climate Change hand-wringing.

He knows a storm is coming, but hopes the worst of it will fall to someone else to deal with.


We need Western politicians to explain that a storm is coming, and to reassure people that we can survive, provided we take the necessary steps.

The first step would be to seriously boost our defence forces. No more reviews of reviews pretending that a review is action. We desperately need to arm up.

The second step would be to deepen our relationship with our allies. Democratic nations must work more closely together than ever before.

The third step would be to abandon Net Zero in order to ensure we have cheap, abundant energy. If war breaks out, we will need it. And before war breaks out, we need to rebuild our manufacturing sector. You can’t shoot sunbeams. You need missiles. Maybe we should make some.

The fourth step would be for the government to work more collegially with the Liberal/National Party. We need our political class to admit we face real and dangerous threats and to be willing to work together in good faith for the good of the nation.

And, on that point, both Labor and the LNP should, as one, condemn the Greens as unfit for government and a danger to the country.

The fifth step would be to take business and sections of the media into their confidence. We need business to power up. We need the national broadcaster to stop spreading division and instead focus the nation on those things that will assist us in a storm.

Family, the Christian faith, national pride. Those three things would be a good start. And if the ABC cannot bring themselves to cheer for those three things, the ABC should at least be told to stop undermining those three things.

It’s our ABC, for God’s sake. We pay for it!

We’ve not yet mentioned the changing economy, which even our treasurer doesn’t seem to understand, as a source of massive instability.

What about rapidly evolving technology that is right now dramatically changing the way we live?

Should we talk about AI, which promises as much harm as it does benefit?

And what of the abandonment of social norms, the destruction of the nuclear family, the chaos of energy policy or changing work habits resulting from the pandemic?

Add to that mass migration on a scale the world has never before seen, and the enormous social upheaval that comes with it.

Any one of these things alone would create enormous upheaval and danger.

But together, they form a massive tinderbox that we find ourselves sitting upon, just in time for the bullets to start whizzing past our ears.

God save us from the end that William Butler Yeats saw:

Surely some revelation is at hand;
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


Originally published at The James Macpherson Report.

Subscribe to his Substack here for daily witty commentary.
Image: Freepik

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  1. Jim Twelves 14 November 2023 at 8:50 am - Reply

    James, what a ‘magnum opus’! You usually pen short pithy and witty satire, but this is an expose of the very heart of the beast! I pray that, above all, God will raise up leaders in the west with eyes to see and ears to hear what is actually going down.

    • Kim Beazley 14 November 2023 at 10:26 am - Reply

      It certainly is a “magnum opus”, but above your prayer, Jim, and it could even be said that it needs to be prior to that as a condition for those leaders to be raised up, is the need for revival in the Body of Christ.

  2. Kim Beazley 14 November 2023 at 10:22 am - Reply

    Such a brilliant article!

    For years I have believed the poem by W B Yeats, “The Second Coming”, which James quotes here, has a truly prophetic application. And James captures that brilliantly, tying it in to the “perfect storm” scenario he paints for us.

    But as I see it (although it’s not essential to his article), James has omitted the ultimate solution, which is the first two lines of the poem:

    “Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;”

    Of course, our world is the falcon in this context, and God is the falconer. The further we get from the falconer, the less we hear His instructions, the more our world goes awry. So the only solution is in the reversal of that “widening gyre”. the world needs to turn to Christ.

    That’s why revival is increasingly and desperately needed.

  3. Leonie Robson 14 November 2023 at 10:59 am - Reply

    A truly great article, thankyou James for your articulate and thought provoking summary of the past and present we have and are living in, and the future we dread in the natural for our children and grandchildren.
    Only Jesus.

  4. Barbara 15 November 2023 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    Brilliant article James

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