Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at 7:47 AM

Miraculous Rescue of 12 Boys and Soccer Coach from Thai Cave

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

President Trump’s supporters hail him as the disrupter in chief. And, given the chaos and conflicts that define his presidency, he seems hell-bent on pleasing them at every turn. This, not least by championing a form of Darwinian nationalism not seen since the days of the Thirty Years’ War … 1618-1648.

Only this explains his willful flouting of all democratic norms, reckless attempts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, clueless triggering of global trade wars, and (perhaps most concerning, if not suspicious) his selfish efforts to normalize US relations with Russia at the expense of relations with traditional allies like Canada and the EU.

But the Thai cave rescue that played out over the past 18 days vindicates the world order Trump is so recklessly disrupting. Because it not only involved rescuers from all over the world, but captured as much interest in Washington, Paris, and Canberra as it did in Brasilia, Brazzaville, and Bangkok.

More to the point, when news broke yesterday that this “mission impossible” was a complete success, the whole world enjoyed a moment of relief and normalcy from Trumpian distress and surreality, respectively.

All 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped for more than two weeks deep inside a flooded Thai cave have been rescued. …

British divers found the 13, hungry and huddled in darkness on a muddy bank in a partly flooded chamber several kilometres inside the complex, on Monday last week.

After pondering for days how to get the 13 out, a rescue operation was launched on Sunday when four of the boys were brought out, tethered to rescue divers.

(Reuters, July 10, 2018)

But let us not forget that a Thai navy seal died during this rescue effort. This indicates the danger the trapped and their rescuers faced.

That said, I would be remiss not to mention how the rescue of these 12 boys and their coach in Thailand harkens back to the rescue of 33 miners in Chile in 2010. The latter was equally riveting and, arguably, even more miraculous. After all, while these boys and their coach were trapped for 18 days, those miners were trapped for 69.

But here is the cautionary note I sounded back then in “Chilean Miners Rescued,” October 13, 2010.

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One wonders how long the camaraderie they enjoyed underground will last. Not least because reports are that they spent their final hours together squabbling over who would have the seemingly dubious honor of being the last to be rescued. And, contrary to most reports, the motive here was not heroic sacrifice, but a calculated desire to bask in the glory, and enjoy the rewards, that would come with being recognized as the man who spent the longest time buried alive.

But their camaraderie is bound to be tested when wives and family members begin exhorting each of them to grasp any media attention that might entail, or lead to, a financial windfall from, among other thing, appearances on talks shows, book deals, and product endorsements. It might have been all for one and one for all when they were trapped, but I suspect it’s going to be every man for himself now that they’re free. …

All the same, none of this should detract from the truly heartwarming and life-affirming story these men have all lived to tell.

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Sure enough, that rescue brought all of the media attention and infighting I warned about. I duly lamented in “Chilean Miners and the Spoils of Fame,” October 15, 2010. Alas, I fear it’s only a matter of time before this rescue brings forth same, including post-traumatic stress that could hamper the mental, physical and social development of many of these kids.

Nevertheless, there’s no denying the shot in the arm it provided. Indeed, the global effort this rescue entailed seemed what the doctor ordered to help us cope – politically, emotionally, and psychologically – with the global malady that is Trump’s wrecking ball of a presidency.

I fully appreciate how polarizing and combustible everything seems today. And there’s also no denying the damage Trump is doing to Western political institutions and military alliances.

But I remain convinced not only that the United States will survive him, but that the US-led world order, which has shepherded nearly 75 years of unprecedented peace and prosperity, will survive him too.

So enjoy this good news for all it’s worth. After all, Trump is on the move in Europe today, and wherever he goes reckless disruption follows, which invariably dominates media coverage worldwide.

Related commentaries:
Chilean miners
spoils of fame
Treasonous Trump

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