Trying to understand the news of this terrible summer, it is hard to come away with any feeling but that we are in the midst of a world gone mad.
On one side of the world, an ego-driven Russian leader seems to yearn for the time of the czars, when rulers started wars on a whim or a perceived insult -- and if people died, so be it.
In the Middle East, the Palestinian people find themselves in the grip of a terrorist group that has embarked on a strategy to get its own children killed in order to build sympathy for its cause -- a strategy that might actually be working, at least in some quarters.
Last week, I found a quote of many years ago by Golda Meir, one of Israel's early leaders, which might have been said yesterday.
"We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children," she said. "But we can never forgive them for forcing us to kill their children."
In a world gone mad, what is to be learned? Perhaps we should start by remembering what historian Will Durant once said:
"Barbarism, like the jungle, does not die out, but only retreats behind the barriers that civilization has thrown up against it, and waits there always to reclaim that to which civilization has temporarily laid claim."