Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

It takes two! The West's policy reviewed

The panting fox paused. Perched atop the crest of the hill he could see for a country mile. Down below, in the trough of the glen there was movement. Two creatures traipsed in succession along the solitary trail. One was white; the other wore black with stripes. Both were about the same size; varmints ready for consumption. He could not believe his luck! There was a problem though.

Even stealth was of no avail

Being upwind meant his presence and location may have already been disclosed to the unsuspecting meandering pair. Even stealth was of no avail. Having not eaten for days, he needed to take the risk. In order to close the gap the fox decided to move in short spurts but still remain within striking distance.  It would be a while before he could sneak in for the ambush and the kill; perhaps he would bag two kills. All that would wait until he was on level ground: the killing floor.

Just a juvenile, the hare reveled in his energetic youth.  Forever sprinting ahead, though often zigzagging in spirited bursts, now he slowed his pace. Between hops, he would stop, and nibble a bunch; sometimes it was blades of grass; other times he broke from the path to forage for shrubs. Yet he was bothered.

When the skunk caught up, it was time. Now he broached the important subject: survival. "You know you are being tracked? A week ago, I spotted a fox in this neck of woods. He is wily; hunts here steady year round; his presence has been known since I was born." The skunk paid him no bother. He was busy. Sniffing was not only arduous work but it was done out of necessity.

Along the route, the juicy grubs burrowed themselves deeper vis‐à‐vis the dried ones which the surface dusk revealed. He did not have time to spare; nightfall already descended on the horizon. The hare grew impatient. This time he got in the skunk's personal space. His persistence worked. It prompted a response. "Have you nothing better to do? Can you not see that I am working? Yes, that old fox has been haranguing me for a while.

The secret missiles are locked and loaded

However, I am prepared. The secret missiles are locked and loaded. Any more questions?" The hare persisted. He was compelled to reveal the truth; his conscience demanded that he warn what might lay ahead. "A tired and hungry fox soon becomes a vicious predator. He will pinch his nose. Then like lighting, he will strike your neck. You will not have time to squat, lift your backside and then launch your stench bombs.  

There is another way; a plan to thwart his killer instincts. Hear me out."

The skunk thought about that.  If for no other reason, this one time he allowed himself to be cajoled. "Come on..." "When the fox shows himself, jump down that rabbit hole just ahead. You go first; back in; then me. The fox will flank us; maneuver around behind the mound. He will find the 'escape' hole; come down that way. When hear you him borrowing closer; bombs away! I will exit; scamper to the back; roll one stone in place. In turn you exit the front. Together, we roll and seal that entrance with another stone; nabbed ourselves a real nuisance!"

As much as he hated to admit it, the skunk deferred to the hare brained plan; but not before he posed some serious questions. "Why should I trust you? Will your plan work?" The hare's rejoinder met the litmus test. "See that other mound? Notice the stone at the front... Got a better idea? Time is short."

There are lessons to be learned here; valuable ones that apply to foreign or international relations. The fox represents any threat or menace; could be ISIS, crime syndicates or enemies within the gates. The West today led astray by America and its vassal NATO states is a dead ringer for the skunk's erratic behavior: having a false sense of security bred from much hubris.

Rather than going it alone, the West needs to stop, take a deep breath and listen to an experienced and willing partner in the fight against terrorism, like Russia, the intelligent hare in the story. It takes two! Not to tangle but rather to co‐operate on a plenary level. Inclusion rather than exclusion in a multi‐polar world is mankind's only viable option for a future.

Montresor