But Asia isn't the only continent full of ominous Bond-villain activity. The signs are there if you know where to look, and almost any given news story plays out like the opening to a recent Daniel Craig film. As jihadists gallop through the desert on horseback, it's unclear who might be carrying nukes beneath their turbans. Iran has these weapons. The DPRK has them also. Hell, half of the old Soviet Union had nukes before the USSR collapsed, and I seriously doubt that even today, all of those bombs have been accounted for. Netanyahu won reelection vowing to never support a Palestine state, making Iranian spin its centrifuges that much faster. I used to scoff at the idea of a Third World War, but our planet is glowing with an increasing number of frightening tinderboxes, and a careless decision is far more likely to happen in a small regional conflict than within a traditional power. But even if it's far away, any nuclear event is dangerous. The world's economy would destabilize, despots would escalate regional claims of territory, and worse of all there's always the chance that a large country would flex its muscle - invading Taiwan, or the remaining Ukraine. Kinda' makes one nostalgic for Goldfinger's Fort Knox Bomb that looked like a Mouse Trap game, doesn't it?
Like Doctor Evil demanding a million dollars, the leaders of ISIS have been insisting the world convert to Islam, otherwise heads will - quite literally - roll. The same holds true for the Iranian Imams: let's wipe Israel off the map, like Moonraker's Drax plot to kill humanity. Putin is obviously "Kronsteen" from From Russia With Love, and China is like any given Asian mafia from any number of Connery, Moore, and Pierce Brosnan films. Everyone is rattling their sabers. Everyone is threatening disaster, like "Charles Dreyfus" from The Pink Panther movies. But what's really frightening is that these comedic Bond villains might have teeth, and as technology progresses, so does the opportunity for causing real damage.
But North Korea is the ultimate tinderbox. It's isolated, a stain in the world with a free-flow of information, and it's people have been trained to worship the Kims in the same way that Catholics are conditioned to accept the word of God - with shame as the punishment, for anyone who thinks otherwise. In the Hermit Kingdom, the Kims are publicly revered as Gods - and the state, like Orwell's 1984, is considered more important than happiness, marriage, family - or love. All eyes look towards the Great Leader. And that Great Leader is the scariest Bond villain ever.
So, what happens now? What would "Frank Underwood" do? Netflix's House of Cards addressed Vladimir Putin's war on gay people quite comically, but it failed to touch the larger issues - the tinder-boxes that have the potential do disrupt our daily lives...even our ability to watch House of Cards on Netflix.
Typically, I'd rattle off on our place in the "galactic community" - another cause/passion of mine - disclosure, something I genuinely believe I'll see in my lifetime. But as it stands right now, I can't help but be worried. I fear that it will take some terrible event - some idiot detonating an EMP, or some outdated Bond villain clinging to the past and scaring the hell out of everyone. Humanity is so...close. And at the risk of sounding like a hippie, we need to learn to live with each other, and to work together - as a species, as a planet - to prepare for the next stage of human existence. But we have to extinguish those tinderboxes before the next stage happens. Anyone up for David Hyde Pierce as the next James Bond?
Or Hillary as the next Spectre villain?