The issues pulling continents, countries and capitals apart thus appear to be growing, enduring, and, indeed, perhaps insoluble.
When the wildfires of California broke out across the Golden State, many were the causes given.
Negligence by campers. Falling power lines. Arson. A dried-out land. Climate change. Failure to manage forests, prune trees and clear debris, leaving fuel for blazes ignited. Abnormally high winds spreading the flames. Too many fires for first responders to handle.
So, too, there appears to be a multiplicity of causes igniting and fueling the protests and riots sweeping capital cities across our world.
The year-long yellow vest protests in Paris, set off by fuel price hikes that were swiftly rescinded, seemed to grind down this weekend to several thousand anarchic and violent die-hards.
The riots in Chile were started to oppose a small hike in train and subway fares in a country with the highest per capita income and least inequality in all of Latin America. Yet the protesters have succeeded in forcing the elected government to capitulate and write a new constitution.
Bolivia’s uprising was over an election stolen by longtime president Evo Morales, who fled to Mexico to be welcomed by the foreign minister.
Among the issues dividing Bolivians are economic inequality and tribalism — indigenous peoples living alongside a European-descended elite.
In Hong Kong, where protesters appear to be making a last stand in the city’s universities, the cause that first united them was a proposal to allow the city’s citizens to be extradited to China for trial.
While that proposal was withdrawn, the rioting has continued for half a year and now involves Molotov cocktails, slingshots, bows and arrows, and catapults to hurl bricks at police.
The latest demands include investigating and punishing police for excessive force, restoration of all liberties and freedoms Hong Kong enjoyed in the last years of British rule, and the right to elect their own leaders.
If Hong Kong can resist mighty China for half a year, imagine what Taiwan, with three times Hong Kong’s population, significant military forces, and 100 miles of water between the island and mainland, could do to resist the rule of the Party of Xi Jinping.