Do you believe the old saying that history is destined to repeat itself?

In a Wall Street Journal article, written by David Shribman, he contends that the year 1917 changed the world and set into motion the major geopolitical difficulties we are experiencing today. Let’s take a look at what happened 100 years ago, that paved the road leading to today’s geopolitical situations.

The United States entered WWI. Up to that point, our country’s position was basically: What happens in Europe, stays in Europe. The U.S. had always refrained from participation in or interference with the problems across the Atlantic. This dramatically changed how the U.S. would conduct foreign policy globally. The isolationist policy in place since the days of the founding fathers was gone. The justification then, as now, is that it’s better to fight the enemy abroad before the fight is brought to our shores. Thus, in the hundred years since; that decision led us to become a global power.

In Russia, the Tsar, ruler of the Russian people for centuries, was overthrown. Vladimir Lenin took power and the ripples from his socialistic policies rippled throughout Europe. Then, Leon Trotsky revealed to the world secret treaties between the Tsar and the European Allies during the war and that Lenin urged a controversial separate peace with Germany, causing Russia’s standing with foreign nations to be so severely damaged, the ramifications remain today.

And, the Balfour Declaration was drafted in 1917, which set forth the British Government’s view that, in Palestine, a national home for the Jewish people should be established. It also included the rights of the non-Jews living in Palestine. The Palestinian Jews accepted this concept. It wasn’t until 1948, when the international community declared Israel to be a democratic, Jewish nation and the surrounding Arab nations waged war, that the hostilities, which continue today, began.

Shribman summed up his article, “And so the world as we know it today began a century ago.”

Whether you agree with him or not, no one can argue with the fact that 100 years ago, events certainly helped shape our world today.

If you believe that history does indeed repeat itself, perhaps this new year, 100 years after the events of 1917, could once again herald significant changes. These changes could constitute yet another realigning of the world. A realigning based on respect and compassion, on the rights of others and the quest for peace and the hope for the betterment of all of mankind.

Of course, only time will tell how we handle the challenges confronting our world today. Wouldn’t it be grand if what historians see is a world that, in 2017, began to look to new ways to deal with problems? Instead of wars and power plays, common sense and reason prevailed; a time when compromise and reconciliation became standard operating procedure.

Pretty “Pollyanna” of me, I know. But what is the point of looking to the future if not to gaze at the possibilities?

Wendy J. Levenfeld is a published novelist, playwright and columnist. Send comments to Visit Wendy’s website at

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