A Russian ship with more than 50 passengers from different countries gets stuck in ice on an Antarctic expedition. An Australian ship and a French ship rush to its rescue but both find the ice too thick. Then a Chinese ice breaker joins the rescue mission. Finally a Chinese helicopter rescues the passengers, but the Chinese vessel runs into trouble. The United States then dispatches an ice cutter to help them. Luckily the ice melted soon enough for all ships to break free and solve the crisis.
Seldom do we see international co-operation to solve a problem on this scale. It was almost like a Utopian world rooted in friendship and understanding.
The International Space Station is another example of different nations joining hands to benefit everyone. Russia and the US, despite none-too-cosy ties right now, have no problems when it comes to helping each other on space station matters.
For years, scientists of various nationalities worked from the space station, depending entirely on Russian rockets for supplies. Private firms based in the US now share this burden with Russia.
Despite a shortage of funding, Nasa has earmarked a few more millions to support the station for another four years.
But reaching out to others and helping them seem to happen only when problems arise in lonely and remote places. Then the people put their heads together and strive for a solution. Meanwhile, a civil war in the Middle East or Africa goes on for years with thousands getting killed, but we go on haggling about how to stop it. Hunger and disease kills millions every year but we are yet to find a way to end these crises.
Here is a plan we could try. Get a few world leaders together and send them up to the space station. In the weightlessness of space, maybe they could talk to each other more frankly without getting weighed down by their egos. Who knows, they may well come back with some out-of-this-world solutions.
There are some leaders, though, who are beyond such hopes. They would rather make their political points even when a country is facing a disaster.
We can assign them to the Mars One mission to go and colonise the red planet and give each of them the one-way ticket the organisers are offering.