That's where two rivers or streams flow together. A confluence is often known for its turbidity and, according to chaos theory, the effects of two rivers flowing together can be orders of magnitude larger than you'd expect.
Two things in the news made me think of the above.
The first was North Korea's continued and - perhaps more serious - saber rattling. While the news was all abuzz about a missile test and large holes being dug, perhaps in preparation for an underground nuclear device test, there was little substance. There wasn't much "news" in the news. Nothing much was said about the missile being a short range variety that could only carry a relatively advanced (light-weight) nuclear weapon. And there were only scattered inferences that perhaps the North Koreans were only posturing with their big dig.
The second was this article about the Army and the Marines missing their recruiting goals for the third and fourth months in a row, respectively.
While worrisome on its own, the North Korea situation seems even more ominous in light of the military having trouble with keeping manpower levels up. Despite repeated assurances from BushCo. officials, it's generally accepted that the military is stretched mighty thin around the world and may not be able to handle another crisis (N. Korea) well.
Here's where chaos theory comes in. What happens at the confluence of these two events? Will Kim Jung Il be "emboldened" by our military's preoccupation and staffing problems? Will BushCo. use Iraq, Afghanistan and North Korea as an excuse to finally implement a draft (limited or universal)? Will the military let itself be distracted by multiple missions and staffing problems and allow the situation in the Middle East to spiral out of control?
From our vantage point, just before entering the whirlpool at the confluence of these large-scale world events, it's difficult to say where we might end up. But the roar of the water is thundering, the spray is blinding, and I've sure got a bad feeling about this...