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America vs. The World

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart. — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The hotter they fall

I’ve never been much of an environmentalist, but recent developments have definitely made me wonder what the fuck is going on.

For a few years now, it seems to have become an accepted fact that global temperatures are rising; the only debate has been over whether this issue is man-made or naturally occurring, and how quickly it’s happening.

Then in February, I skimmed over the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that concluded “it is very likely that human activities are causing global warming.” (The only real controversy this report evoked was that they settled for 90% likelihood, while most respected scientists on the panel were pushing to declare 95% likelihood or more.)

Then earlier this week, a group of retired American generals and admirals delivered a concerned report that stating that global warming could provoke serious national security threats. These generals recommend that climate change should be integrated into national security strategies, and that the US should “vow to help stabilize climate changes at levels that will avoid significant disruption to global security and stability.”

More recently, the US Council on Foreign Relations presented its case to the House or Representatives. Council President Richard Haass, who originally worked as a national security director for Bush Senior and has been a close friend of Colin Powell, led his case with this statement:

Should climate change be treated as a national security matter? The short and clear answer is “yes.” Countries are unlikely to go to war over levels of greenhouse gas emissions, but they may well go to war over the results of climate change, including water shortages and large-scale human migration. Climate change, by contributing to disease, extreme weather, challenges from insects that attack both food production and people, water shortages, and the loss of arable land, will also contribute to state failure, which in turn provides opportunities for activities such as terrorism, illegal drugs, and slavery that exploit “sovereignty deficits.”

And then just yesterday, the British Foreign Secretary took the issue of climate change to the UN Security Council. "The Security Council is the forum to discuss issues that threaten the peace and security of the international community. What makes wars start? Fights over water. Changing patterns of rainfall. Fights over food production, land use," she said. This is the first time the Council has discussed global warming; fifty bucks says it won’t be the last.

But wait a sec…isn’t all this global warming mumbo-jumbo just a bunch of hippie bullshit? Of course it is. After all, the only people talking about it are tree-hugging pinko leftists—you know, extreme liberals like a respected panel of scientists, a collection of retired military leaders, a former Bush security advisor and the United Nations Security Council. Sounds like Woodstock to me.

I don’t bring this up because I’m a die-hard environmentalist. I’m not. I don’t even recycle much. But maybe it really is time to step up the urgency on this issue. This may even be the big opportunity that flings America back to the forefront of global struggle the world is begging it to fight, all under the pretext of complementing the global struggle we’re currently fighting.

In fact, Bush can use this as a great way to get some of his popularity back, internationally and at home. He has a chance to “steal” the environment issue from liberals on the basis of global security. In the end, it could be a legacy that saves millions of lives and made the world love America again, but for the right reasons: leadership, technology, morality.

Somebody buy Cheney a Prius already.
Jeff Goldstein is a wanker.