U.S. wealth is built on two things at the moment – the willingness of the world to finance its debts (and thus it wars) and its ability to militarily control the resources or the nations that own the resources and the elites within the nations that up to now at least feared/respected/fawned upon U.S. imperial strength. The rise of the BRIC nations creates huge demands for resources and is creating new liaisons of commerce and trade around the old structures of the U.S., most importantly the declining status of the IMF, World Bank and the WTO. In order for the U.S. to try and maintain the course of the ship of state, it retains its traditional military belligerence, preferring occupation, hostility, covert actions, threats, torture and assassinations to negotiations and productive dialogue – again at odds with the platitudes and rhetoric emanating from Obama’s Washington, not much different from Bush’s or Clinton’s or all the other Washingtons.
Thus, while declining in prestige and limited by asymmetrical power, the U.S. clings to its military horizons in the Middle East, clings to its ephemeral mirages of peace talks between Israel and Palestine, continues to blame the Middle East for problems created by years of colonial exploitation and colonial resource extraction, blind in its vision of itself as the ‘light on the hill’ that will save all of mankind. It is too blind, too wayward, too uncaring and thoughtless as it pursues its own elitist and narcissistic course.
These resource wars, and the accompanying end run negotiations between various trading partners that now deny the U.S. even observer status in their interactions, accompany the economic decline of the U.S. as economic pundits wait with unknowing anticipation to see if and or when the U.S. loses control of its currency to another reserve currency or system of currencies. Amongst all this, the environment is – literally – laid to waste.
Except for the committed scientists and the informed members of the public, the environment remains of little import to the elite powers. Perhaps it is an attitude that everything will sort itself in the end with the elites remaining at the top of the heap while the poor and downtrodden suffer and wither under whatever global climate change chooses to bring to bear upon us. Or it is simply ignorance, disbelief, a state of suspended animation, while we all cruise along on our consumptive journey, not wishing to contemplate the worst that can happen. Or perhaps the worst that can happen, especially in the short term, is more war, death and destruction as the new plurality of powers manipulate in whatever fashion to regain/maintain their order within the hierarchy of nations.
War of course creates one of the worst environments in which to live, during and after. Civilians suffer the most, and children the most among them. The after effects of Fallujah are now coming to the fore, with stories of increased cancer rates and birth defects, similar to the effects that have been recorded in Vietnam after the use of Agent Orange, and in Japan after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Certainly people affected by this will not worry themselves too much about either the near or distant future.
I expect little if anything from Copenhagen, little if anything from either the U.S. or China or other states wishing to continue to ride along on the current bearing of rising economic wealth. It would prove too costly to our current economic system to do anything realistic to limit climate change (change is already happening, limitations are all that can be expected at best), and would disrupt the comfortable lives of the elites if they had to allow political power to devolve towards the people, creating a true democracy that might and probably would choose a less consumptive egotistical lifestyle ( and therefore less militarily oriented) in order to allay some of the worst effects of climate change.
Globalization and solutions
Another term that is not working out as its supporters intended to. Instead of a MacDonalds in every country preventing war through hamburgers, instead of a flat planet with equal opportunity for all, instead of everyone rising on the tide of continued growth and emerging democracy, all of course based on U.S. standards and ideals, instead of all that, the world is witnessing the decline of U.S. power and the rise of the BRIC powers. The U.S. remains belligerent, it remains within the thrall of Israeli prophecy, it continues to blindly believe its own disproven rhetoric wherein its actions have all too frequently fully contradicted the rhetoric used to make excuses to its own citizens as to why it needs to invade and occupy half the world in order to create democracy and freedom.
There are solutions, to me so obvious that I am not going to reiterate them here at this time. It is not the solutions that are so problematic, but rather the inculcated beliefs of supremacy and righteousness that are so difficult to overcome. And that is where reviewing books and writing critiques and commentaries retains its value.
It is to advocate against the atrocities that the elitist powers hold on to. It is to highlight and recognize that all our current problems – climate change, wars, the economy – are all part and parcel of one large problem – the need for a paradigm shift in the manner in which humanity approaches its lifestyle demands on a finite planet, a paradigm shift in the manner in which a much broader, much longer, much more self effacing view of life is needed in order to plan for a sustainable future that should look quite a bit different than the future that more wars, more occupations, more greed, and unbridled debt-ridden consumptive living would bring to the world.