Wars: Can We
By Stephen Lendman
06 June, 2007
the end of WW II, Franklin Roosevelt met with Saudi King ibn Saud on
the USS Quincy. It began a six decade relationship guaranteeing US access
to what his State Department called a "stupendous source of strategic
power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history"
- the region's oil and huge amount of it in Saudi Arabia. Today, the
Middle East has two-thirds of the world's proved oil reserves (around
675 billion barrels) and the Caspian basin an estimated 270 billion
barrels more plus one-eighth of the world's natural gas reserves. It
explains a lot about why we're at war with Iraq and Afghanistan and
plan maintaining control over both countries. We want a permanent military
presence in them aimed at controlling both regions' proved energy reserves
with puppet regimes, masquerading as democracies, beholden to Washington
as client states. They're in place to observe what their ousted predecessors
ignored: the rules of imperial management, especially Rule One - we're
boss and what we sa goes.
The Bush administration is
"boss" writ large. It intends ruling the world by force, saying
so in its National Security Strategy (NSS) in 2002, then updated in
even stronger terms in 2006. It plainly states our newly claimed sovereign
right allowed no other country - the right to wage preventive wars against
perceived threats or any nations daring to challenge our status as lord
and master of the universe. Key to the strategy is controlling the world's
energy reserves starting with the Middle East and Central Asia's vast
amount outside Russia and China with enough military strength to control
their own, at least for now. These resources give us veto power over
which nations will or won't get them and assures Big Oil gets the lion's
share of the profits.
In Iraq, the new "Hydrocarbon
Law," if it passes the puppet parliament, is a shameless scheme
to rape and plunder the country's oil treasure. It's a blueprint for
privatization giving foreign investors (meaning US and UK mainly) a
bonanza of resources, leaving Iraqis a sliver for themselves. Its complex
provisions give the Iraqi National Oil Company exclusive control of
just 17 of the country's 80 known oil fields with all yet-to-be-discovered
deposits set aside for foreign investors. It's even worse with Big Oil
free to expropriate all earnings with no obligation to invest anything
in Iraq's economy, partner with Iraqi companies, hire local workers,
respect union rights, or share new technologies. Foreign investors would
be granted long-term contracts up to 35 years, dispossessing Iraq of
its own resources in a scheme to steal them.
That's what launched our
road to war in 1991 having nothing to do with Saddam threatening anyone.
It hasn't stopped since. The Bush (preventive war) Doctrine spelled
out our intentions in June, 2002. It then became NSS policy in September
getting us directly embroiled in the Middle East and Central Asia and
indirectly with proxy forces in countries like Somalia so other oil-rich
African nations (like Sudan) get the message either accede to our will
or you're next in the target queue.
With the world's energy supplies
finite, the US heavily dependent on imports, and "peak oil"
near or approaching, "security" for America means assuring
a sustainable supply of what we can't do without. It includes waging
wars to get it, protect it, and defend the maritime trade routes over
which it travels. That means energy's partnered with predatory New World
Order globalization, militarism, wars, ecological recklessness, and
now an extremist US administration willing to risk Armageddon for world
dominance. Central to its plan is first controlling essential resources
everywhere, at any cost, starting with oil and where most of it is located
in the Middle East and Central Asia.
The New "Great
Game" and Perils From It
The new "Great Game's"
begun, but this time the stakes are greater than ever as explained above.
The old one lasted nearly 100 years pitting the British empire against
Tsarist Russia when the issue wasn't oil. This time, it's the US with
help from Israel, Britain, the West, and satellite states like Japan,
South Korea and Taiwan challenging Russia and China with today's weapons
and technology on both sides making earlier ones look like toys. At
stake is more than oil. It's planet earth with survival of all life
on it issue number one twice over.
Resources and wars for them
means militarism is increasing, peace declining, and the planet's ability
to sustain life front and center, if anyone's paying attention. They'd
better be because beyond the point of no return, there's no second chance
the way Einstein explained after the atom was split. His famous quote
on future wars was : "I know not with what weapons World War III
will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."
Under a worst case scenario,
it's more dire than that. There may be nothing left but resilient beetles
and bacteria in the wake of a nuclear holocaust meaning even a new stone
age is way in the future, if at all. The threat is real and once nearly
happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis in October, 1962. We later
learned a miracle saved us at the 40th anniversary October, 2002 summit
meeting in Havana attended by the US and Russia along with host country
Cuba. For the first time, we were told how close we came to nuclear
Armageddon. Devastation was avoided only because Soviet submarine captain
Vasily Arkhipov countermanded his order to fire nuclear-tipped torpedos
when Russian submarines were attacked by US destroyers near Kennedy's
"quarantine" line. Had he done it, only our imagination can
speculate what might have followed and whether planet earth, or at least
a big part of it, would have survived.
Now we're back to square
one, but this time a rogue administration, with 19 months left in office,
marauds the earth endangering all life on it. It claims a unilateral
right in its Nuclear Policy Review of December, 2001 to use first strike
nuclear weapons as part of our "imperial grand strategy" to
rule the world through discretionary preventive wars against nations
we claim threaten our security, because we said so.
Orwell would love words like
"security" and "stability" meaning we're boss so
other countries better subordinate their interests to ours, or else.
To avoid misunderstandings, we spell it out further. The May, 2000 Joint
Vision 2020 claims a unilateral right to control all land, surface and
sub-surface sea, air, space, electromagnetic spectrum and information
systems. It gives us the right to use overwhelming force against any
nation challenging our dominance with all present and future weapons
in our arsenal including powerful nuclear ones.
Here's the danger. The Bush
administration effectively threw out the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT) over 180 nations are signatories to including the US. Under
NPT's Article VI, nuclear nations pledged to make "good faith"
efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons because having them heightens the
risk they'll be used endangering the planet. That doesn't concern Washington
now developing new ones, ignoring the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
It's no longer hampered by the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty either,
and it rescinded and subverted the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention.
In addition, it won't consider a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty preventing
additions to present stockpiles already way too high, and spends more
on its military than the rest of the world combined, plans big future
increases, and is unrestrained using the weapons it has.
As things now stand, that's
an agenda for disaster according to former NATO planner, Michael McGwire.
He thinks "a nuclear exchange is ultimately inevitable" by
intent, accident or because, sooner or later, terrorist/rogue groups
will get hold of nuclear weapons or materials and use them. Harvard
international relations specialist Graham Allison agrees in his 2004
book, "Nuclear Terrorism," saying "consensus in the national
security community (is that a) dirty bomb (attack is) inevitable,"
and/or one with nuclear bombs, unless all fissionable materials are
secured. At present they're not.
This raises the specter Noam
Chomsky developed in his 2003 book, "Hegemony or Survival."
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez admired it enough to hold it up during
his impassioned September, 2006 speech before the UN General Assembly.
In the book, Chomsky cited the work of Ernst Mayr he called "one
of the great figures of contemporary biology" who said human higher
intelligence is no guarantee of our survival. He noted beetles and bacteria
have been far more successful surviving than we're likely to be, especially
since "the average life expectancy of a species is about 100,000
years" or about how long we've been around.
Mayr feared we might use
our "alloted time" to destroy ourselves taking planetary life
with us. Chomsky observed we have the means to do it, may recklessly
try them out in real time, and if so, may become the only species ever
to deliberately make ourselves extinct. Chomsky went further in his
2006 book, "Failed States," addressing the three issues he
believes are of greatest concern - "the threat of nuclear war,
environmental disaster, and the fact that the government of the world's
only superpower is acting in ways that increase the likelihood of (causing)
these catastrophes" by its recklessness.
In the book, Chomsky raises
a fourth issue heightening the overall risk further. He wrote the "American
system" is in danger of losing its "historic values (of) equality,
liberty and meaningful democracy" because of the course it's on.
And in his newest book, "Interventions," he quotes Albert
Einstein and Bertrand Russell saying 50 years ago when waging nuclear
war was unthinkable under Dwight Eisenhower: "Here, then, is the
problem which we present to you, stark and dreadful and inescapable:
Shall we put an end to the human race, or shall mankind renounce war?"
Threat to Our Survival
Human activity has consequences
for the environment. It's been mostly negative in the face of technological
advances that should be as friendly to the earth as to the profits industrial
corporations get from them. Instead, the opposite is true because Wall
Street only cares about next quarter's bottom line, Washington wants
unchallengeable military dominance and the right to use it freely, and
threatening planetary life from wars or ecological havoc is someone
else's problem later on - provided there is one.
Jared Diamond, for one, studied
the way societies fail or survive in his 2005 book, "Collapse:
How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed," that hold lessons for
the planet overall. He says ecological devastation brought down earlier
failed ones citing one or more proximate causes:
-- deforestation and habitat
-- soil degradation through
erosion, salinization or fertility decline;
-- water management problems;
-- over-hunting and/or fishing;
-- over-population growth;
-- increased per capita impact
on the environment; and
-- the impact of exotic species
on native plant and animal ones.
In modern industrial states,
add to these contaminated air, water and soil from toxic chemicals,
biological agents and radioactive pollutants creating irremediable hazards
threatening human survival. And to these add the inexorable warming
of the earth's air and surface from fossil fuel burning greenhouse gas
-- arctic ice cap melting;
-- rising sea levels;
-- changed rainfall patterns;
-- increased frequency and
intensity of weather extremes like floods, droughts, killer heat waves,
wildfires, and hurricanes and cyclones.
-- a plague of infectious
-- water scarcity;
-- agricultural disruption
and loss of arable land;
-- as many as one-third of
plant and animal species extinct by 2050, according to some predictions;
-- increasing disease, displacement
and economic losses from natural calamities like hurricanes, other extreme
weather-related events, lowering of ocean pH, reductions in the ozone
layer, and the possible introduction of new phenomena unseen before
or never extreme enough to threaten human life or environmental sustainability
that will when we experience them.
Is global warming a threat
to the planet? The debate is over beyond increasing state-of-the-art
knowledge further. The scientific community is almost unanimous except
for outliers in it allied to the Bush administration, Big Oil or Big
Chemical willing to say anything if it pays enough. These fraudsters
spurn what scientific academies from all G-8 countries plus China, India
and Brazil acknowledged prior to the 2005 G-8 summit in Perthshire,
Scotland. Their alarming low-key statement read: "The scientific
understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify
prompt action. It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective
steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term
reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions."
The Bush administration's
failure to address what's now accepted as fact means America may one
day face the dark future Peter Tatchell wrote about last November in
the London Guardian after joining 20,000 protesters at a Saturday rally
in Britain's capital. They "call(ed) for urgent international action
to halt global warming" with Tatchell disturbed one million weren't
in the streets demanding it.
He painted a grim picture
of life in the UK with a glimpse of what's ahead for the US and other
nations, especially in coastal areas, if drastic remediable action isn't
undertaken soon. He began by calling "unchecked climate change....likely
to be a thousand times worse than the horrors of Iraq. By 2080, England
may no longer be green and pleasant. Instead, we'll probably be living
in a brown, sunburnt country (like the Australian outback or US desert
He described a scenario only
Hollywood filmmakers might conceive - scorching drought, unpredictable
semi-tropical downpours, flash floods with coastal cities waste-deep
in water, rising sea levels and tidal surges turning streets into canals
"with much of low-lying London becoming a British version of Venice,"
and all of London, Manchester and Liverpool frequently swamped by rising
sea levels and tidal surges. This is the England he sees in less than
eight decades unless global warming is stopped.
And that's just "phase
one" with a nastier "phase two" ahead in the 22nd century
- "a Siberian-style ice age blanketing Britain and all of Europe
for most of the year, with blizzards so strong and temperatures so low
that food production will almost cease and our economies will be just
a shadow of what they are today." Already we've had a foretaste,
he noted, with recent European heat waves killing thousands and many
more devastated by flash floods.
Tatchell continued saying
most climatologists predict a two to five degree average global temperature
increase by 2100 as things now stand. That will produce all the devastating
consequences listed above an island nation like Britain won't be able
to handle - loss of "low-lying coastal and river estuary regions"
shrinking and changing the country's geography permanently and harming
inland areas as well.
He noted researchers at the
government's Office of Science and Technology believe "catastrophic
mega floods," having the negative economic impact of a major war,
can be expected over the next two decades, and "lower-level floods
will become routine causing around ($40 billion in) damage annually."
Regular flooding in a country Britain's size "could put two million
houses and five to six million people at constant risk" making
homes uninsurable and unsellable "causing a cataclysmic melt-down
in house prices" in flood-prone regions and a "corresponding
astronomical rise in house prices" in secure areas.
Further, millions of flooded
out refugees will have to leave unusable homes behind. With no ability
to pay for new accommodations, they'll need government help to get by.
And businesses, too, will suffer. Many will have to relocate to safer
areas at great cost meaning job losses will follow making things even
worse. Power generating plants will be hit as well including coastal
nuclear reactors with potential calamitous risks from that possibility
Tatchell continued with much
more painting an overall picture so dire, Britain no longer will be
a fit place to live in. But bad as that prospect is, poorer countries
around the world will fare even worse. One billion people in river delta
areas (the rice bowl parts of the countries) of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh,
Indonesia, Vietnam, and China will see their land disappear under rising
sea water causing a catastrophic drop in essential food production unlikely
able to be made up.
Sometime around 2100, forests
will have died, plankton will be gone by rising sea temperatures, and
"these two important 'carbon sinks' will no longer be able to absorb
dioxide emissions. (In addition, higher) sea temperatures will also
release....vast amounts of methane....trapped in the world's oceans....sending
temperatures soaring." Further, the disappearance of polar ice
caps will raise sea levels at least five meters removing vast areas
of the earth's land mass.
Now, imagine how much worse
things may be in the US, facing future hazards this great, with a land
mass 39 times greater than Britain and a population five times the size.
Democrat and Republican leaders ignore the threat meaning manana is
someone else's problem.
A day of reckoning may be
approaching faster than earlier thought based on information Environment
Editor Geoffrey Lean wrote June 3 in the London Independent. His article
is titled "Global Warming 'Is (accelerating) Three Times Faster
Than Worst Predictions' " according to new "starting, authoritative
studies." One of them by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
shows CO2 emissions increasing 3% a year now compared to 1.1% in the
1990s. It's causing seas rising twice as rapidly and Arctic ice cap
melting three times faster than previously believed.
The NAS report is even grimmer
than this year's "massive reports" and worst case scenario
by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggesting their
forecasts of "devastating harvests, dwindling water supplies, melting
ice and loss of species (likely understate) the threat facing the world."
Another study by the University of California's National Snow and Ice
Data Center shows "Arctic ice has declined by 7.8 per cent a decade
over the past 50 years, compared with an average estimate by IPCC computer
models of 2.5 per cent."
Sum it up everywhere, underscored
by these most recent findings, and it spells apocalypse made worse with
many governments having to rule by decree to control chaos and disorder.
It means democracy, civil liberties, human rights and most essential
amenities are out the window in tomorrow's world sounding more like
Dante's hell on earth because today we didn't care enough to prevent
it. Moreover, it's wishful thinking imagining new technologies will
emerge solving everything. Nor will market-based economies where profits
trump common sense. How could they ever improve in the future what they've
only worsened up to now.
Change cuts both ways though,
and despite the apocalyptic title of his book, "Collapse,"
Jared Diamond notes his sub-title is "How Societies Choose to Succeed
or Fail" saying that better states his sense of things. Ending
an interview published in the spring, 2005 issue of New Perspectives
Quarterly, he says "We are in a horse race between the forces of
destruction and....a solution. It is an exponentially accelerating race
of unknown outcome (with his gut feeling being) it is up for grabs."
He continues saying we have a "fighting chance" to solve a
"crisis of unsustainability....if we choose to do so (but) It will
be fatal to our civilization, or near fatal, if we don't."
Nuclear Power Is
Not the Solution
In the interview cited above,
Diamond doesn't address nuclear power, but he did in a July, 2005 public
lecture in San Francisco. Mark Hertsgaard featured his comments in his
August 12, 2005 Tom Paine.com and Common Dreams.org articles titled
"Nukes Aren't Green." Diamond surprised his audience saying
global warming is so grave "we need everything available to us,
including nuclear power" to deal with it, disagreeing with most
environmentalists believing otherwise and then some.
Nuclear power won't solve,
or even alleviate global warming, according to Helen Caldicott in her
important 2006 book, "Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer." That's
aside from the catastrophic consequences from commercial reactor malfunction-caused
meltdowns, terror attacks on them with the same result, or fissionable
material falling into the wrong hands and used against us. Caldicott
explained, contrary to government and industry propaganda, nuclear power
generation discharges significant greenhouse gas emissions plus hundreds
of thousands of curies of deadly radioactive gases and other radioactive
elements into the environment every year.
The 103 US nuclear power
plants are also sitting ducks to retaliatory terror attacks experts
say will happen sooner or later. It means if one of Chicago's 11 operating
commercial reactors melts down from malfunction or attack, and the city
is downwind from the fallout, the entire area will become uninhabitable
forever and would have to be evacuated quickly with all possessions,
including homes, left behind and lost.
Caldicott explains much more
noting commercial plants are atom bomb factories. A 1000 megawatt reactor
produces 500 pounds of plutonium annually while only 10 pounds of this
most toxic of all substances are needed for a bomb powerful enough to
devastate a large city. She also exposes the myth that nuclear energy
is "cleaner and greener." Although commercial reactors emit
no carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary greenhouse gas causing global warming,
they require a vast infrastructure, called the nuclear fuel cycle, which
uses huge and rapidly growing amounts of fossil fuels. Each stage in
the cycle adds to the problem starting with the largest and unavoidable
energy needed to mine and mill uranium fuel needing fossil fuel to do
it. Then there are the tail millings and what to do with them. They
require great amounts of greenhouse-emitting fossil fuels to remediate.
Other steps in the nuclear
fuel cycle also depend on fossil fuels including the conversion of uranium
to hexafluoride gas prior to enrichment, the enrichment process, and
the conversion of enriched uranium hexafluoride gas to fuel pellets.
Then there's nuclear plant construction, dismantling and cleanup at
the end of their useful life, and all this requires huge amounts of
energy. So does contaminated water cooling reactors, and the enormous
problem of radioactive nuclear waste handling, transportation and disposal/storage.
In sum, nuclear power isn't the solution to global warming or anything
else. Its risky technology plays nuclear Russian roulette with planet
earth betting against long odds where losing means losing everything.
If that's not bad enough,
Caldicott shows how much worse it is summarized briefly below:
-- the economics of nuclear
power don't add up for an expensive technology, aside from the risks
involved, the pollution generated, and the cost of insuring commercial
plants needing billions in government subsidies private insurers won't
-- the toll on human health
to uranium miners, nuclear industry workers and potentially everyone
living close to reactors including those downwind from them.
-- accidental or terrorist-induced
nuclear core meltdowns, already addressed, in one or more of the 438
operating plants in 33 countries worldwide and huge numbers of new ones
under construction or planned increasing the danger further.
-- nuclear waste storage
that in the US will be Yucca Mountain known to be unsafe as it's located
in an active earthquake zone unable to assure no leakage or seepage
will occur for the 500,000 years needed to guarantee safety.
-- Newer planned so-called
Generation III, III + and Generation IV reactor designs even more dangerous
than earlier ones now in operation with plans to build hundreds of them
worldwide despite the safety risk.
-- the unacceptable madness
of nuclear weapons proliferation assuring eventually a rogue nation
or group will have enough fissionable material for a crude bomb and
will use it with devastating consequences.
-- the unacceptable threat
of nuclear war causing nuclear winter ending all life on the planet
if it happens.
In light of Caldicott's convincing
case, the solution seems clear for friends of the earth and everyone
else. Western and allied major nations need a cooperative joint "Manhattan-type
Project" to develop safe, non-nuclear, non-greenhouse gas emitting,
alternative energy sources replacing ones now used harming the planet
and threatening our survival. In addition, conservation must be emphasized
and wasteful western lifestyles must change voluntarily or by law because
there's no other choice.
This article addresses reckless
living unmindful of the consequences. It's about endless wars and resources
they're waged for. It's about gaining control of what we can't do without,
but must learn to, or we'll risk losing far more, including the planet's
ability to sustain life. If we reach that point, it won't matter except
to resilient beetles and bacteria free at last from us. Instead of being
an asset, superior human intelligence has us on the brink of our own
self-destruction. It proves Ernst Mayr right saying greater brain power
won't guarantee our survival even though it may have helped him live
100 years till 2005.
The human species teeters
on the edge putting excess personal gratification and living for today
ahead of the long-term consequences of bad behavior. That assures one
day Nixon and Ford Council of Economic Advisors chairman Herb Stein's
maxim will bite us. Back then, he noted "Things that can't go on
forever, don't." He meant bad economic policy, but his comment
applies to all excesses, especially the worst ones, and what's worse
than endless wars, the threat of nuclear ones, and the sure threat ecological
havoc will destroy us if nuclear war doesn't do it first.
We know this and can explain
it in precise, sensible, scientific terms, but what good does it do
when we won't heed our own advice. The privileged are rolling in good
times, but look at the problem this way. We're all at Cinderella's ball
and have till midnight to leave or turn into pumpkins losing everything.
At this ball, clocks have no hands, so guessing right plays Russian
roulette with planet earth. This article asks: can we survive our resource
wars? The answer is only if we stop waging them and start using our
superior intelligence to protect the earth, not destroy it as we're
lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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