[Marxism] The Apocalypse according to the Pentagon: Is it just about global warming?

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Feb 22 08:11:16 MST 2004

The Pentagon informs us, according to the newspaper summary:

"Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global
costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..
A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The 
Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising
as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear
mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the

I am not a scientist, and I do not exclude that everything being said
here about the fairly short-term effects of global warming may be true.
The point of qualitative change -- more accurately, another and much
more serious point of qualitative change -- in environmental
deterioration may well be upon us.  

But I suspect that the short term catastrophism of the Pentagon team's
predictions about the consequences of global warming have some other
sources.  One is the problem of getting through to the President of the
United States. I suspect that some believe that the best way to convince
him that global warming is a crisis that can't be ignored is to use the
language of Apocalypse and present global warming as the Antichrist. 

This sentence also caught me: "Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine
and widespread rioting will erupt across the world."  What strikes me is
that all these trends exist in the world today, independently of the
tendency to global warming.  We clearly entered into an age of growing
conflict on all continents, including a US drive for qualitatively
strengthened world hegemony, in the '90s.  The first European war since
World War II took place.  Hunger and drought are spreading through the
devastation of peasant agriculture, imperialist economic policies,
declining prices for natgural resources and so on.  Wars over oil,
territory, and other resources are already spreading. Misery is driving
Latin America to revolt.  The possibility of nuclear conflicts is on the
rise and there is no reason to believe that the spread of nuclear
weapons will be halted by the Iraq war. Quite the contrary, and not just
in the long run.  The military-economic war against and occupation of
Iraq, powered by the US drive for a new level of world hegemony, brought
Iraq from a comparatively stable -- from capitalist and imperialist
standpoint -- economic and political stability to economic ruin, social
disruption, and widespread political unrest.

Isn't hunger already on the rise, including in the United States?  Isn't
the fight for valuable and relatively scarce resources rising? Isn't the
threat of nuclear conflict increasing? Haven't many semicolonial
countries -- Liberia, Somalia, Congo, Guinea, Ivory Coast, East Timor,
and others experienced something like collapse and disintegration?
Isn't Haiti in danger of  the same fate?  Isn't the danger of nuclear
war on the rise?  Hasn't the drive to impose US hegemony, which the
rulers tell themselves is to bring order to the world, deepened all
these crises and increased the disorder?  To date, have all these
phenomena been powered primarily by global warming or by other forces?

I also think the Pentagon is also experiencing a substantial morale
crisis of its own.  While the US has not been forced out of Iraq yet --
we have a  ways to go on that -- the outcome has been a huge blow to the
prospects of a "New American Century," a "pax Americana," a world order
imposed by US arms (and cash).  The Pentagon, which knows the facts on
the ground about Iraq, better than any other sector of the government
(and cannot even tell the President all that it knows, for fear of
losing their posts), is mired deeply in this failure of US hegemony.
And I doubt that jollying or squeezing the UN and France and Germany
into the mire will bring order and stability much closer.  Saudi Arabia,
which was supposed to be stabilized by the war, continues to drift
toward a political upheaval.  Iran appears to be getting stronger in the
region, not weaker.  Turkey is less reliable as an ally, and has become
more part of the Middle East and less part of "Europe." Afghanistan's
turmoil is pretty complete.  Pakistan is wobbling.

The long-term tendency for the US to lose ground in the world
economically -- temporarily overcome in the '90s -- seems to have
resumed, including in relation to Europe and Japan.

Remember, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz claimed to have the solution to this
problem.  US military will and determination, the new model, high-tech,
volunteer Vietnam-syndrome-free US military would do the job.  Rumsfeld
and Wolfowitz are very subdued now, and Perle has gone into opposition.
Their solution has failed, which means the crisis of perspectives in the
officer corps (including the generals) is likely to get worse rather
than better.

A FULL DISCUSSION IN ITS OWN RIGHT.  But when I see this kind of
catastrophic vision of the future coming from such a central institution
of the US government, I suspect that the motivations cannot be purely
scientific.  I sense what used to be called, in reference to the
socialist movement, "the failure of a dream."
Fred Feldman

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