Starting a war as the planet burns: The stupidest act in human history?

By RockedBuzz 3 Min Read

Starting a war as the planet burns: The stupidest act in human history?
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Starting a war as the planet burns: The stupidest act in human history?

Rajan Menon: Our Global (Dis)Order and Climate Change

Someday, Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine may be rated as the stupidest act in human history. In case you hadn’t noticed (and if so, where the hell have you been living?), our planet’s in genuine crisis. Flooding, drought, melting ice sheets, and storms have only grown increasingly severe in recent years — and the way to take your mind off all that? Well, why not invade your neighbor and, as TomDispatch regular Rajan Menon makes clear today, pour yet more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere? Brilliant! Truly brilliant!

As that old song went: “War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.” But what is it bad for? The answer, in a sense, is simple enough: so very much. And yet, call us all eerily hooked on war and preparations for more of it. And I’m not just thinking about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, now destroying so much, killing so many, and creating staggering numbers of refugees. I’m thinking, for instance, about a recent story ABC News broke, indicating that the U.S. is now committed to building new facilities at Tindal Air Base in northern Australia that could house up to six B-52 nuclear bombers for a mere $100 million (a veritable steal!). From there, those planes would be able to reach China with their devastating payloads. Again, a brilliant decision to heighten the possibility of nuclear war (something that, if Vladimir Putin had done it, would have left Washington up in arms).

I mean, what better moment for the two greatest greenhouse gas emitters of today and, in the case of the U.S., the greatest in history not to communicate on the subject of global warming, while communicating oh-so-obviously with their weaponry. (The Chinese cut off climate talks with the U.S. last month.)

And as for that $100 million (no less the full billion going into building up American “defenses” across the northern part of Australia), what if the U.S. had given those funds to one of the poor countries that doesn’t have the necessary cash to begin financing its switch to non-greenhouse-gas-emitting energy? Not a chance, of course, and though United Nations head António Guterres has termed the sort of behavior now going on “collective suicide,” who’s paying the slightest attention to him?

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