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Monday, March 5, 2007

From The Ministry Of Worst Case Scenarios

This report from the Guardian UK alleges a rather stunning development (h/t Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars.) Apparently the Pentagon is having some serious fever dreams:
Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe 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 seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.'

(That last bit made me chuckle a bit. "Once again, warfare would define human life." I mean, really, what has the twentieth century been but just that? And refined to even more brutal levels as we penetrate the 21st?)

2020? That seems a bit unhinged, but I don't think the assessment should be ignored. What strikes me is this crap about food, water, and energy wars. This is the Pentagon, after all and, as they say, when you are a hammer all problems look like nails. On the other hand, we humans certainly have demonstrated thus far that we frequently ill-comport in the face of crises.

What I'm grasping at here is the hope that if a disaster of clearly global consequence confronts us, that that just might be the thing to expose our provincial tendencies for the sheer stupidity that they illustrate. Sort of like those science fiction stories, you know - if we are invaded by aliens then mankind would suddenly see their common interest and unite.


Update: I apologize profusely for linking to that neocon wet-dream of a movie as my example of alien invasion. I hope you take my overall point anyway, and ignore that in that film the otherwise hapless world was saved by that awesome American technical ingenuity and military might. (Actually, it is a good popcorn movie - I watch it often - and so kitschy in its dialogue that it almost succeeds as satire.)

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