Michael T. Klare Original

The Ukraine War’s Collateral Damage: Planet Earth

Michael Klare makes clear that the war in Ukraine is the last thing on Earth (so to speak) that we need right now.
[NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center / CC BY-NC 2.0]

By Michael Klare | TomDispatch

The war in Ukraine has already caused massive death and destruction, with more undoubtedly to come as the fighting intensifies in the country’s east and south. Many thousands of soldiers and civilians have already been killed or wounded, some 13 million Ukrainians have been forced from their homes, and an estimated one-third of the country’s infrastructure has been destroyed. Worse yet, that war’s brutal consequences have in no way been limited to Ukraine and Russia: hunger and food insecurity are increasing across Africa, Asia, and the Middle East as grain deliveries from two of the world’s leading wheat producers have been severed. People are also suffering globally from another harsh consequence of that war: soaring fuel prices. And yet even those manifestations of the war’s “collateral damage” don’t come close to encompassing what could be the greatest casualty of all: planet Earth itself.

Any major war will, of course, inflict immense harm on the environment and Ukraine’s no exception. Although far from over, the fighting there has already resulted in widespread habitat and farmland destruction, while attacks on fuel-storage facilities (crucial targets for both sides) and the wartime consumption of fossil fuels have already released colossal amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. But however detrimental they may be, those should be thought of as relatively minor injuries when compared to the long-term catastrophic damage sure to be caused by the collapse of global efforts to slow the pace of global warming.

Mind you, even before Russia invaded Ukraine, the possibility of preventing the world’s temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above its pre-industrial average seemed to be slipping away. After all, as a recent study by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made clear, without a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions, global temperatures are likely to exceed that target long before this century ends — with terrifying consequences. “In concrete terms,” as U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres pointed out when releasing the report, “this means major cities under water, unprecedented heat waves, terrifying storms, widespread water shortages, and the extinction of one million species of plants and animals.”

Nonetheless, before the Russian invasion, environmental policymakers still believed it might be possible to avoid that ghastly fate. Such success, however, would require significant cooperation among the major powers — and now, due to the war in Ukraine, that appears unattainable, possibly for years to come.

Geopolitics Leaves Climate Action in the Dust

Sadly, geopolitical rivalry, not cooperation, is now the order of the day. Thanks to Russia’s invasion and the harsh reaction it’s provoked in Washington and other Western capitals, “great-power competition” (as the Pentagon calls it) has overtaken all other considerations. Not only has diplomatic engagement between Washington, Moscow, and Beijing essentially ground to a halt, making international cooperation on climate change (or any other global concern) nearly impossible, but an all-too-militarized competition has been launched that’s unlikely to abate for years to come.

As President Biden declared in Poland on March 26th: “We [have] emerged anew in the great battle for freedom, a battle between democracy and autocracy, between liberty and repression, between a rules-based order and one governed by brute force.” This will not be a short-term struggle, he assured his NATO allies. “We must commit now to be in this fight for the long haul. We must remain unified today and tomorrow and the day after and for the years and decades to come.”

Decades to come! And mind you, similar expressions of abiding ideological and geopolitical enmity can be heard from Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China. “We are a different country,” Putin said in his May 9th Victory Day speech. “Russia has a different character. We will never give up our love for our Motherland, our faith, and traditional values.” Similarly, Xi has reaffirmed China’s determination to pursue its own path in world affairs and warned Washington against exploiting the Ukraine conflict for its geopolitical advantage.

If asked, Biden, Putin, Xi, and high-ranking officials everywhere would undoubtedly insist that addressing climate change remains an important concern. But let’s face it, their number-one priority is now to mobilize their societies for a long-term struggle against their geopolitical rivals. And rest assured, that will prove to be an all-consuming endeavor, with digressions for other matters — climate being at the top of any list — postponed for the foreseeable future.

Take, for instance, the $773 billion budget request that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) submitted this April for fiscal year (FY) 2023. Look over its proposed expenditures and you’ll get a pretty good idea of the Pentagon’s priorities and, by extension, those of the Biden administration.

According to the DoD’s budget documents, $56.5 billion is being sought for new combat aircraft, $41 billion for new ships, $34 billion for the “modernization” of America’s nuclear arsenal, $25 billion for missile defense, $20 billion for artillery and armored vehicles, and $135 billion for “combat readiness” and training activities. Oh yes, and $3 billion is being sought to address the effects of climate change on the U.S. military.

Under the circumstances, it’s striking that the Pentagon’s budget request even acknowledges the risk of global warming, given the lack of attention it was accorded in the past. Nonetheless, that paltry financial contribution to climate action — mainly meant to deal with the destructive impact of future severe storms on this country’s military bases — is already being overshadowed by preparations for a possible conflict with China and/or Russia. As the Pentagon put it all too directly: “The President’s Budget request for FY 2023 reflects DoD’s clear focus on deterring and, if necessary, denying potential People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Russian aggression against Allies and partners.”

Such language, in fact, is used to justify virtually every item in the budget, including all those planes, ships, guns, bombs, and missiles. Similar terms are also used to describe the missions U.S. forces are being trained to perform. A discussion of Army planning puts it this way, for example: “The Army’s Modernization Strategy enables American land power dominance to meet the demands of great power competition and great power conflict, as demonstrated by evolving threats in the Indo-Pacific and European theaters.”

Such passages reveal the dominant mindset of this moment. From the perspective of American leaders and their military strategists — as well, undoubtedly, as those in Russia and China — meeting the demands of “great power competition and great power conflict” is the defining task of our moment and will remain so, in President Biden’s words, “for the years and decades to come.” In such an environment, climate change, as the key peril of our moment, functionally recedes or simply disappears from all such agendas.

The Suspension of International Dialogue and Cooperation

Slowing the pace of climate change requires action at many levels but can only succeed if all nations agree to work together in reducing carbon emissions. Setting and meeting international targets for such reductions could insure that progress in any one country is matched elsewhere. This was, of course, the guiding principle of the Paris Climate Summit of December 2015, which resulted in a pledge by 196 countries to take concrete steps to limit warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Every year since then, the signers of the Paris Climate Agreement have met to review their (supposed) progress in adopting concrete measures aimed at achieving that objective. The most recent meeting — officially, the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP 26) of the International Framework Convention on Climate Change — was convened last November in Glasgow, Scotland, attracting massive media attention. Although COP 26 achieved no major breakthroughs, its summit declaration did at least call on participating states to “phase down” their use of coal and take other steps aimed at curbing fossil fuels.

Many attendees at the Glasgow event expressed the hope that the next meeting, scheduled for this November in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, would codify numerous proposals discussed at COP 26 for reducing fossil-fuel consumption. Sadly, however, it’s no longer conceivable that China, Russia, the U.S., and the countries of the European Union (EU) will be able to work in any faintly harmonious fashion toward that goal. Russia has already demonstrated its disinclination to talk with the West on such vital matters by sabotaging negotiations aimed at restoring the nuclear agreement with Iran. Given increasingly hostile relations between Beijing and Washington, don’t count on those two countries, the world’s leading emitters of carbon, to cooperate on anything significant either.

In short, such international cooperation, never overwhelming to begin with, now appears to have reached a dead end, which means that efforts to keep warming from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius are almost certain to fail. Indeed, given the current state of great-power relations, the fallback limit of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) is likely to be overtaken all too soon with calamitous results when it comes to increasing drought, desertification, intensifying storms, ever-more devastating fires, and other nightmarish outcomes.

Breaking with Russia: Fossil Fuels Forever

As an example of where we’re headed in this Ukraine war moment, consider Europe’s drive to eliminate its reliance on Russian fossil-fuel imports. Although the EU countries have indeed made far more ambitious plans than the other major powers to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels over the coming decades, they remain highly reliant on oil, coal, and natural gas for a large share of their energy needs. Moreover, much of their supply of those fuels is imported, especially from Russia. Astonishingly, in 2020 that country supplied approximately 43% percent of the EU’s natural gas imports, 29% percent of its oil, and 54% of its coal. Now, thanks to the Russian invasion, the EU is seeking to reduce those percentages to zero. “We must become independent from Russian oil, coal, and gas,” declared Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU’s executive arm. “We simply cannot rely on a supplier who explicitly threatens us.”

In consonance with such an approach, the EU announced plans to “make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels well before 2030.” And those plans do indeed involve increased reliance on renewable sources of energy, especially wind and solar power. Such efforts, however, will take significant time to implement and, until then, Europe is anxiously seeking increased oil and gas deliveries from other countries to offset a severe energy shortage (and soaring fuel prices). That reality, in turn, has prompted potential suppliers to invest yet more funds in increased oil and gas output — moves likely to result in a greater, not lesser, long-term commitment to fossil-fuel production and consumption.

This is especially true in the case of European gas imports. Natural gas, the least carbon-intensive of the fossil fuels, has become popular in Europe as a substitute for coal in electricity generation. Its use, however, does result in significant carbon emissions and its extraction often also leads to substantial releases of methane, another dangerous greenhouse gas. Europe currently relies on natural gas for approximately 25% of its net energy consumption and now, committed as it is to eliminating Russian gas by 2030, its countries are desperate to find alternative suppliers. In practice, this will mean increased imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). Because many key gas producers — notably Australia, Nigeria, Qatar, and the United States — lie too far from Europe to deliver it via pipelines, they will have to ship it as LNG. This, in turn, will require the construction of costly new LNG export facilities abroad and import facilities in Europe, committing both sides ever more firmly to a long-term reliance on gas production.

Thanks to a March 25th agreement between the EU and the United States, for example, this country will be supplying 50 billion cubic meters of LNG to Europe annually by 2030 (about double the amount shipped in 2020). To do so, 10 or more new LNG export facilities will have to be constructed in the U.S. and a similar number of import terminals in Europe. Such projects will cumulatively cost hundreds of billions of dollars, while ensuring that natural gas continues to play a prominent role in European energy consumption (and U.S. energy extraction), potentially for decades to come.

Kissing Earth Goodbye

All this — and it’s just the tip of the melting iceberg — leads to one conclusion: the world’s ruling elites have chosen to place their geopolitical rivalries above all other critical concerns, including planetary salvation. As a result, global warming is indeed likely to surpass 2 degrees Celsius sometime during this century. It’s a given that almost unimaginable calamities will ensue, including the inundation of major cities, monstrous wildfires, and the collapse of agriculture in many parts of the world.

This means, of course, that those of us who still view global warming as the crucial priority face the most difficult of challenges. Yes, we can continue our protests and lobbying in support of vigorous climate-change action, knowing that our efforts will fall on remarkably deaf ears in Washington, Beijing, Moscow, and major European capitals or we can begin to contest the very idea that great-power competition itself should be accorded such a priority on a planet in such mortal danger. Yes, countering Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is important, as is deterring similar moves by China in the Indo-Pacific region or our own country globally. However, if planetary meltdown is to be avoided, such considerations can’t be allowed to overshadow the ultimate danger faced by powers both big and small, as well as the rest of us. To have any chance of success in limiting global warming to tolerable levels, the climate-action movement will somehow have to overturn an elite consensus on the importance of geopolitical competition — or else.

Or else, that is, we can kiss Planet Earth goodbye.

Copyright 2022 Michael Klare

Michael T. Klare, a TomDispatch regular, is the five-college professor emeritus of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and a senior visiting fellow at the Arms Control Association. He is the author of 15 books, the latest of which is All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change. He is a founder of the Committee for a Sane U.S.-China Policy.

34 comments

  1. The thing is nobody believe this:

    It’s a given that almost unimaginable calamities will ensue, including the inundation of major cities, monstrous wildfires, and the collapse of agriculture in many parts of the world.

    And any sane objective look at things shows they shouldn’t, either.

    This article would be good if it said it all and left out the global warming stuff.

  2. THIS WRITER HIT MANY IMPORTANT ISSUES BUT THIS WRITER DIRECTLR AVOIDED THE GIANT ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM THE USA, CIA AND DARPA. AND, THEN WE MUST ASK WHO DOES ARE MILITARY REALLY WORK FOR? 30 PLUS BIOLABS TO KILL BY VIRUS IN UKRAINE BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE USA AND DARPA AND MORE. IN THIS INSANITY, WHERE ARE THE ROTHSCHILDS AND THE CITY OF LONDON BANKERS AND THEIR DIRECTIVES. AND, THERE IS MORE, CHILD TRAFFIKING, PORNO CAPITAL OF THE WORLD, ZELENSKY A BILLIONAIRE AND IGOR KOLOMINSKY, AND SO MUCH MORE LIKE THE CHILDREN OF PRESIDENT BIDEN, JOHN KERYY AND OUR OWN SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE NANCY PELOSI FEEDING FROM THE NEVER ENDING TROUGH OF GREED AND INSANITY.

  3. Nothing less than massive unrelenting, continuing demonstrations in the streets for peace Now and
    insistence on global cooperation for the well being
    of all -all people, fauna, flora under the sun, and Earth.
    The so-called “elite””governing elite” must feel the
    heat from us.

  4. “Yes, countering Russia’s aggression in Ukraine is important, as is deterring similar moves by China in the Indo-Pacific region or our own country globally. ”

    Your entire argument went out the window the moment you sided with The Empire of Lies.

    1. I came here to post this same thing. Why make that whole argument and then blow it by conceding the empire’s point?

      1. Zelensky will be fine. He’s protected by British and American special forces. The family is reportedly living in an $8 million mansion in Israel. He owns a $34 million villa in Miami Beach, and another in Tuscany. Average Ukrainians were lied to, robbed, and in many cases, murdered, by the Kiev gang he presides over – oligarchs, security service (SBU) fanatics, neo-Nazis. And those Ukrainians that remain (10 million have already fled) will continue to be treated as expendable.

  5. Yeah, leave out the part (l’il Red Riding Hood) about the wolf eating Granny.
    It’s too scary for the Deniers.
    Why do you not see the drought in the American West, or the growing intensity of storms, Arthur? Look at the way the Jet Stream has been shifted northward.
    Before this blanket statement I assumed you were a curious questioner.
    You were doing terrific on the Great Reset.
    The Glorious Leaders are not working to “mobilize their populations”, but are struggling to keep the lid on the can. Yes, these Nation magazine writers are domesticated… but you need not be. I was sweating on my front porch eating a homemade popsicle today and a neighbor offered me his used window air conditioner.
    But I knew there was no way for me to budget the electricity for it. I said,”Put in your storage shed. You may need it later.” I wasn’t in any shape to lift it.

  6. We are going extinct. Your grandkids kids, maybe your kids if you are young, are going to die horrible deaths as civilization and the ecosystem that had supported it, collapse. It is the choise we have made. Difficult to comprehend, yet undeniable.

  7. Klare, again?

    Adios,

    Ceaseless money printing by central banks, price-fixing in major sectors of the economy (“greedflation”), never-ending supply-chain disruptions and delays, endless pay-the-rich schemes (e.g., public-private “partnerships”), constantly-growing debt at all levels, more inequality, intensifying stock market turbulence, out-of-control inflation, widespread poverty, and lower working and living standards for millions are signs of an economy that lost historical and social relevance long ago. It is an economy in dire need of a new aim and direction under the control of the workers who actually produce the wealth in society.

    The economic and social fallout from an obsolete economic and political system continues at home and abroad. This is especially significant given the interconnected nature of everything and the fact that the rich and their political and media representatives are incapable of analyzing and theorizing the economy objectively and offer only more confusion and incoherence.

  8. International Conditions

    “The IMF sees growth in 2022 and 2023 lower than it did in January [2022].”

    “Poor countries face a mounting catastrophe fueled by inflation and debt.”

    “Global leaders warn of economic dangers as crises multiply. At the G-7 conference in Germany, finance ministers wrestle with stagflation, energy shocks, food shortages and debt crises.”

    “Age of scarcity begins with $1.6 trillion hit to world economy. New fault-lines are likely to outlast war and plague — leaving the global economy smaller and prices higher.”

    “World’s largest fertilizer company warns crop nutrient disruptions through 2023.”

    “Producer prices in South Korea rose 9.2 percent year-on-year in April of 2022, accelerating from a 9 percent advance in the previous month.”

    Japan: “Producer inflation in April rose by double digits for the first time since 1980.”

    People queue ‘more than 10 hours’ for fuel in crisis-stricken Sri Lanka.”

    “The Reserve Bank of Australia expects inflation to reach 5.5 per cent by June [2022] – compared to the government’s 4.25 per cent forecast – and six per cent by the end of 2022.”

    “Turkish reserves lost ‘shocking’ $4.8 billion in just one week.”

    “The Tunisian economy has gone from bad to worse in recent years, battered by a series of challenges from heavy indebtedness to diminished output.”

    “Inflation hits 7% in April as Ireland’s cost of living soars. Households warned to brace for sharpest squeeze since early 1980s.”

    “UK consumer confidence falls to its lowest level since 1970s.”

    “Spain expected to produce the lowest volume of fruit in 40 years.”

    “Iceland ramps up tightening in biggest rate hike since 2008. Inflation may now exceed 8% in third quarter, officials say.”

    “Swedish economy contracts as price hikes start to bite.”

    “Rising prices put pressure on Swiss consumers and industry.”

    “Albanian president says public debt at “very worrying” 84% of GDP.”

    “Bulgaria’s inflation jumps to 14.4% y/y in April.”

  9. China should give Tibet back to Dali Lama and the Tibetans; Russia should stop the nonsense in Ukraine and the U.S. should make good on all the treaties it broke with Indigenous North Americans.

    No physical changes can be made if no one can picture something more positive.

  10. I must admit that even from notorious Tom Dispatch one can hardly find such density of preposterously false statements and transferences mixed in with content free tautologies, begging the question, hasty generalization, non seqitur assertions etc., while peddling western bandwagon fallacies. Too many to list.

    I just make one point only. The blaming war for deliberate elite policies that amount to attack on world population and precious environment.

    No, the war in Ukraine did not start in February 2022 but in April 2014 and it was war of illegitimately brought to power by US (by means of a coup) Nazi Kiev regime against its own people by destroying its own infrastructure in Donbas for eight years now.

    It was Ukrainian oligarchs funded by the west that destroyed Ukrainian infrastructure much more effectively than Russia kid glove approach to stop unprecedented inflow of arms to Ukraine for sole purpose to prolong the destruction of war.

    I guess author should be delighted that Russia pulverized dirty polluting huge Azovstal industrial complex to the degree that prompted new DPR local government to make decision to demolish it and build a green park and green hospitality industry instead.

    It was Kiev policy of cutting vital economic ties to Russia that cost 2 millions jobs loss in a decade and unleashed wave of Ukrainian emigration to the west as much as to Russia.

    And no, war in most part did not caused mass emigration 5 millions to the west and one million to Russia, it was refusal by Kiev and its DC masters for eight years to negotiate in good faith peaceful settlement, (Minsk I, II) unblock economically Donbas and sell Crimea water and power it desperately needed.

    No, this war did not cause astronomical increase of fuel and energy prices. Gauging and manipulation of western financial capital did that by removing most of environmentally destructive shell oil from the markets in 2019-2020 long before supposed 2022 war hysteria and insane western policies of refusal to pay for Russian oil and nat gas that could have been slowly turned off if cheap non fossil replacements could be found hurting nobody in the process.
    Instead people and environment devastation was unleashed. Price I am paying for nat gas in US jumped 50% in three months, the gas that is not of Russian origin.

    The working people in the west are not victims of war caused by Russia or China in the future but victims of their own oligarchic elites who rule them.

    The western elites like suicide bombers especially US/EU since 2014 wage brutal economic war against Russia and China by blowing up not them but us and burying green economy via economically and environmentally destructive COVID policies with 20 billions of discarded face masks etc., waste and financial terrorism that hijacked genuine green agenda.

    The entire New Green Deal gang in US or EU voting for prolonging humanly and environmentally destructive war by funding it in its entirety says it all about utter hypocrisy of GND crowd that before criticism of environmental costs of Ukraine war should stop funding it and move the Pentagon money to better use in reconstructing welfare state for victims of vicious and economically destructive finance capitalism that is the worst purveyor of environmental destruction in the world.

    True authors’s attitude is revealed when he disingenuously pretending to give up on GND agenda for next decades lamenting about GC impact of increased LNG trade much less caring about impact of five fold increase in energy costs on working people and retirees. By that author implicitly legitimized the war he allegedly despises as long as progressives continue to be accomplices to a war crime against humanity and life sustaining environment while Putin can be used as a scapegoat.

  11. No argument here.
    Klare’s argument is exactly on target.
    For Biden, who doesn’t have a viable idea in his disoriented brain, the Russia-Ukraine war and it military ramifications, as Biden’s Defense Department’s bots envision it, was a godsend.
    Minus “God.”

  12. It’s a complex article that eat up a couple hours of work for a perfect reply. I’ll just list 3 bothersome points.

    1. The word “population” does not appear in it. It’s an unfunny joke that one might declare the coming collapse of agriculture without substantive evidence, then not associate it with mouths. And, put bluntly: people cause warming. So that’s a mighty omission.

    2. Predicting the end of the world is a tricky business with a bad reputation, being the stock & trade of the religious class for millennia. Maybe that’s why it falls flat when read. And why bother? Perhaps because just saying there will be big problems and we’ll have to deal with them doesn’t have the cache of predicting impending doom?

    3. The war in Ukraine, unlike Vietnam or Iraq, appears to be, under calm analysis with the mind rid of popular agitprop, meet the parameters for what is known in the literature (Thomas Aquinas) as, “Just War.”

    Those parameters are: 1. Just Cause, 2. Comparative Justice, 3. Competent Authority, 4. Right Intention, 5. Probability of Success, 6. Last Resort, 7. Proportionality.

    That the crisis in Ukraine is Just War does nothing for Pacifists, or people who’s minds explode when confronted by unpopular truths or outside-the-box thinking, but it does derail up the article.

    (P.S. I leave it to interested parties to look up #3 rather than bother me with agitated retorts that parrot the insult forest comment section of the Wash Post.)

  13. I recognise that the professor has to blame Russia and China for the work of a bunch of power hungry insatiable megalomaniacs drawn from various countries in the belligerent west. His job & thus his home & family security will probably depend on him firmly adopting that stance. That twisting of the truth diminishes his argument somewhat although I believe him to be accurate in the main thrust of his argument. War is the elephant in the room as far as climate change is concerned but the disgusting Military Industrial Complex has its sights firmly set on as much war as it can possibly help engineer in order to have more money to count.

  14. 2 ways to really impact climate change ;

    1. Downgrade or eliminate the Military Industrial complex. The US military is the largest carbon emitter, bar Nation States.

    2. Turn off the Money Printer,

  15. “Sadly, geopolitical rivalry, not cooperation, is now the order of the day. Thanks to Russia’s invasion and the harsh reaction it’s provoked in Washington and other Western capitals, “great-power competition” (as the Pentagon calls it) has overtaken all other considerations. Not only has diplomatic engagement between Washington, Moscow, and Beijing essentially ground to a halt, making international cooperation on climate change (or any other global concern) nearly impossible, but an all-too-militarized competition has been launched that’s unlikely to abate for years to come.”

    Wrong.

    This series of events is drastic, but peripheral.

    The only way the world has any hope for cooperation would be that the two largest economies, the US and China — cooperate.

    That’s unattainable because the US, even before Trump — set itself on an irretrievable path of conflict with China — which the US is determined to thwart as the PRC’s Communist-led economy passes the US, ignites development in nations it and its European allies want to fester in backwardness and subjugation and exceeds its technical and social accomplishments .

    America’s atavistic rage is set firmly in its racist core.

    Here’s George Kennan:

    “We must be very careful when we speak of exercising “leadership” in Asia. We are deceiving ourselves and others when we pretend to have answers to the problems, which agitate many of these Asiatic peoples. Furthermore, we have about 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3 of its population. This disparity is particularly great as between ourselves and the peoples of Asia. ”

    Sonce Kennan’s words were written, China has rapidly increased the wealth share of Asia.

    The soul-piercing fear that China arouses in the US’ leadership circles is analogous to what Churchill feared about Germany

    . . . only a few hours away by air there dwell a nation of nearly seventy millions of the most educated, industrious, scientific, disciplined people in the world, who are being taught from childhood to think of war as a glorious exercise and death in battle as the noblest fate for man.

    Of course, China’s strength is not based on a warrior youth cult, but the contrast between the US and allied cultures and Chinese communist organization, discipline and verve.

    China’s rise has been rapid and without precedent in the world, and it threatens America world dominance.

    More recently:

    State Department Official on China Threat: For First Time U.S. Has ‘Great Power Competitor That Is Not Caucasian
    https://www.newsweek.com/china-threat-state-department-race-caucasian-1413202

    “In China we have an economic competitor, we have an ideological competitor, one that really does seek a kind of global reach that many of us didn’t expect a couple of decades ago. And I think it’s also striking that it’s the first time that we will have a great power competitor that is not Caucasian,”

    Only the collapse and termination of US imperial dominance can “save” humanity.

  16. Existential threats don’t mean much, if you have no fear of death. The underlying false belief is the notion that humanity is a permanent feature of the Earth, when it is (thankfully) a temporary anomaly. Our collective cognitive dissonance will lead us to annihilation, ultimately, nothing will stop that. Not a big deal to the trans personally aware.

  17. The thing is, in sanity, the ‘they’ referred to as the sounding in-group, seem only capable of believing incrementally, in neoliberal linear fashion.
    Climate change, therefore, even others’ individual deaths can be contemplated – is thinkable, unlike nearer term massive human extinction!
    IMHO, when humanity begins to be capable of imagining the “unimaginable” calamity — the extinction of all of humanity from the planet, in a cataclysmic nuclear annihilation; only then will…. it will be too late for contemplation!
    Hope is human – irrational optimism, when facing death.
    Aren’t we all afflicted with the one same fear?
    Considering the deliberate killing of human beings by other human beings, simply as War Crimes, or War’s Collateral Damage, is insane! Was there ever a definitive red line between what is rationally human and the insanity of irrationality? If there was, once war begins, it no longer exists.
    Right now, resolving the probability of potential total nuclear annihilation, once and for all time, needs to be humanity’s number one priority. Blind optimism – conscious repression, in the face of the very possibly looming extinction of all life on the planet, is a cognitively dissonant fantasy of hope!
    Considerations of the effects of climate catastrophe, in the face of a possibly more near-term looming nuclear annihilation, seems absurd, especially when the very real possibility of it occurring is totally ignored. Repressing unsettling feelings from conscious mind is a root of anxieties, fears, hatreds, and other sense morbidities.
    How does Michael T. Klare define a war more major than that already taking place in Ukraine?
    What meaning will “immense harm on the environment” everywhere, even matter?
    “Widespread habitat and farmland destruction” will be meaningless!
    What significance will “the collapse of global efforts to slow the pace of global warming” have; and on whom?
    What purpose does a deep and detailed academic analysis serve for mortals’ seemingly incapable even to contemplate the meaning of their own individual mortality, let alone the effects of global, human caused nuclear annihilation, in one fell swoop?
    Planet Earth has been an integral part of an ever-expanding Cosmos for 13 ½ billion years; or so our academic learning is capable of fathoming at this stage in an infinitely expanding universe.
    The significance of the entirety of homo-Sapiens on the planet, on the other hand, is nothing more than a grain of sand, on an ocean swept beach, unless of course anthropism is the irrational belief: “that human beings are fundamentally different from everything else in nature and that the world was made for them” – Wiktionary.
    Are the elite leaders, and billionaire owners directing the global corporation, any more aware than the average citizen, of the pending catastrophes ahead for humanity? If they are more aware, do ‘they’ even care?
    It seems, greed is another insatiable human disease!

  18. It’s a complex article that eat up a couple hours of work for a perfect reply. I’ll just list 3 bothersome points.

    1. The word “population” does not appear in it. It’s an unfunny joke that one might declare the coming collapse of agriculture without substantive evidence, then not associate it with mouths. And, put bluntly: people cause warming. So that’s a mighty omission.

    2. Predicting the end of the world is a tricky business with a bad reputation, being the stock & trade of the religious class for millennia. Maybe that’s why it falls flat when read. And why bother? Perhaps because just saying there will be big problems and we’ll have to deal with them doesn’t have the cache of predicting impending doom?

    3. The war in Ukraine, unlike Vietnam or Iraq, appears to be, under calm analysis with the mind rid of popular agitprop, meet the parameters for what is known in the literature (Thomas Aquinas) as, “Just War.” Those parameters are: 1. Just Cause, 2. Comparative Justice, 3. Competent Authority, 4. Right Intention, 5. Probability of Success, 6. Last Resort, 7. Proportionality. Look them up rather than scratching your head.

    That the crisis in Ukraine is Just War does nothing for Pacifists, or people who’s minds explode when confronted by unpopular truths or outside-the-box thinking, but it does derail up the article.

  19. Yes, Virginia, there’s a correlation between the (minuscule) amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere and warming trends of climate. Only it’s the reverse of what the capitalist-controlled consensus tells us, as increased warming precedes increased CO2, the contrived cause. The likely cause is solar activity, but the ‘science’ rules out anything that can’t be attributed to manmade conditions as heresy for the dogmatists pushing the social engineering agenda which anthropogenic climate change promises.

    Global warming is hot air. Its end-of-the-world panic porn puts to shame any fraud of biblical faith peddling judgment day, with far more failed predictions of doom that never seem to seed doubt in believers, and running its racket across continents rather than the corner church. That’s the religion of Science for you, offering the best bought and paid for creeds of Reason, promulgated ex cathedra by the WHO or the IPCCC, that disaster capitalists can rig to drive entire populations into real dangers like depopulation and totalitarian control, all for our salvation.

    No stranger to the Pentagon’s panic porn over national security, here’s Michael Klare pushing his product again to warn us wayward souls of the very crises which the MIC among other predators upon people of the earth are manufacturing for our enslavement, from carbon credit scores for us and carbon credit swindles for them, to powered-down austerity for us on a prison planet while ruling elites enjoy it as their playground beyond the ‘smart’ cities where we will be confined.

  20. The Earth is in hospice. We are not going to save the Earth. We aren’t going to actually try.

    Outside of the IPCC reports, which state that we must revolutionize every aspect of how we live on this planet, I never see people even discussing what would be required to alter the trajectory we are on with the current extinction event. We pretty much think we can keep tearing up the planet, killing everything alive, and dumping hundreds of thousands of tons of toxic pollutants into the environment every year, while pursuing endless development and endless wealth if we just power it all with renewables, and maybe recycle.

    That’s because rich people are in charge and we all do what they want us to all the time, or they get violent and make us do it anyway.

    1. Tupe,
      It seems you would actually practice what you preach against.

      Implicit in your short diatribe is that you would prevent, “wealth creation” & “development” which are of course basic to human nature. The logical question is, “How would you do that?” and the only answer is, “by enforcement of Tupe’s ideology.” This is old stuff, and it’s called petty totalitarianism. The problem with controlling everyone so you can practice your, “save the planet ideology” is that people have a mind of their own, & don’t want the likes of you controlling them. They’d rather have evil wealth-creators controlling them than evil Tupe, because as they see it, they live better lives.

      You make the oversimple ideological mistake of thinking “rich people” have a different human nature than the poor when they do not. You make the historical mistake of thinking that there is more “tearing up” or “killing everything alive” in modern times than in ancient times when the difference is of volume not of quality. In fact we live in the most safe & least violent time for humans in human history. You both remove yourself from responsibility for the problems and use “we” a lot. It’s haphazard stuff, mostly angst toward an “other” without understanding. That said history is full of virtuous assassins, if you think you can make your mark against power that way go for it. Be forewarned, when you chop off the King’s head there’s a guy in line to take his place.

      Humans have human nature, and it’s the same in the wealthy as in the poor. Even the humble mythical character Jesus, who was broke, demanded that everyone listen to him endlessly and buy his cock & bull stories. And they did.

      I hope you win the lottery, it would be a revelation for you.

      1. are you this racist and gnorant of anthropology and sociology—all sociologists observe that culture determines perceptions and expectations. historic-socio context observes that consciousness is linguistic—“the limits of your language are the limits of your world”. Wittgenstein…..Berdayaev, Deleuze, Marxists, etc observe that philosophy follows national character—Adorno dismisses all anglophone philosophy as “a defense of technocratic capitalism”….Simmel described amerikan philosophy as the “most superficial pragmatism in history”. Gramsci, the Frankfurt m marxists, hermeneutical thinkers, Schleimacher, Dilthey, Gadamer Tocqueville, Gorer, Lakoff etc all observe peculiarities in amerikan “thinking” and attitudes….to claim that nature is the same amongst classes, cultures, and values do not shift dramatically in different epochs, societies is farcically racist

      2. @george simmel
        Not to mention that there’s no such thing as “human nature.” Different humans in different societies behave and react differently. If “human nature” existed, we wouldn’t have wide discrepancies between, for example, hunter gatherer societies and modern technological ones.

  21. “Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the harsh reaction it’s provoked”? Don’t you have that backwards?

    “Due to the constant pressure of the United States and NATO, they provoked Russia into invading Ukraine.”

  22. In this sentence “the world’s ruling elites have chosen to place their geopolitical rivalries above all other critical concerns, including planetary salvation” I see only one way to achieve the continuation of the human species on this planet (geologically, planet earth will cleanse itself, however long that might take), outright revolution (peaceful, non-violent non-cooperation with existing world leadership) if anything substantial is to be accomplished. In my opinion, it’s either go down fighting or just become totally fatalistic concerning any future for the human race whatsoever. Personally, I plan on going down fighting as I believe our children and grandchildren have a basic human right to life (I have two granddaughters and they deserve long life and prosperity)!

  23. Hoo boy, another clueless leftist writing about environmental issues. Sorry, but habitat and ecosystem destruction is not “relatively minor” compared to any environmental harm, including global warming. Global warming is an existential problem, BUT: 1) it’s only a symptom, not a root cause of any environmental problems; 2) it’s very far from being the only environmental issue; and 3) there are other at least equally if not more important environmental issue, like destruction of ecosystems and habitats, the current human-caused extinction crisis, and human-caused ocean acidification.

    “[T]he world’s ruling elites have chosen to place their geopolitical rivalries above all other critical concerns, including planetary salvation.” Sure. But additionally, the world’s human population has chosen to place unnecessary comfort, convenience, and fun, which are only possible with it’s unnatural lifestyles, over life itself.

    Global warming is caused by industrial civilization, not by war. Wars are a endemic to civilization and have existed for thousands of years without causing global warming (unless you count the killing of trees to build weapons and armadas, but even killing forests and causing them to be replaced by deserts was an exponentially smaller factor in causing global warming than burning fossil fuels is).

    The cognitive dissonance regarding this issue and the psychotic clutching onto clearly unnatural and totally destructive human lifestyles defies belief. Either lower human population and live naturally, which means far fewer humans living without industrial things like cars & trucks, other machines, and electricity, or continue to fry the Earth with all of your greenhouse gas emissions, Green New Deal and phony “green” energy claims notwithstanding. But stop being hypocrites and thinking that you can have your cake and eat it too, because you can’t.

    I will say that one of the two main reasons I oppose all war is the great environmental an ecological destruction that it causes even without global warming. Tolkien wrote about this environmental destruction, and he was describing pre-industrial war. None of my comments here are to be taken as failing to oppose war, because I do unequivocally oppose it.

    1. Jeff
      nature is a vague concept. there are some common qualities in human nature—biological needs, desire, sex, death. however, values, customs, family structure, perception, thinking, language, social relations/interactions, taboos, religious practice/beliefs, etc. differ widely. AS Geoffrey gore wrote, “amerikans bewilder Europeans” we are not tabula rasa; unlike the animal kingdom, we are productive and develop culturally artistically, intellectually, etc. in this sense we partially create ourselves

      1. @george simmel
        Sure, there are many cultural and behavioral differences between both groups of humans and individual humans. But without exception, except for a small fraction of 1% who are still hunter-gatherers or ascetic monks living in monasteries, they’re all living unnaturally and destroying the planet. Nature doesn’t include agriculture, machines, human mining, human logging, genetic engineering, etc. The natural state of the Earth is as it was 10,000 years ago before people started using agriculture. There are small wilderness areas that are still in natural condition, but they are the rare exception, and humans have made the vast majority of the Earth into some unnatural hell, like Giedi Prime.

  24. denazification by Russia waited 8 years while the USA created a fascist ukraine that murderd 14,000 in donbass. it is painful for nazis to accept that Russia has threatened US imperialism and de facto stopped the US war in ukraine

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: