War and Climate
As far as the Ukraine war is concerned, the West has no doubts they're right. Their judgment is rooted in fierce indignation. They were shocked to death because nobody foresaw this decisive attack. All their future plans were shaken.
Even if a large part of the world population does not share the quintessence of the Western stance, the radio silence within the NATO countries around the logic of their outrage is, in my opinion, worrying. Without reflection, you will get nowhere..
What is debatable about the whole trajectory along which this conflict situation has unfolded ?
- We' re facing a fatal problem, global warming, which due to the fact that one party (USA) has prevented us from applying stringent joint mitigation for 25 years, can only be curbed by extremely tight international cooperation.
- We can't have any one party missing in this gigantic climate mitigation maneuver.
- Everyone knows that if you want to cooperate with a party you have to make that party feel like it. You cannot impose cooperation or solve it like a math problem. You have to wait and see if it can come about. It is a clash of realities.
- Next you start annoying one very important party (the one with most land and raw resources) because of trivialities such as human rights (how many marginalized and rejected people do you have yourself?), international politics (friendship with Iran), and trade relations (energy supplies to the EU). Every time that party integrates (interacts) with your friends, draw their attention to the fact that those flows may be used against them, something they of course also know, and have long taken into account.
- Of course if that party comes up with unreasonable demands, obstruction or warning is required, but on which issue was Putin particularly unreasonable? By supplying oil and gas (as so many countries do) ? For wanting the implementation of the Minsk treaty ? For not wanting Nato missile bases in his front yard ? For wanting security and oversight in a Black Sea that is Russia's only lousy ‒ compared to the harbor-situation of almost every country in the world ‒ gateway to the world's oceans ? That he detested the EU's meddling into Ukrainian politics in 2014 ? That he disliked the dominant role (see Daniel Herman) of the neo-Nazi militias in the EuroMaidan revolution and their recent close collaboration with Zelensky?
- In brief, in the light of tactical maneuvering towards world cooperation on climate, it was ‒ apart from the gradual encapsulation (see Tom Sauer) of Russia by means of Nato expansions towards the East ‒ extremely short-sighted and illogical to let this conflict (by quarrelling over Nordstream and Donbass) deliberately expand into a large-scale rocket fight.
The Western prosperity project ‒ are other parties allowed to question and doubt it? That so-called morally superior project increasingly consists of a gigantic gang of self-enriching managers, traders, and developers who globally regulate the shape, scale, and speed of the assembly, distribution, and transport lines to which the rest of the world's population is chained at very low wages in the tax-free industrial zones and mines of their source countries. As long as this Western project flourished and everyone took advantage, it was acceptable.
But now that absurdly massive emergencies arise from it and rock-solid limits will have to be set on emissions ‒ by prioritizing what can still be produced, and by regulating how to produce ‒ any praise of its essentials (especially private property, private control of the factors of production, accumulation of capital, and competition) or call to defense of that order is uncritical nostalgia. A sinking ship must be given up and abandoned.
The spiral of mistrust
Why does it sink? The Western prosperity project is profit addicted. It cannot brake or slow down or adapt. It runs on expansion, on grabbing opportunities. Which is working fine as long as there is something to grab. But in a situation you get stuck, that attitude/drive works deadly because it prevents you from taking your loss, going through the middle or backing down. For then, you interpret every inch you would have to concede in a transaction (relationship/exchange) as the beginning of the end, and you perceive every finger pointing at you as an attempt to pull you through the bars.
From then on you get increasingly screwed in the macho solution of "each man kills the thing he loves". I.e. cut down your dependencies by destroying them. Cause then you're not vulnerable anymore, you think. Meanwhile, your capacity to cooperate (build trust with others) drops to zero, and as a result you' re no longer able to fabricate stability in your interactions with others. Nor with nature.
Look at how this is now playing out between the Western prosperity project and Russia. By turning away in advance the face that Russians could possibly trust, and thereby destroying the humanness ‒ by assuming in advance as true that the other will always shame/violate any agreement ‒ in both camps, negotiation has been constantly rejected as being the beginning of the end and thus made impossible. By demonizing them (calling them autocracy, closed society, totalitarian states), and attributing unreasonable motives to them, a spiral of mistrust has been deliberately fueled in order to get and keep all friends and relations on one line of thought.
So what are you after? Slay them? Because all you really want in the end is to be the winner? Your truth must be law and order? Cause you want to be leading and superior, and are willing to use any form of humiliation to achieve that? See the conclusion of the smelly rich Soros who praises 'the good' (to the skies) and 'the bad' (to hell) with the simple trader-statement: "The world has been increasingly engaged in a struggle between two systems of governance that are diametrically opposed to each other: open society and closed society", only to conclude, agonized: "Therefore, we must mobilise all our resources to bring the war to an early end. The best and perhaps only way to preserve our civilisation is to defeat Putin as soon as possible. That’s the bottom line."
The big talk of the West
"Diametrically opposed" ?? If that is the main logic by which this confrontation is described and by which decisions are made by this gang of grasping traders and market-expanding politicians, don't make me laugh.
First, because it shows no respect whatsoever for the way some nations have shaped their governance through centuries of internal and external conflict. Suggesting in advance that those are unlivable low-quality societies where people are being mismanaged is skating on thin ice.
Secondly, as far as 'the good' is concerned. Take a real look at the international order that the West currently declares as unwaveringly superior, and wants to push through by whatever means necessary. In which super-high-carbon elites play a power game with each other ‒ based on free (or enforced) accessibility to all earthly resources, and a broad bandwidth of freedom in manners (trade laws and regulations) ‒ about who can grab the most assets and interests, in order to pressure even more parties to dance to their tune so that they can successfully extend their power over the realms of reality of even more people even further and deeper.
Quite understandable that the Davos clique is so fanatical about this kind of governance, because that ‒ i.e., the large room for maneuver that the prevailing standards of conduct around international trade, exchange, and transport now offer them ‒ constitute their life-web that, running totally on fossil fuel, sucks the blood out of the world in order to increase the consumption frenzy of their own citizenry ‒ whose primary concern is where, worldwide, you can drag your products, services, and stuff as cheaply as possible, and where, worldwide, you can get your parents' caretakers from ‒ to ever greater heights.
Did Soros really think that only Extinction Rebellion (XR) had figured out how self-destructive those Western processes are, and how many dead bodies they threaten to generate in order to maintain themselves? I mean that the climate abuse by the fly-addicted peoples under "good type of governance" until now terrifies young people much more deeply than this war.
Is that the very civilization Soros is referring to that we need to save? A wild west way of interactions that in all its expansions is bumping up against limits and won't bend or dim to anything? And within which the two shouters with freakishly long toes (USA and Israel) not only initiate or cause the most wars, but are also the biggest violators of UN resolutions and most fanatical opponents of the International Criminal Court. Fuck off man!
The tragedy of this liberal expansionist moloch now is that it is going to crash on climate because we need to abandon fossil fuels acutely, and so it is precisely its uncontrolled expanding and innovating production and trade web that needs to be shut down. The pain at its Achilles heel (i.e., its greenhouse gas emissions) will cripple this global grabbing and dragging to the point that we won't know how quickly to scale down all the linkages and interactions between countries and systems as much as possible, and at the same time how to optimize the autonomous accessibility of basic units (regions, villages, families) to local resources so that everyone can meet her basic needs with the resources around her (right nearby) without using much fossil anymore (see this sketch).
Given what was agreed in Glasgow and given the waves of climate misery hitting the world, the decision making by the West (EU, NATO, UK, USA) during the whole development trajectory of this conflict is unwise short-sighted. At this defining moment of human history, a major war and global intensified weaponisation are fatal because those operations are acutely going to incinerate the remaining carbon budget. The threat comes from above and not from the East. The above parties have a narrow mind-set ("in a piecemeal fashion") on territorial security. Incomprehensible, because the very fact that climate is a core component of a territory ‒ and therefore essential to territorial security ‒ is being spotlighted in an increasing number of defence reports. NATO claims "to be able to address the full spectrum of current and future challenges and threats from any direction, simultaneously." If it had taken the threat from above seriously, it should have immediately initiated a global disarmament program because the current military forces now use absurd amounts of fossil fuel annually. But no, instead of mitigating upward, it chose to expand eastward and set the trap.
So now what? In the end, the current Western mantra "We're good, and they're crazy" doesn't yield anything. You have to come together to get out of this. Keeping Russia and China on board is a must. Jeff Sparrow: "Whatever the politicians say, no one will decarbonize during a new cold war". Whining about who is right or who is the strongest, has no future. On markets you never get your way, you rarely get happy, but if you make a deal you can muddle on.
And that's the whole trick. Living with what is and what is possible.
Just face Putin. Stop denigrating him in a superior tone. Reach out your hand. Propose to him a deep mutual disarmament. Who knows, maybe he'll be up for it. If not, you've tried, and can go out and face the youth with your head held high.
Jac Nijssen, 2022
This article has been written 28 Mai 2022.
See French version here
A Dutch version in pdf available