"When I look at today's world I have a worrying feeling about the growth of world disorder," he said. ... "It is a massive strategic mistake: no single centre can command the entire world, no one,"[Gorbachaev] said. "Current America has made so many mistakes." Reuters, 7-27-07
Calls for increased help from Washington are on the rise as global efforts to tackle the world's burgeoning water and sanitation crisis have largely failed to produce any meaningful results so far. ... Research shows that in many parts of the world water tables are continuing to fall and rivers are drying up. OneWorld, 7-28-07
"What I am saying is that if we invest in ways to reduce the birthrate - by improving contraception, education and healthcare - we will stop the world's population reaching its current estimated limit of between eight and 10 billion. ... However, everyone has decided, quietly, to ignore the issue.' Guardian/UK 7-22-07
Sustainability Update 7-29-07: Geopolitics & Sustainability have Taken Over Your Future -- Whether You Choose to Acknowledge It or Not
By Richard Power
Geopolitics and sustainability have taken over your future -- both near term and long term -- whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. And the extent to which these two forces have taken over your future increases in direct proportion to the levels of inattention and blundering that your government has demonstrated in response.
Sustainability problems related to population and water would be urgent global issues even if global warming were not precipitating drastic climate change.
But the US political establishment's choice of empire over enlightened leadership (i.e., to swim against the current of the 21st century) would probably not have been such an issue if the Bush-Cheney cabal had not been allowed to seize power in 2000, and subsequently subject us all to its global business plan, thinly veneered, as it was, with neo-con ideology. (In many ways, Cheney's secret energy plan is at least as important a document as PNAC itself.)
At the turn of the Millennium, with a forward-looking national security policy, Clinton-Gore had indeed built a bridge to the 21st Century. The first terrorist act wasn't 9/11, it was the blowing up of that bridge, a heinous act perpetrated by those who high-jacked a national election instead of commercial jetliner.
Without the heavy-handedness of the Bush-Cheney national insecurity team -- e.g., the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the "Axis of Evil" formulation, the doctrine of malign neglect in regard to Israel and Palestine, the tearing up of the ABM treaty, etc. -- there would have been more room to adapt and realign, we would not have been led into such disaster, isolation and despair; we could have met the challenges of sustainability, global warming and geopolitical realignment and turned them into opportunities for bettering life for most people on the planet.
A geopolitical world-view predicated on empire (and by extension, disproportionate militarism) not only conjures death and destruction, it is incapable of viewing sustainability issues (e.g., energy, water, population, etc.) as anything other than a struggle for strategic advantage and hegemony over resources. It is the Treasure of Sierra Madres syndrome. At the end of the movie, there will nothing left but gold dust swirling in a wind storm.
Whether you walk in the corridors of power or on the streets of anonymity, you should contemplate Gorbachaev's remarks, and ask yourself where are we going as a nation?
You should also look at what the invasion and occupation of Iraq is doing to our psyche, our economy and our strategic position in the harsh light of what happened to the Soviets as a result of their invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.
Beyond that, I urge you to support organizations that promote family planning and water convervation. Start counting heads all around you, and be grateful for every drop of water. We are all in for it now.
Here are brief excerpts from three important news stories, with links to the full texts:
Calls for increased help from Washington are on the rise as global efforts to tackle the world's burgeoning water and sanitation crisis have largely failed to produce any meaningful results so far.
"Support, sponsor, solve," read a full-page newspaper advertisement released by an advocacy group this week, urging the U.S. Congress to pass a piece of legislation that would significantly increase U.S. funding for safe drinking water worldwide.
If adopted, the proposed bill, known as the Water for the Poor Act, would allocate no less than $300 million in assistance to improve water and sanitation conditions in the developing world. ... Research shows that in many parts of the world water tables are continuing to fall and rivers are drying up.
"As the world's demand for water has tripled over the last half-century and as the demand for hydroelectric power has grown even faster, dams and diversions of river water have drained many rivers dry," says Lester Brown, author of several books and president of the Washington, DC-based Earth Policy Institute, an independent environmental policy think tank. Haider Rizvi, Washington Pressed to Lead as Water Tables Fall, OneWorld US, 7-28-07
The new head of the Science Museum has an uncompromising view about how global warming should be dealt with: get rid of a few billion people. Chris Rapley, who takes up his post on September 1, is not afraid of offending. 'I am not advocating genocide,' said Rapley. 'What I am saying is that if we invest in ways to reduce the birthrate - by improving contraception, education and healthcare - we will stop the world's population reaching its current estimated limit of between eight and 10 billion.
'That in turn will mean less carbon dioxide is being pumped into the atmosphere because there will be fewer people to drive cars and use electricity. The crucial point is that to achieve this goal you would only have to spend a fraction of the money that will be needed to bring about technological fixes, new nuclear power plants or renewable energy plants. However, everyone has decided, quietly, to ignore the issue.' Robin McKie, The Observer, Guardian/UK 7-22-07
[Former Soviet president Mikhail] Gorbachev who presided over the break-up of the Soviet Union, said Washington had sought to build an empire after the Cold War ended but had failed to understand the changing world.
"The Americans then gave birth to the idea of a new empire, world leadership by a single power, and what followed?" Gorbachev asked reporters at a news conference in Moscow.
"What has followed are unilateral actions, what has followed are wars, what has followed is ignoring the U.N. Security Council, ignoring international law and ignoring the will of the people, even the American people." ... "When I look at today's world I have a worrying feeling about the growth of world disorder," he said. ... "It is a massive strategic mistake: no single centre can command the entire world, no one," he said. "Current America has made so many mistakes."
He said the U.S. administration was apparently unable to adapt to a swiftly changing world and had ignored -- or was unable to see -- the rise of Brazil, Russia, India and China as economic heavyweights.
Treaties limiting the number of nuclear weapons should be observed, he said, adding that officials in Washington should be wary of sparking a new arms race. Guy Faulconbridge, Russia's Gorbachev says U.S. is sowing world disorder, Reuters, 7-27-07
Some Posts Related to Geopolitics and Sustainability
Hard Rain Journal 7-6-07: At The Red Mosque, Bloodshed; At Nalanda University, Hope
Hard Rain Journal 6-10-07: Chalmers Johnson on George Washington, Ron Paul, the False Iraq-as-Korea Meme, & the Fall of Roman & Soviet Empires
Hard Rain Journal 6-3-07: Think the "Cold War" Ended Well for All of Us? Think Again. Could Have, Should Have, But Didn't.
Hard Rain Journal 4-18-07: India and the Dark Side of Globalization -- Thomas Friedman's Fairy Tales versus Arundhati Roy's Reality Tour
Hard Rain Journal 4-19-07: Sustainability Update -- Simple Truths
Hard Rain Journal 3-22-07: Sustainability Update -- World Water Day -- What Would You Do With Your Last Seven Drops of Water?