Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Triple Meltdown, & Its Impact on Russia, Asia, Iran, & the Planet's Oceans

Frances Picabia, Otaiti

The Triple Meltdown, & Its Impact on Russia, Asia, Iran, & the Planet's Oceans

By Richard Power

The "Triple Meltdown"? Yes, the global financial and economic meltdown, the global climate change and sustainability meltdown, and the global human rights meltdown.

In "Economic Insecurity & the Climate Crisis: There is a Magic Bullet, There is a Holy Grail," I wrote you about how the global economic meltdown and the global climate change and sustainability meltdown were merging and morphing into a perfect storm of crisis.

In this post, let us extend the vision to acknowledge the global human rights meltdown; because, clearly, from Guantanamo to Gaza, there is inexcusable evidence that even those who should be the planet's greatest defenders of human rights have found ways to spin the Universal Declaration itself into meaningless babble. Do not mislead yourself. If we are not careful, insistent and brave, the Universal Declaration will be flushed down the toilet of history as the pressure from the economic and environmental meltdowns intensifies.

The future is full of danger and uncertainty.

Expect the unexpected.

Of course, if you are shrewd enough to expect the unexpected, you'd better be savvy enough to pay attention to the unmentioned. (By "unmentioned," of course, I mean in the US mainstream news media.)

Here are six stories that highlight some troublesome plot twists and turbulent under currents that may overtake us one way or another in the coming time. You won't be hearing about them on the mainstream news media until it is too late.

Concerning the global financial and economic meltdown, too little attention is being paid to the impact on Russia and Asia:

The year 2008 may well go down in history as a watershed in which the global financial crisis, precipitated by the collapse of Western economic models, ‘decolonised’ Asians minds, say observers. ... An increasing number of Asian economists and commentators have pointed out in recent weeks how U.S. and European governments are doing exactly the opposite of what they had advised Asian governments to do during the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Inter Press Service, 12-31-08

Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet leader, warned Russia faced “unprecedentedly difficult and dangerous circumstances” and could be “heading into a black hole”. “It is not clear what the fate of our rouble will be or if society has sufficient financial and moral resources,” he said. Financial Times, 12-26-08

One significant detail worth noting was that the riot police deployed in Vladivostok came from the Moscow region and were flown more than 6,000 kilometres to clamp down on the unsanctioned demonstration. ... The deployment of the Moscow riot police is an unmistakeable sign that the Russian leaders are nervous about the social unrest tightening around them, even though it's a subject scarcely mentioned in public. Everywhere in Russia factories have been standing still for weeks and, in some cases, even months. Workers are being sent home on unpaid leave or simply aren't being paid. A substantial wave of fresh unemployment looks more than likely as 2009 rolls around. Radio Netherlands. 12-27-08

Concerning the sustainability meltdown, too little mention is being made of the greatest danger of all, that we killing the oceans which define the very nature of life on the planet:

Each of these changes is a catastrophe. Together they make for something much worse. Moreover, they are happening alarmingly fast—in decades, rather than the aeons needed for fish and plants to adapt. Many are irreversible. It will take tens of thousands of years for ocean chemistry to return to a condition similar to its pre-industrial state of 200 years ago, says Britain’s most eminent body of scientists, the Royal Society. Many also fear that some changes are reaching thresholds after which further changes may accelerate uncontrollably. The Economist, 12-30-08

Concerning the climate meltdown, the US political establishment has wasted eight years the planet could not afford for us to waste, and if it now picks up where it left off eight years ago, instead as audacious and as radical as the circumstances demand, we could be doomed:

An emergency "Plan B" using the latest technology is needed to save the world from dangerous climate change ... The plan would involve highly controversial proposals to lower global temperatures artificially through daringly ambitious schemes that either reduce sunlight levels by man-made means or take CO2 out of the air. This "geoengineering" approach – including schemes such as fertilising the oceans with iron to stimulate algal blooms – would have been dismissed as a distraction a few years ago ... Steve Connors, Independent, 1-2-09

Concerning the human rights meltdown, consider the plight of Shirin Ebadi; she is in great danger tonight, not only because of the misogynist regime she has stood up to, but because those who should be focused on her struggle have, through their own glaring abuses, destroyed their credibility to speak or act on human rights issues in Iran or Russia or anywhere else:

Human Rights Watch: "The mob violence occurring after the Iranian government unleashed its campaign of persecution against Shirin Ebadi shows that her life is in great danger," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "Especially because the persecution of Ebadi seems to be related to her contacts with United Nations officials who were compiling a report on human rights in Iran, UN and concerned leaders everywhere should urgently make clear their support for this principled defender of human rights." Human Rights Watch, 1-2-09

For a Words of Power Archive of Human Rights Updates, click here.

For an archive of Words of Power posts on Economic Insecurity, click here.

For the Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates Archive, click here.

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

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