Obama is poised to intervene in Syria, morally outraged by the Syrian government's chemical assault on its citizens. What seems at first glance a clear cut moral issue is, from a larger perspective, participation in the global failure cascade of Climate Destabilization. This regional horror is symptomatic of a broader process of global genocide into which we are being drawn.

The political unrest in Syria is rooted in widespread farming failure due to Climate Destabilization.

The crunch came in the context of an intensifying and increasingly regular drought cycle linked to climate change. Between 2002 and 2008, the country's total water resources dropped by half through both overuse and waste.

Once self-sufficient in wheat, Syria has become increasingly dependent on increasingly costly grain imports, which rose by 1m tonnes in 2011-12, then rose again by nearly 30% to about 4m in 2012-13. The drought ravaged Syria's farmlands, led to several crop failures, and drove hundreds of thousands of people from predominantly Sunni rural areas into coastal cities traditionally dominated by the Alawite minority.

The exodus inflamed sectarian tensions rooted in Assad's longstanding favouritism of his Alawite sect – many members of which are relatives and tribal allies – over the Sunni majority. [emphasis mine] source


This is humanity on Climate Destabilization. This is how Climate Destabilization unfolds. As environment resources supporting our lives collapse, preexisting social conflicts explode. Conflict resulting from resource depletion brings out the worst in humanity, as war has always done. War-making is intoxicating. Human "enemies" are easy for our ancient instincts to comprehend, as a focus for our rage. Both sides escalate until one sinks to mass atrocity.

The failure cascade of our planet's climate includes OUR social, political, and psychological responses. What we do in response to a deteriorating environment is an inherent component of the destructive process.

To see only the atrocities, ignoring the environment-based forces that push human beings to commit them, is morally naive. Every one of us is capable of committing atrocity with enough pressure, after years of deteriorating conditions, feeling that we must protect our families, our way of life, and everything we hold dear. When we become hopeless and desperate, we turn into monsters. (See Chris Hedges War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning)

Focus on the bottom line. The underlying cause is fossil fuel dependence gradually making our planet uninhabitable. Any military intervention increases fossil fuel use, generating a vicious cycle of its own. It also diverts funds away from clean energy programs.

What is an appropriate moral response?

  • Reframe the issue to focus on what's driving people on both sides of the conflict.  Avoid demonizing and blame.
  • Channel moral outrage on all sides into stopping the underlying process, supporting a global program to switch from fossil fuel to renewables.

It's time to see that "Climate Change" isn't just changes in the air and water, it's "People Change" in the worst sense. Climate Change is People Change! Got it?

Our response to Syria is a critical tipping point. We will either make climate destabilize even faster or channel our outrage constructively. Put another way we will take another step toward being monsters ourselves by trying to rescue perceived victims from perceived enemies, or we'll  take a baby step toward globally responsible mature humanity.

image source(from unrelated topic)

ADDENDUM

If you want to tell congress that you'll refuse to reelect any member who votes for war on Syria go to Peace Voter Pledge

Tags: Climate Change, Climate Destabilization, Syria, failure cascade, military intervention, moral framing

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Replies to This Discussion

I hate the idea of us "letting thousands die" too, but I don't think we have the ability to respond that we imagine. The world isn't a simple military game on a stable platform. Responsibility is based on ability to respond. Because the real problem is Climate Destabilization, I see our only moral response to be a serious global effort for green energy.

To imagine that we have the power to respond militarily is naive, it's misunderstanding the situation. Assad's actions are a symptom, not the problem. In my view assuming that military intervention would be helpful is short-sighted and arrogant.

SB, one year after I returned from the Korean War, the US of A overthrew an elected government in Iran and installed a tyrant. We trained his secret police to frighten the Iranian people into obedience. Our CIA about a week ago admitted their part in the overthrow.

From the start I saw 9/11 as a long-delayed payback for decades of our funding tyrants. We didn't care how they treated their own people; we required only that they be anti-communist and send us oil.

"Our" middle-eastern tyrants oppressed the fathers and grandfathers of the men our government calls non-state actors.

Tom, I agree with you 100%. We are not an innocent victim in all this chaos ... we are part of the cause of maintaining and perpetuating the strife in that part of the world. We have to face the facts of the situation instead of deluding ourselves that we are entitled to control other peoples and influence their governments, especially the ways we train and support tyrants. 

I agree, Tom.

We do live in a sick world, booklover. But I don't think it's even possible to stave off this type of problem by going in to help when people need it. The needs are bottomless already, compared to our resources. Detroit is bankrupt. We can't even afford proper wildfire prevention programs to limit next year's megafires. But most of all the needs will just keep getting worse and worse and worse as Climate Destabilization proceeds. We're only feeling the early effects of a 1°C rise now, with 2°C already "in the pipeline", and absent a major change in global policies we're heading right for 6°C. What Syria is going through today will soon seem like a picnic compared to the meatgrinder we've arranged for our children.

You are absolutely right Ruth.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, I hope my kids never have kids.  I don't think the world will be a very good place to be in during their lifetimes.  My daughter has already said she will adopt.

Truthfully, US intervention has little, if anything, to do with the chemical attacks in Syria. Nor, does it have anything to with climate destabilization (no offense, Ruth - but in my humble opinion, that's a completely phony issue). It's homegrown, US politics, at its worst. Right now, the President of the United States, one Mr. Barack Obama, is having one helluva time dealing with the extremist right wing neo-fascists in Congress. He couldn't get a farm fertilizer bill passed if he he had a 5 mile long convoy of 18 wheelers lined up full of cow shit.

This has everything to do with who can wave the biggest external genitalia at each other. Syria used chemical weapons. Soooo, get the war mongering right wing to agree with him on use of military force against them on moral grounds. Then, if the Republican Tea Baggers vote in favor of his proposal, he wins, If they don't, they look like cowardly wimps. Which is why McCain and his closet boyfriend lover Lindsey Graham are all in favor of it. Of course, neither side has to drop the bombs. That's left to the 1st lieutenant flying through Russian supplied anti-aircraft fire. And, if that 1st lieutenant is shot down, leaving a widow and orphaned children, we'll pin a medal on his coffin, wave the flag, and praise Jesus for his bravery. And the 535 members of Congress, and the members of the executive branch will all eat chateaubriand with a bernaise sauce and a fine french burgundy, and move on to the next crisis where they can make a profit.

If the west were REALLY  all that concerned, they would have done something before 450,000+ innocent Syrians had already lost their lives. 

Ohhhh, one last thing. The last time we were told by an administration that intervening in an Asian land war was a good idea, that worked out REAL WELL  for America. Now, didn't it.

Pat, your imagery is awesome.  That convoy would be very helpful for the organic gardeners and farmers of the midwest, and would free up chemical fertilizer to make bombs.  Oh wait - that's not what I want.

Plus, feedlot cow poop is now contaminated with persistent herbicides and antibiotics, which are not good for growing tomatoes.

Sorry for the digression.  My dad used to talk about saber rattling.  His favorite expression was, "It depends on whose ox is getting gored".  He was a Republican in the old sense - before it turned into whatever it is today. 

Let's get McCain back into the cockpit and make him the first pilot to fly into Syrian airspace.  We can also re-draft GW Bush - he's well know for his flying skills too.

Then, Mr. Obama needs to return his peace prize.  I voted for him  twice.  I'm glad I did, considering the alternatives.  History may show yet him to be a great president.  But I get the feeling he's given over to the dark side of power, with "big brother" intrusion into private lives  and now pushing a war in Syria.

Daniel, thanks for the compliment. As to the President moving to the dark side, I am of the opinion he did that a long time ago; in his first term. I voted for him twice. The first time because I hoped he might actually be able to get something done. I didn't foresee the extent of the racist backlash of having a man of mixed ethnic backgrounds in the White House would have. I figured after Dubbya, how could things get any worse. Then the Tea Party took control of the House of representatives, and much to my chagrin, my questions was clearly answered. As to the 2nd time, I suppose it was more of a vote against Romney than it was for the President. Sometimes, one has little choice. 

Ahh, but the dark side. I cannot think of one single President, since FDR whom, having taken power (legitimately or illegitimately) unto the executive branch, has ever been willing to give it back. Nether Democrat nor Republican. Once, Obama got into office, he was the inheritor of every executive power grab since before FDR. Wilson's intervention in Mexico foreshadowed Truman's "police action" in Korea. Neither were declared wars (along with others too numerous to mention). Guantanamo is still open, though Obama's the CINC. And, allow me to give a shout out to all my friends at the NSA who are reading this; a program started by Obama's predecessor and continuing on today. 

As the old saying goes, power corrupts. And, once one has that kind of power, it's not going to be relinquished. "My precious," says Gollum.

Pat, I'm glad you didn't add and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

When I hear people talk of absolute power, I know they are in academia.

Outside academia, people who seek power know they have to share it with the people whose money makes their acquiring it possible, and with the people who will protect them from assassins.

I voted for him  twice.  I'm glad I did, considering the alternatives.  History may show yet him to be a great president.  But I get the feeling he's given over to the dark side of power, with "big brother" intrusion into private lives  and now pushing a war in Syria.


Me too Sentient Biped.

I voted for him  twice.  I'm glad I did, considering the alternatives.

Me too, and I worked in and contributed to his campaigns.

Yet, if he orders action in Syria without Congress's consent, I will work for his impeachment in the House and his conviction  in the Senate.

If Congress consents, this Korean War combat veteran will be very pissed off!

The SCOTUS should rule the War Powers Act, on its face, unconstitutional but they fear the reaction from our military-industrial Congress and our military-industrial Executive.

Okay, I exaggerate. A little.

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