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Choosing up teams of nations to make military alliances to wage war….we have to stop doing that.  We now need one alliance, of all nations, to wage the real war against the real existential threat.  Climate heating.  Our global annual military spending of $2,000,000,000,000 ($2 trillion) should not be wasted on war. Climate heating is the enemy we created and that we must now defeat.  Or, our civilization, and most of us, will die.

On almost any day, we read news of climate change events: heat waves, wild fires, melting glaciers, dying animals, floods, violent storms, rising seas.  And on the same day, also see news of increasing readiness for war: new weapons, military alliance meetings, threats and counter-threats, military maneuvers.

On June 12, the BBC reported that the temperature in Greenland was over 17 C (62 F). Normally, it is below freezing that time of year. BBC said an estimated 2 billion tons of ice melted that day.

Also on June 12, NATO hosted the “Noble Jump” military exercises in Poland, near Russia.  Over 2,000 German, Dutch, and Norwegian troops practiced rapid deployment for war against Russia. Russia does not have the resources or the rationale to attack Poland.

In fact, the month of June was the hottest month ever recorded for planet Earth.  According to Europe’s Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS), there were over 100 Arctic wild fires in June, releasing over 50 megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere. That is as much CO2 as 10 million cars emit in one year.

But the meeting of NATO’s defense ministers at the end of June was focused on Trump’s termination of the 1987 “Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty” and on the crisis caused by NATO member Turkey buying weapons from Russia.

On July 8, “Arctic News” reported temperatures in Alaska over 35 C (95 F). Satellite images showed more than 50 forest fires burning in Alaska. On that day, CO2 in the atmosphere over Alaska measured 561 ppm.

Also on July 8, Britain’s Prime Minister spoke at NATO’s Maritime Command Centre. She boasted of Royal Marines attacking an Iranian oil tanker in the Strait of Gibralter, of Britain’s Typhoon jets scrambling to follow Russian aircraft over international waters, and of the “Baltops” naval maneuvers with 50 surface ships, 2 submarines, 40 aircraft and over 8,000 troops from 18 nations practicing for war with Russia. She boasted of “continuing our investment in the future of warfare,”, of increasing Britain’s war budget by £1.8 billion, of 2 new aircraft carriers soon to be at sea, and a new class of submarines now under construction.

Two days later, on July 10, spreading Alaskan wild fires pushed atmospheric CO2 readings to 888 ppm. For comparison, global atmospheric CO2 in 1980 was less than 350 ppm.

That same day, “Military Times” headlined that the Pentagon is shifting $50 million in budget allocations to speed up development of hypersonic missiles.

Something is wrong, don’t you think?

On July 25, CAMS released satellite images showing over 100 forest fires in Siberia and Alaska.  CO2 levels over northeast Siberia were 1205 ppm.  Two days later, temperatures in Western Europe exceeded 40 C (104 F), breaking historical heat records in many cities.

The next day, the “Military Times” published the 10 best military pics for the week ending July 28.  Two of the 10 were photos of war planes flying over Alaska.

On July 31, Huffington Post reported the highest temperature ever recorded in Japan, 41 C (106 F) in Kumagaya, near Tokyo.  40 people died of heat-related causes.

The day before, on July 30, “Aviation Weekly” reported that Japan has begun procurement of 20 unmanned helicopters for its navy, as Japan prepares to fight China and North Korea over ownership of disputed rock idlands.

It should be obvious that the climate crisis is here, that it is accelerating, that it threaten us, that it is killing us.  It should be obvious that maximum international cooperation is needed to reduce and reverse climate heating if we are to prevent the collapse of modern civilization. But we are fixated on making alliances in order to wage more war. It is an historical habit, or maybe an addiction, that we seem unable to stop even if it kills us.

Here is a brief history of alliance wars (based on Wikipedia):

  • In the Seven Years War (1756-1763), Team A (UK, Prussia, Portugal) beat Team B (France, Austria, Spain, Russia, Sweden).
  • In the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815), Team A (Russia, Austria, UK, Prussia, Saxony, Sweden) beat Team B (France, Spain, Denmark, Persia).
  • In the Crimean War (1853-1856), Team A (Ottomans, France, UK, Sardinia) beat Team B (Russia, Greece, Bulgaria).
  • In World War I (1914-1918), Team A (France, UK, Russia, Canada, Serbia, Belgium, Japan, Italy, USA, Romania, Portugal) beat Team B (Germany, Austria, Ottomans, Bulgaria).
  • In World War II (1939-1944), Team A (France, USSR, UK, USA, China, Canada, Australia, NZ) beat Team B (Germany, Austria, Italy, Japan, Finland).
  • In the Korean War (1950-1953), Team A (USA, UK, Canada, Turkey, Australia, NZ, Thailand Greece, France, Belgium, Netherlands) tied Team B (North Korea, China, USSR)
  • In the Vietnam War (1955-1975), Team A (N. Vietnam, China, USSR, N. Korea) defeated Team B (France, USA, Australia, S. Korea, NZ, Thailand).
  • In the Cold War (1946-1991), Team A (USA and its NATO allies) bankrupted Team B (Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies) .
  • In the First Gulf War (1990-1991), Team A (USA, UK, France, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt plus 29 lesser allies) beat Team B (Iraq).
  • In the Second Gulf War (2003), Team A (USA, UK, Australia, Poland, plus 37 nations in “Coalition of the Willing”) beat Team B (Iraq).
  • In the Afghan War (2001-2019), Team A (Afghan Taliban) is beating Team B (USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, plus 46 other allies).

Clearly, we have a long historical habit of making military alliances. Clearly, since the 1990s, our fixation on military alliances has lost all sense.  In the 1st and 2nd Gulf Wars, 40 allied nations overwhelmed 1 nation, twice, in 12 years.  But in the Afghan War, 50 allied nations are being defeated by 1.

In these recent wars, it is also the case that the enemy the alliance fights had earlier been trained and armed by alliance members themselves. This is true for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. That is crazy.

All during these last 3 decades of crazy wars of alliance, we have known that we must drastically curtail our use of fossil fuels and must build totally new energy, transportation, and housing infrastructures to be able to live in a sustainable way on a finite planet.  If we don’t, we die.  We knew this, but still could not break our habit of making military alliances to wage war.  We are wasting fiscal, material, manufacturing resources, wasting decades of precious time, wasting humans, on what?  Military alliances and wars. Those resources and people could be, should be, used to defeat climate heating and to build a sustainable civilization.

Floyd Rudmin, Professor Emeritus, Social & Community Psychology University of Tromsø, Norway


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One Comment

  1. Alan Johnstone says:

    No mention of what causes climate change or modern war. If you cannot identify the cause, you cannot prescribe a cure.

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