Homo Sapiens Humans Nuclear War

Crucial to understanding the present day world is an understanding of its two major crises and their close inter-connection.

The first crisis is the survival crisis. It consists of a number of ways in which the basic life-nurturing conditions of our planet are threatened by human made factors. One important factor is the emergence of about a dozen very serious environmental problems at global level, led by but not confined to climate change. These environmental problems are related to each other and their impact taken together is much aggravated. Several of these environmental problems involve tipping points beyond which these can aggravate at a very fast pace and even spiral out of control, more or less.

Another important way in which the life-nurturing capacity of earth is threatened is from the accumulation and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as well as the increasing possibility of their actual use. These include nuclear weapons, chemical and biological weapons, robot weapons and weapons of space warfare.

These two main factors (not to mention a few others of somewhat lesser magnitude) together are responsible for the first crisis of earth, the survival crisis.

The second most important world crisis arises from the ever-increasing tendency to gain more control and dominance, to the extent that a very small number of persons have concentrated in them unprecedented power and resources at world level.

The more obvious level of this second crisis, however, is at the level of various nations. This is most commonly discussed by asking questions like—Can the USA mobilize NATO and close allies to dominate world as never before or can China and Russia check this? However there can be efforts of seeking dominance by finance and industrial interests which can transcend these more obvious national rivalries for dominance. In fact even during the Second World War we see big financial and industrial interests in the USA retaining their business links with Nazi Germany. In fact one such leading family provided two future Presidents of the USA, both linked to entirely avoidable invasions which led to the loss of life for thousands of innocent persons.

Hence it will be short-sighted to see the quest for dominance entirely or even mainly at the level of national rivalries. Various powerful nations are trying to pursue dominance, if not at world level then in their regions of influence, but there are quests for dominance and hegemony at another level too.

One way in which multinational corporations and billionaires, helped by some governments, can gain dominance is by controlling food and seed sectors. They can do this in various ways, for example by spreading such farming over vast areas which is based or has to be based on seeds, likely to be genetically modified ones, purchased from them only.

Another way for seeking such control via a basic need of people relates to increasing control of the health sector. A situation can be created in which most people are led to believe that they and their near and dear ones need essential supplies of certain pharmaceutical products that can be provided only by certain giant corporations through the channels of certain authorities. In such a situation the corporations and authorities gain such high control over people which cannot be achieved even by weapons.

The ability of certain industrial and financial interests to control food and health sectors at world level gives them excessive power of dominance. Authoritarian regimes can collude with them in mutually helpful ways to extend their dominance and control, enhancing power and dominance of both over common people.

Other means of increasing power and dominance include various forms of indebtedness. In various ways indebtedness is made unavoidable for various nations (particularly smaller nations) and this is used as a means of not just exploitation but also control and dominance. Within countries, even bigger and prosperous ones, in various ways housing, education, medical care and various livelihood pursuits—as in farming and small businesses—are made dependent on excessive indebtedness and this in turn is used as a means of increasing control. At the same time as lives of more people become more precarious and subdued, the power and dominance of elites increase.

To recapture the basic argument here, there are two major crises, the survival crisis and the crisis of increasing dominance and control. Next, it needs to be emphasized that there are important ways in which the two crises are inter-connected.

The survival crisis can be resolved in a satisfactory and sustained way only within a framework of justice, democracy and peace. This needs a big resurgence of people and their various social movements. However the other crisis of dominance creates too many hurdles in the path of such resurgence.

On the other hand the dominating elites also manipulate and misinterpret the survival issues in such ways as to advance their own narrow objectives of dominance and control, while hindering real reforms.

Thirdly, the crisis of dominance itself contributes to enhancing the survival crisis also in more direct ways, such as by increasing the manufacture, stockpiling and invention of most destructive weapons.

Hence the two most important crises are also closely related. Any effort at understanding the present day world must necessarily include a proper and comprehensive understanding of these two inter-connected crises.

Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Planet in Peril, Protecting Earth for Children and A Day in 2071.

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