Material of Interest to People on the Left
TWO MINUTES TO DOOMSDAY
January 30, 2018
_ Not since 1953, when the U.S. and the Soviets exploded
thermonuclear bombs, has the world been such a powder keg! _
Photo by Toby Scott | CC BY 2.0 // CounterPunch,
Only recently, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved the
Doomsday Clock forward 30 seconds. It now registers two minutes to
midnight. Verily, it’s lights out when the clock strikes 12:00
midnight. Ka-boom, it’s over!
What’s going on?
Hitherto, in the aftermath of the Cold War, the clock was set all the
way back to 17 minutes to midnight. Thereafter, it wasn’t until
1998, when India and Pakistan staged back-to-back nuclear weapon
testing, that the famous timepiece moved forward into single digits
once again. It’s important to note that resetting the clock is not a
frivolous undertaking. A group of distinguished scientists make that
Here’s the rationale for the move closer to the dreaded midnight
hour: Upon the election of Trump, the Science and Security Board for
the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reset the Doomsday Clock to 2 ½
minutes to midnight. That was based upon extraordinarily provocative
nasty destabilizing verbiage from the president himself. Indeed, he is
commander in chief, ahem.
Thereafter, following the self-crowning glory of Trump’s
inauguration, which was an absolute bust, especially as worldwide
protests in the streets vastly outnumbered the inauguration, global
risks have measurably increased with leaders Trump & Kim exchanging
simplistic infantile barbs at every opportunity.
Not only, it’s also a fact that global risks have compounded via
U.S.-Russian relations, featuring more conflict than cooperation, as
the two Super Powers crank up tensions: (1) continuing NATO military
exercises along borders, (2) undermining the Intermediate-Range
Nuclear Forces Treaty, (3) upgrading nuclear arsenals, and (4)
eschewing arms-control negotiations. Truly, America is in conflict
within all categories that ricochet into holocaust.
On a Global basis, tensions have increased over the South China Sea.
Pakistan and India continue building larger nuclear weapon arsenals.
And, in the Middle East, the U.S. is driving a stake into the heart of
the Iranian nuclear deal. Meanwhile, and increasingly so, cyber
threats risk outages of infrastructure power grids and water sources.
Exasperating this perilous world scenario, there is the real threat of
fundamental breakdown in the international order because of U.S.
behavior, torpedoing trustworthiness amongst nations whilst also
undermining, and in fact ridiculing, a very sober Paris 2015 climate
accord. In point of fact, U. S. leadership has turned deceptive and
unreliable to predict or discern between sincerity and mere rhetoric,
intermeshed within goofy twitter messages. Confusion and conflicting
policy statements confront allies with despair.
Further endangering the world community, it is all too evident that
the Trump administration is true grit for neoliberal spirits. In fact,
it is speculated that if the Science and Security Board for the
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists computed risks of holocaust based
upon the tenets behind rampant neoliberal capitalism, the clock would
be reset to one minute before midnight. Indeed, especially under
Trump, and especially with a big tax cut combined with rejection of
any effort whatsoever to tame global warming. The biosphere is at a
heighten level of risk under Trump.
The case can be made that the planet is at peak risk because of
neoliberal socio-politico-economic policies that are equal in weight
to the threat of nuclear holocaust. Neoliberal capitalism runs
roughshod over the social contract and ignores ecological
responsibility. For certain, there is no profit to be found in social
contracts or ecological caretaking.
As a result, after 35 years of hardcore neoliberalism, the ecosystem
is exhausted, frayed, and starting to collapse. Indeed, neoliberal
principles of privatization of public assets, rugged individualism,
and free-market dicta scrunch every class below the one percent whilst
tossing aside ecological concerns into the gutter. Similar to a hefty
steamroller, neoliberal ascendency literally flattens the social
contract and tosses aside care for the biosphere.
The brand spanking new tax cut leveled at propping up corporations and
the super rich exposes $1.5T in new governmental debt. Ipso facto,
government must be cut to the bone to satisfy Republican dogma. Hence,
the middling classes will be screwed, as the poor get decimated.
Socially conscious and ecologically beneficial government will be, and
is already, ripped apart. The checks and balances that keep the
ecosystem humming, like the EPA, are systematically ravaged via
executive order whilst giving the finger to the Paris 2015 climate
This ongoing massive unraveling of guardianship for the ecosystem is
smack dab in the crosshairs of a mean-spirited Ayn Rand-type
conspiracy, taking full control over America. Rule via decadence is
taking America back to late 19th century socio-politico-economic
principles, “when men will be men.” As it happens, Trump is
turning loose the most boorish elements of the transnational elite.
Meanwhile, the planet simmers with overheating symptoms, and emits an
orangish glow because of massive chemical saturation, threatening
civilization down to its core. The biosphere can ill afford the
world’s largest economy rejecting remedial efforts. If the Science
and Security Board for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists gave
equal weight to ecosystem debasement as it does nuclear threats, the
Atomic Clock would bust a spring.
Alas, because of excessive levels of CO2 emitted by humans with
resultant global warming, which the Trump group exacerbates, the
planet is weak in the knees, especially where people don’t see it,
as for example, (1) The all-important Atlantic ocean conveyor belt
circulation pattern, aka: Thermohaline, has already started to slow
down way ahead of schedule because of global warming, (2) Oceans have
lost 40% of plankton production over the past 50 years, threatening
loss of one of the major sources of oxygen for the planet, (3) In
2017, the Gulf of Mexico’s Dead Zone, where oxygen is so weak that
fish die, is the largest ever at 8,800 square miles, (4) Kelp Forests
in the ocean, the equivalent of terrestrial Rain Forest, are being
wiped out from Tasmania to California, (5) Greenland experienced total
surface melt for the first time in scientific history, (6) The massive
Arctic meltdown threatens runaway global warming (“RGW”) as
methane hydrates are exposed, bringing in its wake burn-out
agriculture, (7) Irreversible Antarctica ice sheet collapse has
But still, overshadowing all threats to civilization, positive climate
feedbacks are starting to influence the global warming process,
meaning the planet itself is on autopilot, emitting one molecule of
CO2 via hands-free positive feedbacks for every two molecules of CO2
emitted by human activity. (Source: Scripps Institution of
Oceanography) This one fact alone is reason enough to move the
Doomsday Clock much, much, much closer to midnight.
Postscript: “There are growing signs that the Pentagon and the CIA
are pressing ahead with preparations for a preemptive war against
North Korea, including the use of nuclear weapons. There have been
multiple reports in the American corporate media of behind-the-scenes
discussions between the US military and intelligence apparatus and the
Trump administration of the feasibility of a so-called “bloody
nose” attack, involving US air strikes on North Korean nuclear
facilities, with the expectation—however ill-founded—that they
would not provoke a full-scale war. (Source: Alex Lockie, news editor,
Business Insider: “US Stealth Bombers in Guam Appear to be Readying
for a Tactical Nuclear Strike on North Korea,” Defend Democracy
Press, Jan. 28, 2018)
_[Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached
at [log in to unmask]]_
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