Cold War, Warm Planet: Back in the USSR

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

Josef Stalin

Josef Stalin

It has not been a good year for Malaysian Airlines. I’m wishing now I’d sold my stock. First there was the long-lost flight MH370, at the bottom of the ocean now somewhere, and now this, cold-blooded aer-o-plane-o-cide in Ukraine. Where have we gone wrong, that the world has come to this?

This is not a case of war, or even terror. It is a case of stupidity. Give a monkey a machine and this is what you get. They will drive the car right off the cliff. They will shoot airplanes out of the sky. And they will frack every last bit of oil out of the very bedrock of the earth, just to power those machines.

Of course this ill-fated flight MH17 has much more in common with KL007, the Korean Airlines flight that was shot down near Sakhalin Island in 1983 in what was then the USSR. But that was then. This is now. That was the USSR, known for its Commie paranoia. This is Russia, supposedly a prime player in the second-tier BRIC level of emerging capitalist movers and shakers. What gives? Does paranoia run in the DNA? Stupidity does.

We’re all monkeys in this machine, and we all bear some responsibility. Those flights could be on detour around the war zone; but that would cost an extra dollar, wouldn’t it? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

But war is the least of my worries, really. People are killing each other probably less than ever, in outright warfare, at least, that is. The Old Testament is nothing but ethnic cleansing. Sound familiar?

I’m more worried about the environment, where the connection between cause and effect is much more abstract and indirect, where the effects are spread over a much longer time and much wider territory, where the culprit must be hypothesized from reams of facts and figures gleaned from data collected over the last century over the entire planet. Who will sift through the wreckage from total environmental disaster?

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