Re: Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is NOT a Pollutant
However, I categorically repudiate Russ’s direct claims that we as Westerners, because we have consumed oil and just about every other non-replaceable natural resource on the planet, are morally equivalent to terrorists who deliberately take the lives of others. [/quote]
Well, and now that we know the effects of this, and how Peak Oil will require that any high consumption society be ever more violent and exploitative to secure the ever more difficult oil or "alternative" supplies (especially agrofuels), while the climate crisis condemns an ever growing legion of millions to displacement, conflict, starvation, disease, and despair, how long can anyone continue to nevertheless call for business as usual before he is morally equivalent? I do indeed say we are past that point.
"You really should read some history on the Middle East. There were pirates in the 1800’s (circa 1780-1810) who took hijacked and be-headed US merchant vessel crews. Yes, for almost 30 years, Americans at sea were indiscriminantly hijacked, many killed, and others held for ransom. Were we guilty of oil exploitation then? Ironically, this forced us to build a Navy and allowed us to be unwittingly prepared just in time for the War of 1812 against England.
Once we had the ability to defend our vessels, or attack port cities that supported piracy, the Barbary Pirates stopped. Then there were relatively good relations between the west and the Middle East for the entire 19th century.
Things really did not start to change until Europe and the US started directly supporting the creation of a Jewish state. The Balfour Paper (which was written right around WWI) from England officially called for the creation of a Jewish homeland and is often cited as a key development in the creation of what would become Israel. Everyone knows the basic history from that point on: WWII, genocide, and the final official formation of Israel.
You cannot examine the Middle East and Islamic terrorism without taking into account the Israel/Palestinian issue, and it is quite a complicated one. You oversimplify and view the entire world through your hate-America glasses, and you put anyone who disagrees with you in a box labelled "right wing radical capitalist exploitator" I suppose.
I am not calling for a continuaton of a non-sustainable lifestyle, but I definitely do not consider myself inmoral for living the life I have or consider the US responsible for the misery you blame it for in other parts of the world. We’ve made our mistakes, but the US has been and continues to be the brightest beacon of light for freedom and peace around the world. I firmly believe that and if you do not, I suggest you read a little US history or do some real travelling."
I’m all too familiar with American history. Perhaps never did so much potential fail so badly in such a short period of time. Praised be fate that the fossil fuel blip is almost over. Who knows, America might get another shot at greatness. That’s what I’m here to fight for.
As for nascent globalism, it and oil are different aspects of the same drive for material dominance. That American trade in the Mediterranean at the turn of the 19th century did not involve oil but luxury goods does not change the fundamental combination of gratuitous size, gratuitous expense, and pointlessness. The so-called war against the Barbary pirates was more a macho thing than anything else. "Millions for defense, not a cent for tribute" and the rest of it (which for some reason doesn’t seem to apply in the case of the TooBigtoFail banks). Of course there was no real reason to spend a cent or millions, since there was no real reason to be there at all. Even the politicians of the time didn’t bother claiming any real interest was at stake.
Anyway, whatever cargo, small by today’s measure, America was shipping in the Mediterranean at that time, and whatever miniscule non-oil trade it may have in the Mideast today, has long since been overwhelmingly superseded by the oil imperative.
As for Israel, I can think of two reasons why a Jewish state was advocated and then established in Palestine. First, Zionist ideology. Second, the Holocaust. I could not possibly care less about the first. As for the second, WWII was again a great paroxysm of imperialist violence. It’s part of the same pattern of all imperial violence. So we anti-imperialists have nothing to answer for here (we are, if you like, "innocent"). It’s imperialists as such who have to answer for it.
Which leads to the American/Israel relationship. In a nutshell, Israel, America, and the Arab regimes have a vested interest in Israel’s existence. Israel’s interest is obvious, while America and the petrostates have a mutual interest in the status quo which has them selling oil to America. That means they use Israel as a scapegoat for their own failure to bestow power, equity, or a constructive economy on their people. The regimes fear overthrow, while America certainly does not want to have to buy the oil from its real owners, who might actually look to their own interests.
So this is why everyone wants Israel to exist. Arab leaders and terrorists (neither of whom really care about the Palestinians) can scapegoat it, America can scapegoat terrorists, and all the while the oil keeps cheaply flowing.
So my point remains the same and it remains as valid – America’s Mideast presence is a luxury and an addiction. (I forgot to add the last time, those who want the oil-guzzling lifestyle of course aren’t willing to pay for it themselves. They aren’t willing to have the price of America’s military sprawl around the globe to secure the oil and protect the sea lanes paid for by a dedicated tax at the pump, and on imported goods. Nope – the private costs are socialized through general military spending.)