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The U.S. must downsize its military budget to meet the climate crisis.

The dog days of summer are upon us — and the record high temperatures killing hundreds in the Pacific Northwest and bringing 118 degree heat to Siberia serve as a harbinger of even hotter, more dangerous days unless we address the elephant in the room.

 

The Pentagon

As the largest institutional consumer of oil and, therefore, the largest single U.S. emitter of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG’s), the Pentagon must reduce its carbon footprint of wars and weapons production as well as its bootprint — including tens of thousands of troops deployed worldwide at 800 overseas military bases and one under construction on Okinawa.
To avoid the worst of the climate crisis, President Joe Biden, Congress and the public can reject an interventionist foreign policy fueled by the drive for full-spectrum dominance of the air, land, sea and space. Otherwise, we brace ourselves for ever rising sea levels: extreme weather, drought, famine — all of which, according to the World Bank, could result in 143-million climate refugees by 2050.
Brown University’s Cost of War Project reports the Pentagon’s GHG’s exceed those of many industrialized nations, such as Denmark, Sweden and Portugal, with the “War on Terror” alone producing 1,267 million metric tons of GHG’s, the carbon equivalent of a 12-million pound mountain of coal.
MILITARISME FUELS CLIMATE CrOne B-52 Stratofortress, Boeing’s long-range bomber, consumes as much fuel in an hour as the average car driver uses in seven years, according to the National Priorities Project. Biden’s proposed record-high FY-22 $753-billion military budget includes $12 billion for 85 problem-plagued F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets designed to carry both conventional and nuclear weapons. With $100 million price tag on each jet, the weapons system is an environmentalist’s nightmare that emits tons of earth-warming polluting compounds, from Carbon Monoxide to Nitrous Oxide to Sulfur Dioxide, chemicals that act as blankets trapping the heat.
Moreover, the F-35 has been plagued by maintenance issues and software glitches, raising additional environmental concerns. “If it crashes, its 10,000 pounds of combustible material would burn in the inferno created by 2, 700 pounds of jet fuel,” according to the organization ‘Safe Skies and Clean Water Wisconsin’, which has filed lawsuits charging the federal government with failing to conduct adequate environmental assessments.
Meanwhile, the Senate Armed Services Committee, led by Chair Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and ranking member Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Ok), claims Biden’s military budget is too skinny and has voted to boost the top line by another $25 billion. This despite the fact that the Pentagon has failed three audits for failing to produce details reports on its assets and liabilities.

The Enemy We Know: Global Warming

BRANCHE SUR LAQUELLEDefenders of record high near trillion-dollar military budgets counter that we must protect ourselves from enemies across the world. Ironically, the enemy we know, global warming, poses the most urgent existential threat: the wildfire, the flash flood, the heat wave.
Never mind, they say; solar-powered bases, electric Humvees and nuclear-powered warships will solve the Pentagon’s carbon emissions problem.
Not so.
The environmental impacts from manufacturing new weapons systems, shipping those weapons to other continents, bombing infrastructure in the Middle East and flying thousands of troops to the Asia Pacific comes with an unthinkable climate price tag.
Yes, climate champions must sound the alarm before Congress legislates increased troop deployments to the South China Sea and the Department of Defense expands its Pacific Deterrence Initiative to establish a network of precision-strike missiles surrounding China. To threaten a military confrontation with China would not only put the lives of millions at risk, push us to the brink of nuclear war and release a fury of GHG’s with each missile launched, but also sabotage Climate Envoy John Kerry’s efforts to collaborate with China on the U.S.-China Joint Statement Addressing the Climate Crisis.

One approach to educating Americans about the cost of U.S. militarism would be to support Veterans for Peace in their campaign to mandate the Pentagon monitor the carbon emissions of the military. This requires setting goals for GHG reduction and sharing detailed emission results — from overseas bases, new weapons production, troop deployments — with Congress, the White House and the press.
Ideally, such reporting would be made public before Congress votes and the President signs budgets for the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Energy, (DOE) the overseer of ramped up radioactive plutonium pit production for new nuclear weapons.
Unfortunately, though not surprisingly, the U.S. has repeatedly insisted on excluding requirements to reduce military carbon emissions from international climate agreements, including the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.
Now, however, is our chance to choose a different path. If Biden and Congress were to recognize the role Pentagon emissions play in warming the planet, the 197 countries participating in the UN Climate Change Conference, Nov. 1-12 in Glasgow, Scotland, might forge a new climate agreement in which participants agree to also monitor and reduce military GHG’s.
The COP26 Coalition which includes activists from CODEPINK and 350.org plans to protest in the streets outside the conference and support simultaneous protests in the United States. CODEPINK has developed a “Disarm for our Planet and Peace” web page to organize solidarity actions in the United States and abroad and demand the COP26 participants agree to reduce military greenhouse gas emissions.
MARCY WINOGRADActivists will demand climate justice for marginalized communities, and what better way to address the disproportionate climate impact of militarism on indigenous populations and communities of color located near U.S. military bases or fleeing climate catastrophe than for conference countries to pledge to reduce their militaries’ earth warming emissions.
Biden can begin with an executive order requiring the Pentagon make public its efforts to reduce earth warming emissions, meet specific goals and lighten our heavy carbon footprint in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia Pacific.
Congress can begin by passing legislation to mandate the military report and reduce its emissions by closing bases and eliminating unnecessary weapons systems. Ultimately, the U.S. must downsize its military budget to meet the climate crisis.

Marcy Winograd

of Progressive Democrats of America who served as a 2020 DNC Delegate for Bernie Sanders and co-founded the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party. Coordinator of CODEPINKCONGRESS,
This article comes from 'Common Dreams'.

PRIXn NOBEL PAIXYou could be forgiven for assuming that governments of the world inhabit two parallel universes.In July this year, Australia launched the 2020 Defence Strategic Update, which concluded that its region “is in the midst of the most consequential strategic realignment since the Second World War”. Pledging more than a quarter of a trillion dollars in new and upgraded capabilities between now and 2030, Prime Minister Scott Morrison invoked the 1930s to warn of “the multiple challenges and radical uncertainty we face”.
In contrast, the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (the Ban Treaty) presents as hopes among some other nations that sheer force of will is enough to bring about a world free of nuclear weapons. Established in 2017, the Ban Treaty commits states parties not to manufacture, transfer, station or receive and “never to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons”. The Treaty represents a watershed insofar as it obligates complete nuclear disarmament with no conditions – unlike the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which has carve-outs for the five countries that tested nuclear devices prior to 1 January 1967 and aims to achieve nuclear disarmament in the context of general disarmament.
Regrettably, however, the Ban Treaty is a triumph of wishful thinking over realism.
Rather than fashion a treaty that provides a practical pathway to eliminating nuclear weapons, the Ban Treaty’s authors have actually made it harder. As members of the NPT, North Korea, Iran and Iraq all agreed not to acquire nuclear weapons, and have sought to do so anyway. The Ban Treaty does not even try to address the problem of verification and compliance.

Lire la suite : TPNW: Wishful thinking 

DOVE break GLASSRight now, the wealthiest, most scientifically advanced country in history is being brought to its knees by a virus it knew was coming. And having failed to adequately invest in pandemic protection measures, the U.S. government now is fighting a war against COVID-19. But, if the past two decades have taught us anything, we should know that “war” is the wrong metaphor and our military is the wrong tool.
Contrary to what President Trump, former vice-president Joe Biden and others might say, we are not “at war” with COVID-19. Given the unprecedented nature of this virus, it makes sense that we would be drawn to the idea that mobilizing for a health crisis requires us to have a wartime mindset. However, equating a “determined, coordinated national response” with war mobilization, rather than with community care, is precisely the problem. In fact, part of the reason we’re in this predicament is that we hollowed out America’s public health system in favor of military spending.
America isn’t ready for this pandemic because our government has been spending money on the wrong things. Instead of putting money towards fighting disease or alleviating suffering, the U.S. spent enormous sums over the past couple of decades on war and war preparation.
The federal budget “is the skeleton of the state stripped of all misleading ideologies,” economist Joseph Schumpeter once wrote. In other words, national budget choices reflect the most basic structure of who we are as a people. In the U.S., federal budget priorities have yielded a body politic well suited for war even as public health, education and infrastructure all have atrophied. Each year, Congress allocates the great majority of discretionary federal dollars to the Department of Defense, the nuclear weapons program in the Department of Energy, and the Veteran’s Administration for care of veterans. We have stockpiled thousands of nuclear weapons but not enough ventilators.

Lire la suite : Fighting a virus with the wrong tools

 THREATI have been thinking principally about the various kinds of security we all want and the various kinds of insecurity we face. Upon reflection, these turn out to be much broader than the way the concepts of security and insecurity are usually understood.
When we think of security in all its senses, it seems to me that the importance of global justice for security simply cannot be stated too. And secondly, it seems to me that public goods are essential for justice and hence for security—both here in the United States and around the world.
But first let us consider how security is commonly understood. 

As it is usually talked about these days, as in “Office of Homeland Security,” “our national security,” “the conflict between civil liberties and security considerations,” “security was tightened,” or, more mundanely, “security guards,” the threats to our security are always intentional threats to our safety and well being, which of course means they are threats by people, whether individuals, groups, or nations.
Not so long ago, Communists were said to pose the biggest threat, now it is “terrorists” and “rogue nations.”
Security is a major growth business here and in many other parts of the world and an increasingly ‘high tech’ one. While we used to worry about intentional threats only from criminals, now our daily lives have been transformed by far more serious security concerns. More and more people have to carry, even to wear ID cards, big concrete blocks line the sidewalks of many of our streets and our access to countless public buildings is tightly controlled by phalanxes of security guards and video monitors. But most people pay little attention; the possibility of terrorist attacks has been normalized.

Intentional Threats

BRANCHE SUR LAQUELLEGenerally speaking, most Americans’ concern about security today that is posed in terms of the word “security” is about intentional threats by people. We pay much less attention to threats to our safety and well being that are from nature rather than people, or are only indirectly from people, as unintentional consequences of human action. Though we read all the time about the dangers of global warming—a threat from nature that is an unintended result of human action—that is not what is usually intended by a “security” threat and it does not grip our imagination and fears in any way proportional to its severity. Hans Blix, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said, “I’m more worried about global warming than about war.” But even for those of us who share his assessment of the severity of the threat of global warming, I think that such threats do not grip our imagination and fear in any way proportional to their seriousness.

Lire la suite : Security and Global Justice


NATO meetingNATO’s main enemy is supposed to be Russia. It doesn’t matter that Russia’s military expenditures are about 6-7 % of NATO’s total expenditures (29 countries). It doesn’t matter that NATO’s technical quality is superior. It doesn’t matter that Russia’s military expenditures are falling year-by-year – decreased to US $ 64 billion in 2018 from US $ 66 billion in 2017. It doesn’t matter that Russia’s military expenditures averaged only US $ 45 billion from 1992 until 2018. And it doesn’t matter that the old Warsaw Pact budget were some 65-75% of NATO’s during the first Cold War and we were told back then that some kind of balance was good for stability and peace. Today we are told that the more superiority NATO has, the better it is for world peace.
In short, reality doesn’t matter anymore to NATO. And this is where the 2 per cent of GNP comes into play and reveals just how deep NATO’s crisis is. But have you seen anybody questioning this 2 per cent goal as the philosophical nonsense – or forgery – it is?
It resembles the Theatre of the Absurd to tie military expenditures to the economic performance of a country. Imagine a person sets off 10 % of her/his income to buy food. Sudden he or she wins in a lottery or is catapulted into a job that yields a 5 times higher income. Should that person then also begin to eat 5 times more?
The 2 per cent goal is an absurdity, an indicator of defence illiteracy. People who take it serious – in politics, media and academia – obviously have never read a basic book about theories and concepts in the field of defence and security. Or about how one makes a professional analysis of what threatens a country.
If military expenditures are meant to secure a country’s future, do the threats that this country faces also vary according to its own GNP? Of course not! It is a bizarre assumption.

Lire la suite : NATO - The 2 per cent goal