The Situation Room, October 2039

Michael T. Klare forecasts the U.S. military predicament in a climate-crisis future. 

By Michael T. Klare

The Situation Room, October 2039: the president and vice president, senior generals and admirals, key cabinet members, and other top national security officers huddle around computer screens as aides speak to key officials across the country. Some screens are focused on Hurricane Monica, continuing its catastrophic path through the Carolinas and Virginia; others are following Hurricane Nicholas, now pummeling Florida and Georgia, while Hurricane Ophelia lurks behind it in the eastern Caribbean.

On another bank of screens, officials are watching horrifying scenes from Los Angeles and San Diego, where millions of people are under mandatory evacuation orders with essentially nowhere to go because of a maelstrom of raging wildfires. Other large blazes are burning out of control in Northern California and Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington State. The National Guard has been called out across much of the West, while hundreds of thousands of active-duty troops are being deployed in the disaster zones to assist in relief operations and firefighting.

With governors and lawmakers from the affected states begging for help, the president has instructed the senior military leadership to provide still more soldiers and sailors for yet more disaster relief. Unfortunately, the generals and admirals are having a hard time complying, since most of their key bases on the East and West Coasts are also under assault from storms, floods, and wildfires. Many have already been evacuated. Naval Station Norfolk, the nation’s largest naval base, for example, took a devastating hit from Monica and lies under several feet of water, rendering it inoperable. Camp Pendleton in California, a major Marine Corps facility, is once again in flames, its personnel either being evacuated or fully engaged in firefighting. Other key bases have been similarly disabled, their personnel scattered to relocation sites in the interior of the country.

Naval Station Norfolk in 2012. (DoD/Ernest R. Scott, Wikimedia Commons)

Foreign threats, while not ignored in this time of domestic crisis, have lost the overriding concern they enjoyed throughout the 2020s when China and Russia were still considered major foes. By the mid-2030s, however, both of those countries were similarly preoccupied with multiple climate-related perils of their own — recurring wildfires and crop failures in Russia, severe water scarcity, staggering heat waves, and perpetually flooded coastal cities in China — and so were far less inclined to spend vast sums on sophisticated weapons systems or to engage in provocative adventures abroad. Like the United States, these countries are committing their military forces ever more frequently to disaster relief at home.

As for America’s allies in Europe: well, the days of trans-Atlantic cooperation have long since disappeared as extreme climate effects have become the main concern of most European states. To the extent that they still possess military forces, these, too, are now almost entirely devoted to flood relief, firefighting, and keeping out the masses of climate refugees fleeing perpetual heat and famine in Asia and Africa.

And so, in the Situation Room, the overriding question for U.S. security officials in 2039 boils down to this: How can we best defend the nation against the mounting threat of climate catastrophe?

The Unacknowledged Peril

Read through the formal Pentagon literature on the threats to American security today and you won’t even see the words “climate change” mentioned. This is largely because of the nation’s commander-in-chief who once claimed that global warming was a hoax and that we’re better off burning ever more coal and oil than protecting the nation against severe storm events or an onslaught of wildfires. Climate change has also become a hotly partisan issue in Washington and military officers are instinctively disinclined to become embroiled in partisan political fights. In addition, senior officers have come to view Russia and China as vital threats to U.S. security — far more dangerous than, say, the zealots of ISIS or al-Qaeda — and so are focused on beefing up America’s already overpowering defense capabilities yet more.

“Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security,” the Department of Defense (DoD) affirmed in its National Defense Strategy of February 2018. “Without sustained and predictable investment to restore readiness and modernize our military to make it fit for our time, we will rapidly lose our military advantage.”

Everything in the 2018 “National Defense Strategy” and the DoD budget documents that have been submitted to Congress since its release proceed from this premise. To better compete with China and Russia, we are told, it’s essential to spend yet more trillions of dollars over the coming decade to replace America’s supposedly aging weapons inventory — including its nuclear arsenal — with a whole new suite of ships, planes, tanks, and missiles (many incorporating advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and hypersonic warheads).

For some senior officers, especially those responsible for training and equipping America’s armed forces for combat on future battlefields, weapons modernization is now the military’s overriding priority. But for a surprising number of their compatriots, other considerations have begun to intrude into long-term strategic calculations. For those whose job it is to house all those forces and sustain them in combat, climate change has become an inescapable and growing concern. This is especially true for the commanders of facilities that would play a critical role in any future confrontation with China or Russia.

Many of the bases that would prove essential in a war with China, for example, are located on islands or in coastal areas highly exposed to sea-level rise and increasingly powerful typhoons. Naval Support Facility Diego Garcia, a major logistical and submarine base in the Indian Ocean, for example, is situated on a low-lying atoll that suffers periodic storm flooding and is likely to be submerged entirely well before the end of the century. The Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site, focused on preparing American defenses against the future use of nuclear missiles by either North Korea or China, is located on Kwajalein Atoll in the midst of the Pacific Ocean and is also destined to disappear. Similarly, the country’s major naval base in Asia, at Yokosuka, Japan, and its major air facility, at Kadena on the Japanese island of Okinawa, are located along the coast and are periodically assaulted by severe typhoons.

No less at risk are radar facilities and bases in Alaska intended for defense against Russian Arctic air and naval attacks. Many of the early-warning radars overseen by the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, a joint U.S.-Canadian operation, are located on the Alaskan and Canadian shores of the Arctic Ocean and so are being threatened by sea-level rise, coastal erosion, and the thawing of the permafrost on which many of them rest.

Equally vulnerable are stateside bases considered essential to the defense of this country, as well as its ability to sustain military operations abroad. Just how severe this risk has become was made painfully clear in late 2018 and early 2019, when two of the country’s most important domestic installations, Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, were largely immobilized by extreme storm events — Hurricane Michael in one case and a prolonged rainfall in the other.

Tyndall, located on a narrow strip of land projecting into the Gulf of Mexico, housed a large fraction of America’s F-22 “Raptor” stealth fighter jets along with the 601st Air and Space Operations Center (601st AOC), the main command and control unit for aerial defense of the continental United States. In anticipation of Michael’s assault, the Air Force was able to relocate key elements of the 601st AOC and most of those F-22s to other facilities out of the hurricane’s path, but some Raptors could not be moved and were damaged by the storm. According to the Air Force, 484 buildings on the base were also destroyed or damaged beyond repair and the cost of repairing the rest of the facilities was estimated at $648 million. It is, in fact, unclear if Tyndall will ever again serve as a major F-22 base or house all the key military organizations it once contained.

President George W. Bush at the Offutt AFB command bunker on Sept. 11, 2001. (George W. Bush Presidential Library, Eric Draper, Wikimedia Commons)

Air Force Base plays a similarly critical role in America’s defense operations, housing the headquarters of the Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), which is responsible for oversight of all U.S. nuclear strike forces, including its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Also located at Offutt is the 55th Wing, the nation’s premier assemblage of reconnaissance and electronic-warfare aircraft. In March 2019, after a severe low-pressure system (often called a bomb cyclone) formed over the western plains, the upper Missouri River basin was inundated with torrential rains for several days, swelling the river and causing widespread flooding. Much of Offutt, including its vital runways, was submerged under several feet of water and some 130 buildings were damaged or destroyed. USSTRATCOM continued to operate, but many key personnel were unable to gain access to the base, causing staffing problems. As with Tyndall, immediate repairs are expected to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars and full restoration of the base’s facilities many millions more.

Wildfires in California have also imperiled key bases. In May 2014, for example, Camp Pendleton was scorched by the Tomahawk Fire, one of several conflagrations to strike the San Diego area at the time. More than 6,000 acres were burned by the blaze and children at two on-base schools had to be evacuated. At one point, a major munitions depot was threatened by flames, but firefighters managed to keep them far enough away to prevent a catastrophic explosion.

An even more dangerous fire swept through Vandenberg Air Force Base, 50 miles north of Santa Barbara, in September 2016. Vandenberg is used to launch satellite-bearing missiles into space and houses some of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense missile interceptors that are meant to shoot down any North Korean (or possibly Chinese) ICBMs fired at this country. The 2016 blaze, called the Canyon Fire, burned more than 12,000 acres and forced the Air Force to cancel the launch of an Atlas V rocket carrying an earth-imaging satellite. Had winds not shifted at the last moment, the fire might have engulfed several of Vandenberg’s major launch sites.

Such perils have not (yet) been addressed in Pentagon documents like the “National Defense Strategy” and senior officers are normally reluctant to discuss them with members of the public. Nonetheless, it’s not hard to find evidence of deep anxiety among those who face the already evident ravages of climate change on a regular basis. In 2014 and 2017, analysts from the U.S. Government Accountability Office visited numerous U.S. bases at home and abroad to assess their exposure to extreme climate effects and came back with startling reports about their encounters.

“At 7 out of 15 locations we visited or contacted,” the survey team reported in 2014, “officials stated that they had observed rising sea levels and associated storm surge and associated potential impacts, or mission vulnerabilities.” Likewise, “at 9 out of 15 locations we visited or contacted, officials stated that they had observed changes in precipitation patterns and associated potential impacts,” such as severe flooding or wildfires.

Look through the congressional testimony of top Pentagon officials and you’ll find that similar indications of unease abound. “The Air Force recognizes that our installations and infrastructure are vulnerable to a wide variety of threats, including those from weather, climate, and natural events,” said John Henderson, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and energy, at a recent hearing on installation resiliency. “Changing climate and severe weather effects have the potential to catastrophically damage or degrade the Air Force’s war-fighting readiness.”

Threats to the Home Front

At a time when U.S. bases are experiencing the ever more severe effects of climate change, the armed forces are coming under mounting pressure to assist domestic authorities in coping with increasingly damaging storms, floods, and fires from those same climate forces. A prelude to what can be expected in the future was provided by the events of August and September 2017, when the military was called upon to provide disaster relief in the wake of three particularly powerful hurricanes — Harvey, Irma, and Maria — at the very moment California and the state of Washington were being ravaged by powerful wildfires.

This unprecedented chain of disasters began on Aug. 26, when Harvey — then a Category 4 hurricane — made landfall near Houston, Texas, and lingered there for five agonizing days, sucking up water from the Gulf of Mexico and dumping it on that area in what proved to be the heaviest continuous rainfall in American history. With much of Houston engulfed in flood waters, the DoD mobilized 12,000 National Guard and 16,000 active-duty Army troops to assist in relief operations.

Texas National Guard soldiers in Houston, Aug. 27, 2017, to aid residents affected by Hurricane Harvey. (Texas Army National Guard photo)

Texas National Guard soldiers in Houston, Aug. 27, 2017, to aid residents affected by Hurricane Harvey. (Texas Army National Guard)

Such cleanup operations were still under way there when Irma — a Category 5 storm and one of the most powerful hurricanes ever detected in the Atlantic Ocean — struck the eastern Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and southern Florida. Guard units sent by Florida’s governor to assist in Texas were hastily recalled and the Pentagon mobilized an additional 4,500 active-duty troops for emergency operations. To bolster these forces, the Navy deployed one of its aircraft carriers, the USS Abraham Lincoln, along with a slew of support vessels.

With some Guard contingents still involved in Texas and cleanup operations just getting under way in Florida, another Category 5 storm, Maria, emerged in the Atlantic and began its fateful course toward Puerto Rico, making landfall on that island on September 20th. It severed most of that island’s electrical power lines, bringing normal life to a halt. With food and potable water in short supply, the DoD commenced yet another mobilization of more than 12,000 active-duty and Guard units. Some of them would still be there a year later, seeking to restore power and repair roads in remote, harshly affected areas.

If finding enough troops and supply systems to assist in these relief operations was a tough task — akin to mobilizing for a major war — the Pentagon faced a no less severe challenge in addressing the threats to its own forces and facilities from those very storms.

When Hurricane Irma approached Florida and the Keys, it became evident that many of the Pentagon’s crucial southern installations were likely to suffer severe damage. Notable among them was Naval Air Station (NAS) Key West, a major hub for U.S. operations in the Caribbean region. Fearing the worst, its commander ordered a mandatory evacuation for all but a handful of critical personnel. Commanders at other bases in the storm’s path also ordered evacuations, including at NAS Jacksonville in Florida and Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia. Aircraft at these installations were flown to secure locations further inland while Kings Bay’s missile-carrying submarines were sent to sea where they could better ride out the storm. At least a dozen other installations were forced to relocate at least some personnel, planes, and ships.

Clusters of Extreme Events

While the extremity of each of these individual climate disasters can’t be attributed with absolute certainty to climate change, that they occurred at such strength over such a short time period is almost impossible to explain without reference to it. As scientists have indicated, the extremely warm waters of the Atlantic and Caribbean contributed to the fury of the three hurricanes and extreme dryness in California and the American West has resulted in severe recurring wildfires. All of these are predictable consequences of a warming planet.

That means, of course, that we can expect recurring replays of summer 2017, with multiple disasters (of ever-increasing magnitude) occurring more or less simultaneously. These, in turn, will produce ever more demands on the military for relief services, even as it is being forced to cope with the impact of such severe climate events on its own facilities. Indeed, the National Research Council (NRC), in a report commissioned by the U.S. Intelligence Community, has warned of just such a future. Speaking of what it termed “clusters of extreme events,” it noted that warming temperatures are likely to generate not just more destructive storms, but also a greater concentration of such events at the same time.

“Given the available scientific knowledge of the climate system,” the report notes, “it is prudent for security analysts to expect climate surprises in the coming decade, including… conjunctions of events occurring simultaneously or in sequence, and for them to become progressively more serious and frequent thereafter, and most likely at an accelerating rate.”

Combine the ravages of Harvey, Irma, Maria, Katrina, and Sandy with the wildfires recently blasting across California and you get some sense of what our true “national security” landscape might look like. While the Pentagon, the National Guard, and local authorities should be able to cope with any combination of two or three such events, as they did in 2017 (although, according to critics, the damage to Puerto Rico has never been fully repaired), there will come a time when the climate assault is so severe and multifaceted that U.S. leaders will be unable to address all the major disasters simultaneously and will have to pick and choose where to deploy their precious assets.

At that moment, the notion of focusing all our attention on managing military rivalries with China and Russia (or other potential adversaries) will appear dangerously distracting. Count on this: U.S. forces sent to foreign bases and conflicts (as with the never-ending wars of this century in the Greater Middle East and Africa) will undoubtedly be redeployed homeward to help overcome domestic dangers. This may seem improbable today, with China and Russia building up their arsenals to counter American forces, but scientific analyses like those conducted by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the NRC, suggest that those two countries are then no less likely to be facing multiple catastrophes of their own and will be in no position to engage in conflicts with the United States.

And so there will come a time when a presidential visit to the Situation Room involves not a nuclear crisis or the next major terrorist attack, but rather a conjunction of severe climate events, threatening the very heartbeat of the nation.

 Michael T. Klare, a TomDispatch regular, is the five-college professor emeritus of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and a senior visiting fellow at the Arms Control Association. He is the author of 15 books, including the just-published, All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change (Metropolitan Books), on which this article is based.

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16 comments for “The Situation Room, October 2039

  1. Hide Behind
    November 19, 2019 at 13:28

    The extent of Militarism within US is not known by the vast number of population, nor does it care.
    Vast portions of its governing infrastructure are influenced by its Military and.that influence hides within those who govern, elected or unelected and the financial industrial.
    Homeland Security is a military occupational force, and the Patriot Act gave it powers long before it came into being, a militarily/ political plan.
    How many know just how many Homeland Security Centers are in US and their areas of responsability.
    What are duties of Fusion Centers, and how is where each is situated been determined and staffed along needs of militarys and Internal Intelligence Agencies.
    Why are the dangers of civilian Malitias hyped but in many US States there are Federal and State funded , State Malitias organized solely to support any future needs of military interventions within their states?
    How many units are there of rapid responce teams, amounts of equipment and personnel , and regional responsible command centers, all of same military/Intelligence structuring.
    How many hundreds of millions of Department of education’s dollar expenditures go to how many hundred of College and University military research programs with only but around 5-10 percent to Educator Administrations but not one dime towards education of students not within the programs?
    To what financial arrangements and advantage goes towards all of todays major financials that offer special promotions and services to present and past military veterans,?
    In what forms of, especially Government, employment are there where less qualified military vets are given preference in hiring over those of better qualified but of non military backgrounds?
    Why are Federal Funds used to reimburse industries for hiring and retraining vets.
    And lastly why are active military pay and benefits higher than 40% of non military workforce?
    Why is it that many centers of poverty by low wage within US that a National Guardsmans active duty periods can be higher waged than what they can find within local economy?
    ICE which is a military structured organization under Homeland Security has been given complete with priveledges of rank and high wages and benefits, extra judicial and enforcement powers over 100 miles inland or all US borders?
    Why is it one cannot use or participate in almost all popular media outlets without there being a reference to US military by Military paying or the advertisers appealing to buy?
    The B.S. of those within US who own and or want to own ARe and AKs who deny their military references , why deny the obvious worship of military prowess, and what is mindset of those who do admit it?
    An offering of military sign up bonuses that are higher than yearly incomes of over 40% of american workers yearly wages, and the 40% do not complain shows how deeply indoctrinated into the militarism of nation.

  2. Zhu
    November 19, 2019 at 00:28

    Many earlier societies destroyed themselves by screwing up their environments. Our technology is more powerful, so we do the same in a grander scale. Positive thinking or the Rapture won’t save us.

  3. CitizenOne
    November 19, 2019 at 00:14

    What a rip roaring Christmas season is upon us.
    I’d like to sing an old song for yall.

    Oh the wildfires are a burnin
    and the oceans are a churnin
    to bring Christmas wishes for us all.
    Since there’s no more yearnin
    and no more concernin
    The human race must take the fall.
    With their homes all burnin bright
    there will be no more Christmas tonight.
    Oh the methane is emittin and the biosphere is quittin.
    The Aurora is hidden by smoke upon the moore
    And Old Saint Nick was lit on fire mighty quick
    By a fire in the thick.
    He won’t be ridin with his reindeer no more
    I’m fearful of a world on fire
    Where everyone is going to burn
    And that global yule fire
    Is lit like a funeral pyre
    For all of the people in the World
    With the world on fire and the oceans rising higher
    I just want to find a safer place place to go.
    A place that has some snow
    Where that place is now I do not know
    I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,
    The kind of Christmas I used to know,
    But the only white things falling are ashes that are calling
    for the end of everything that we know.
    I’m fearful of a world on fire
    Will rising oceans kill the flame?
    The predictions are are dire and all the climate deniers
    Will the world ever be the same?
    As we flee to the hilltops
    And pray for some raindrops
    Did Santa Claus conclude we were insane.
    I’m dreamin that I am screamin
    What the hell have we just done
    Turning a world we could live in
    Into a mountain top sit in
    Where we fight for higher ground with everyone.
    Now there’s no more time for games or toys
    No more time for hopes or joys
    No more seasons to look forward in the snow.
    No more sleigh bells a ringing
    No more time for wishful thinking
    No more time to reverse what we have sown.
    We’ll be fighting and scorched by lightning
    In a landscape that is frightening

    And the one thing we’ll all miss
    Is the chance we lost to kiss
    The old happy world we once knew as home.

  4. November 18, 2019 at 20:00

    A friend in Russia, who knows what’s going on there–is in contact with specialists connected with military and nuclear weapons issues, etc., commented about this article that I sent to him:

    “Contemporary Russia’s military might is strongly overestimated, but I like the main idea of the message.”

    The Stockholm International Peace and Research Institute reported in May of this year that Russian military spending has fallen to the sixth highest in the world in 2018, at $61.4 billion. Our military would like it to look much bigger.

  5. DH Fabian
    November 18, 2019 at 17:41

    Yes, we’ve been talking about this for years. Democrats selected “climate” as their 2020 theme, so we’ll talk about it daily until Nov. 4, 2020. Climate change is global, and the US already significantly reduced its share of climate-changing pollution. Since the ’80s, we shut down/shipped out multi-millions of our mfg. jobs. As poverty continues to grow, far fewer can afford cars and fossil fuels.

  6. Peter Loeb
    November 18, 2019 at 16:48


    The above article shares the belief that without all these military defenses the US would be helpless. As a matters
    of fact such an assumption (with corollaries) is a priori a basic one to continued existence in the US.

    I think that what is more important is what happens to PEOPLE, to their livelihoods etc. not what happens to
    their tanks, military aircraft and so forth.

    We are not in a major war right now and su ch military items are largely protecting the profits of their makers.

    What about preserving health care for all, equality of income and similar issues? These do not
    even get a mention. How sad is our political discourse.

    —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA

  7. Mark Thomason
    November 18, 2019 at 16:16

    Current ideas about climate change are presented as if they urge us to face difficult facts. However, they really avoid the most difficult facts.

    What happens after the warming? Does it just stay warm and stormy?

    No. We’ve known for a long time that our current climate is stabilized by a heat transfer system, a system that maintains more of the land habitable and suitable for agriculture than is the long term norm.

    If that system were disrupted, then cold would return to large parts of Eurasia, including massive ice sheets coming far south. The water tied up in that ice would change shorelines, and leave many of the remaining currently habitable areas too high and too dry.

    What could disrupt the heat transfer? Too much heat in the wrong places. And that is exactly what global warming threatens.

    Those who think they are warning of the dangers of climate change actually are failing to face, even concealing, the real extent and nature of the danger. Perhaps they think they couldn’t sell it. But that doesn’t change the truth, just because “You can’t handle the truth.”

  8. bardamu
    November 18, 2019 at 14:15

    Well. It’s interesting, and I won’t claim to know better.

    The idea that the government and particularly the military has returned to help the population as opposed to savaging one group for another feels novel and oddly optimistic within the larger context. One wonders from where the author imagines that the insight for that will arrive.

  9. November 18, 2019 at 13:30

    I wonder if Americans have ever asked themselves how other countries sleep at night without all of these military bases, nuclear weapons, ad neauseam etc.etc. This article gives new meaning to the term ” Paranoid States of America”. All that money, all those people killed, all of those countries invaded, bombed, occupied and in the end if this scenario plays out will have been for nothing.

    it looks like Climate Change just might be mankinds saviour from the US Military.

    • Mark Thomason
      November 18, 2019 at 16:19

      Climate change presented as a military problem, addressed at a military conference table, is a dysfunction unique to American Unipolar World Empire thinking.

      It isn’t a military problem. The military aspects of it are the least of it.

    • DH Fabian
      November 18, 2019 at 17:43

      No, climate change is global, and it is gradual. The fact is that many nations reduced their contribution to global warming in recent decades, perhaps most notably China and Russia. Because of the US, however, we’re at heightened risks of nuclear war.

  10. Skip Edwards
    November 18, 2019 at 11:46

    The Pentagon’s outrageous, murderous expenditures deprive scientists of the necessary funding to adequately address the impending human caused climate disasters so vividly described in Klare’s not so imaginary article. And the 3rd disaster, never ending population growth on a planet with limited resources, is never discussed. Party on humans. Midnight is just around the corner!

  11. Dfnslblty
    November 18, 2019 at 11:00

    Unfortunate that this essay is from a militaristic perspective – “war room”, military bases, etc.
    Citizens – ordinary people – are the victims/targets of this imperialistique world vision and are thusly lulled to sleep because “leaders” mislead, representatives represent the military and any opposition by Citizens is violently negated.
    No need to trivialize/fictionalize to “2039” ~ this is today’s reality, and everyone’s asleep.
    Protest Loudly!

  12. November 18, 2019 at 10:18

    Reading the article, it is interesting to go back to the Professor’s predictions about the world’s supply of oil. Of course, he was not alone but the early 1980’s panic regarding oil running out with timelines also must apply to those predicting environmental Armageddon’s for the last fifty years. This does not deny the relevance of climate science and observations made by scientists. They are important. It is the opportunistic use of the scientific data that bothers many Americans.

    There is no doubt our Defense establishment is already preparing budget increases related to climate as it does for every other opportunity that show promise for getting yet more money.

    While the “scientific” community and their sophisticated supporters scoff at the naysayers, it is useful to remind ourselves that the environmental Cassandras have so often been wrong timewise. All of us can recall predictions of New York becoming another Venice by the year 2000. The Polar icecap should be gone a decade or more ago.

    We should be concerned about changes in our environment and do rely on our scientists to guide us in the right direction. I think anyone who thinks about the issue is concerned but they are also aware of hucksterism has confused them and the danger exists that such hucksterism will cause the man who rightly cries wolf is ignored.

    There is another point to be made. Mother Nature is a capricious lady and the assumption that man can control the climate and our actions alone can control it is a form of dangerous arrogance.

    We need also to remind ourselves, which may appear contradictory, that there are things we can do to clean up the air and water and reduce pollution of both. We have done some pretty good things. I recall when Lake Erie, I think it was caught fire near Cleveland. The US government stepped in and cleaned the harbor. They have done such constructive things in many cases.

  13. AnneR
    November 18, 2019 at 08:33

    Nowhere in this piece by Mr Klare does he mention the US Military’s OWN role, a very deleterious role, in exacerbating climate change and destroying ecosystems. Nowhere. And that is appalling, from my point of view.

    The US Military on its own produces more greenhouse gases than almost any other single, individual institution, company (throw in the war machinery making enterprises and weapons manufacturing and it must be an even worse polluter of the planet). The US military – completely unconcernedly (for the local populations, of course, because they are “unpeople”) – uses depleted uranium for its bullets etc., leaving the residues behind, so kindly. Then there is the US military’s destructive effects on marine and land ecosystems and the life forms, human and non-human, that depend upon those regions…. Never mind the utter destruction to lives, livelihoods, living conditions that this grotesque terroristic institution wreaks on so many people, particularly in the Middle East. Iraq’s water ways have been, for instance, devastated; so too its agricultural lands…

    As for Diego Garcia – if one was unaware of the appalling human rights crime involved in the US making the Chagos Islands “their” military – in Klare’s words this US naval Base (via which renditions were made and bombing raids to the MENA countries effected) is “a major logistical and submarine base in the Indian Ocean, for example, is situated on a low-lying atoll that suffers periodic storm flooding and is likely to be submerged entirely well before the end of the century.” Nowhere does he mention the fact that the Chagos Islanders were deliberately, and inhumanely *removed* from those islands, especially Diego Garcia, in order for the US military to build its base there. The Chagossians have NEVER been allowed to return to their homes, their animals were slaughtered on the islands, and the Chagossians themselves were deprived of their homes, their way of life and have NEVER been compensated, either. Nor – of course, it being the US (and the UK was heavily involved because those islands were under the old Empire), has ANY apology, recognition of the inhumanity – the crime – been issued by the US government at any level. (The Chagossians won their latest case before the ICJ – and the US and UK stuck up their fingers and ignored the ruling, as is their wont.)

    As for the US military – if it really was a defensive force for the country, it would be small, at home and not invading, killing, bombing, destroying other places. But it is an Offensive, imperialist, hegemonic force for the establishment and maintenance of US corporate-capitalist-dominance, for the rapine and plunder of any country which doesn’t bow the knee. As Smedley Butler indicated.

  14. In the year 2525
    November 18, 2019 at 04:00

    To begin with, there won’t be a thing called USA by 2039. USA will collapse and disintegrate in a civil war. The impeachment will be the shot that triggered the final collapse of this exceptionally stupid and arrogant empire.

Comments are closed.