April 22, 2013

Expected Climate Change

CSIS-CNAS: Security Implications of Climate Change

Scenario Overview

Time Span: 30 Years
Warming: 1.3°C
Sea Level Rise: 0.23 meters
There is no foreseeable political or technological solution that will enable us to avert many of the climatic impacts projected here. …
[This] scenario may be the best we can hope for.
It is certainly the least we ought to prepare for.
(p 55)

As a rule, wealthier countries (and wealthier individuals) will be better able to adapt to the impacts of climate change, while the disadvantaged will suffer the most. …
Consequently, even though the IPCC projects that the temperature increases at higher latitudes will be approximately twice the global average, it will be the developing nations in the Earth’s low latitudinal bands and sub-Saharan Africa that will be most adversely affected by climate change.
In the developing world even a relatively small climatic shift can trigger or exacerbate
  • food shortages,
  • water scarcity,
  • destructive weather events,
  • the spread of disease,
  • human migration, and
  • natural resource competition.
These crises are … interwoven and self-perpetuating: water shortages can lead to food shortages, which can lead to conflict over remaining resources, which can drive human migration, which, in turn, can create new food shortages in new regions. …

[Once the] first climate change domino [falls] — whether it be food scarcity or the outbreak of disease — [a cascade of geopolitical impacts ensues which becomes increasingly difficult to stop …]
(p 56)

April 20, 2013

Lyndon Johnson

PBS American Experience

To make a world in which all of God's children can live …
We must either love each other …
Or, we must die.

Lyndon Johnson (1908 – 73)

("Daisy" Attack Ad, 1964 Presidential Election Campaign)

W H Auden (1907 – 73):
We must love one another and die.
(September 1, 1939)

Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970):
There is no hope for the world unless power can be tamed, and brought into the service [of the whole human race.]
[For] science has made it inevitable that:
  • all must live or
  • all must die.
(Power, 1938, p 24)

Lyndon Johnson (1908 – 73):
The greatest leader of our time has been struck down by the foulest deed of our time.
Today, John Fitzgerald Kennedy lives on in the immortal words and works that he left behind. …
No words are strong enough to express our determination to continue the forward thrust of America that he began.
  • The dream of conquering the vastness of space,
  • the dream of partnership across the Atlantic — and across the Pacific as well —
  • the dream of a Peace Corps in less developed nations,
  • the dream of education for all of our children,
  • the dream of jobs for all who seek them and need them,
  • the dream of care for our elderly,
  • the dream of an all-out attack on mental illness, and above all,
  • the dream of equal rights for all Americans, whatever their race or color. …
On the 20th day of January, in 19 and 61, John F Kennedy told his countrymen that
[Our national work would not be finished] in the first thousand days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet.
But … let us begin.
Today in this moment of new resolve, I would say to all my fellow Americans, let us continue.
(27 November 1963)

Blinded by Communism

You [Americans] never had an empire.
You never exploited the Asian peoples.
Do not be blinded by this issue of communism.

Nguyễn Sinh Cung | Ho Chi Minh (1890 – 1969)

I am convinced that no military victory is possible in [Vietnam.]

Dwight Eisenhower (1890 – 1969)

(Paris, 1921)

Ken Burns & Lynn Novick:
[At the 1954 Geneva conference, shortly after the fall of Dien Ben Phu, both China and the Soviet Union urged Ho Chi Minh] to agree to a negotiated settlement, a partition — like the one that had ended the Korean war. …
Vietnam was to be temporarily divided at the 17th parallel.
(Déjà Vu, The Vietnam War, Episode 1, Public Broadcasting Service, 2017)

Lyndon Johnson (1908 – 73):
I saw our bombs as political resources for negotiating peace …

David Grubbin:
Johnson thought he could force Ho Chi Minh to bargain. …
But Ho couldn't be pushed. …
He called the Americans "invaders".
Johnson called North Vietnam the aggressor, waging war on a peaceful neighbor.
Johnson wanted two countries, a North and a South Vietnam.
Ho wanted one. …
Their positions were irreconcilable.

Larry Berman [Historian]:
Ho Chi Minh was a revolutionary.
[Johnson] didn't understand revolutionaries.
A revolutionary in the United States Senate is very different than someone like Ho Chi Minh.
He didn't understand the history of the Vietnamese people …
[The Vietnamese communists had no intention] of ever allowing a peace treaty to [divide] their country.
[And time] was on their side.

James Thomson (1931 – 2002) [National Security Council Staff]:
There was a strong sense that Americans were can-do people and that anything we put our mind to we could accomplish …
[As to] the kind of rural jungle warfare that the Communists were inflicting on us in the Third World:
  • we could adapt …
  • we were smarter …
  • we had [the] technology,
  • we had billions of dollars …
  • we would prevail.
(LBJ, PBS American Experience, WGBH, October 1991)

Richard Nixon (1913 – 94):
For once we've got to use the maximum power of this country against this shit-ass little country, to win the war. …

[Henry, the] only place where you and I disagree … is with regard to the bombing.
You're so goddamned concerned about the civilians.
And I don't give a damn. …

I still think we ought to take the dikes out now.
Will that drown people?

Henry Kissinger (1923):
That will drown about 200,000 people.

Richard Nixon (1913 – 94):
Well, no …
I'd rather use a nuclear bomb.
Have you got that ready?

Henry Kissinger (1923):
That, I think, will just be too much.

Daniel Ellsberg (1931):
It's not that we were on the wrong side.
We were the wrong side.

(Judith Ehrlich & Rick Goldsmith, The Most Dangerous Man in America, 2009)

(The River Styx, Episode 3)

(Ken Burns & Lynn Novick, Resolve, The Vietnam War, Episode 4, Public Broadcasting Service, 2017)

April 12, 2013

The Guardian

Green Army: Communications

Noblesse Oblige

Paul Piff: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology and Social Behaviour, University of California, Irvine

{Wealthier individuals [are] less likely to see the kinds of risks that are associated with acting unethically.}
[They're also better able to] afford lawyers [and] to pay for the downstream consequences of [their] behaviour.
[The upper echelons of society are] are more likely to think that the pursuit of self-interest and greed is a moral and positive thing.
[As] a result of those more favourable attitudes towards greed [they are] more inclined to behave unethically.

(Wealth linked to lying, cheating and crime, PM, ABC Radio National, 28 February 2012.)

What we have been finding in dozens of studies … is that as a person's levels of wealth increase, their feelings of compassion and empathy go down.
And their feelings of entitlement … and their ideology of self interest increases.

[In one investigation into generosity,] individuals who made twenty-five, sometimes under fifteen thousand dollars a year, gave 44% more of their money to the stranger than did individuals making one hundred and fifty [to] two hundred thousand dollars a year.
[Indeed,] for the last 60 or 70 years there's been a [documented trend showing that] lower income households give proportionately more of their income to charity than higher income households.
[It turns out] the less well off you, are the more charitable you are.

[Priming studies suggest that these] differences are not innate or categorical, but are [highly sensitive] to slight changes in people's values and little nudges of compassion and bumps of empathy.

(Does Money Make You Mean?, TED Radio Hour, NPR, 4 April 2014)

The more severe inequality becomes, the more entitled people may feel and less likely to share resources they become.
The wealthier [that] segments of society become then, the more vulnerable communities may be to selfish tendencies and the less charity the least among us can expect. …

[This] idea that the more you have, the less entitled and more grateful you feel; and the less you have, the more you feel you deserve [turns out to be wrong.]
[In fact, what we find] seems to be the opposite of noblesse oblige. …

We’re not suggesting rich people are bad at all, but rather that psychological effects of wealth have these natural effects. …
While having money doesn’t necessarily make anybody anything, the rich are way more likely to prioritise their own self-interests above the interests of other people.

(The Age of Entitlement: How Wealth Breeds Narcissism, The Guardian, 7 July 2014)

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