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Wednesday, April 20, 2022

U.S. Naval War College Russia expert Dr. Tom Nichols

…I have spent my life trying to understand Russia and its people. Now, like everyone, I am disgusted by Russian savagery. Fury grows in me each time I see the mutilated corpses and leveled homes—not only because of the sadistic violence, but also because I know that the Russian regime, in trying to destroy the Ukrainian nation, has destroyed a chance, at least for some years to come, for a better world.

And for what?

For the messianic dreams of a small man, a frightened and delusional thug leading a criminal enterprise masquerading as a government, who believes that he is doing God’s will.

You might be surprised at the last sentence, but Vladimir Putin really believes this. He thinks he’s on a mission. I’ll come back to this in a moment, but it’s a reality that too many in the West have either overlooked or chosen to ignore. And as much as I’d like to lay all of this mayhem on Putin’s shoulders alone, we now have to accept that his butchery of innocent people is either tacitly or openly supported by millions of Russians. Yes, there are brave Russians who have risked their lives to protest this war, but there is no way, any longer, to deny that Putin enjoys more support than any decent nation should give to such horror.

And so I grieve not only for Ukraine, but for the knowledge that no matter how this war ends, the era of hope that began in 1989 is over. Ukraine is now the scene of the largest conflict in Europe since World War II. NATO and Russia are openly enemies again. Nuclear war, for a time a forgotten abstraction, is a real danger…
@RadioFreeTom on Twitter. Excepted from The Atlantic, Putin's Holy War (probably paywalled). A compelling, disturbing read. Putin is a seriously Bad Actor.
Getting close to two months of daily morning just-outa-bed doomscrolling—"well, OK, President Zelenskyy is still alive..." More than 5 million Ukrainians are reported to have now fled their country. It is all very depressing. 


Two books just reviewed in Science Magazine:

While most people understand that we face a looming climate disaster characterized by severe droughts, melting glaciers, and increasingly common wildfires and superstorms, certain technical details, policy considerations, and related justice and equity issues remain murky. Two timely new books aim to fill these gaps in knowledge.

In Is Science Enough? Forty Critical Questions About Climate Justice, historian Aviva Chomsky breaks down the key concepts, terminology, and often-contentious debates that surround climate change so that audiences ranging from students to activists can easily understand them. As the title implies, Chomsky argues that scientific interventions are not sufficient to combat global warming. Our current economic paradigm, she argues, relies on “extracting and consuming the earth’s resources in ever-increasing quantities, and turning them into waste,” and such a system is incompatible with a healthy planet…

In What Climate Justice Means and Why We Should Care, moral philosopher Elizabeth Cripps argues that we all share a responsibility to combat the effects of a changing climate that is disproportionately affecting those who have done the least to cause it. She presents clear and compelling evidence of the burden borne by disadvantaged populations, maintaining that climate change is, above all, “about privilege.”

Ten countries, Cripps notes, are responsible for 60% of greenhouse gas emissions—a major driver of climate change—and while the impacts of climate change are global and include severe winter storms in Texas, wildfires in Australia, and floods in Europe, the Global South has suffered the most devastating consequences. Between 2008 and 2016, she writes, roughly 22 million people were displaced in the Global South each year. The consequences of such displacements include child marriages, loss of schooling and employment opportunities, food insecurity, and more…
Just starting these. Stay tuned. apropos of my episodic Anthropocene riffs, albeit principally from the ethical points of view.

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