Curtain Raiser

Oil? We Worry About Climate, Colltalers

Few expect peace in the Middle East in our lifetime. Saturday’s attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities by Yemen’s Houthi rebels just added ammo to that regrettable realization. It rattled Iran and Israel, but it’s the U.S. that seems eager to jump into the fire.
It’d be a tragic mistake and a diversion from a bigger threat to mankind: climate change. The U.N. Climate Action Summit, that starts next week in New York, is another chance to drive this point: if we’re going to war, let it be it against this existential crisis.
Here’s hoping this is a summit of disruption, of strikes and mass rallies around the world, of citizens of all ages refusing to accept any excuses not to act. But other issues, whether deserving it or not, may compete for headlines and our short-spam attention too.
Tomorrow, Israelis go to the polls for the second time this year, likely to guarantee that P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu will continue dictating the country’s expansionist policies. In exchange, he’s promised to annex more land from occupied territories taken by the 1967 war.
That move, still seen as illegal by the international community, may bury for good the so-called two-state solution. Netanyahu is confident that his most important constituent, the U.S. president, won’t falter on his so far unrestricted support, and he may be right.
Knowing what Trump does to those he initially praises – or names for White House jobs, based solely on their ability to support him back -, such trust is at least risky. But Netanyahu has no other choice but to grasp for straws otherwise.
In other news, Tunisia’s presidential election appears

to head to a second round, as none of 24 contenders won the majority. The low poll turnout may reflect apathy, but Tunisians remain committed to the democracy born out of the 2011 Jasmine Revolution.
Much more concerning are the reports that Saudi Arabia has managed to transfer technology to enrich uranium from American companies, without congressional approval. The Saudis used a legal loophole, and support from Sec. of Energy Rick Perry, to import know-how to build its first nuclear reactors, claiming they now need to defend themselves from a possible nuclear Iran.
It was an interesting development just a few days from the drone attack, which the crown blames on Iran, even as Houthi leaders took credit for it. Not surprisingly, Sec. of State Mark Pompeo has endorsed the Saudi’s version, as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his murderous regime have had a strong and profitable relationship with the man occupying the White House.
Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has been carpet-bombing Yemen, and since Trump’s been in office, using U.S. weaponry for it. As a result, Yemenis are trapped in the crossfire of a vicious conflict that has all but destroyed the country and starved to death its citizens. There’s an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Yemen, but the crown won’t allow medical help or food to get in.
A rampant nuclearization of the region is a direct consequence of Trump’s misguided decision to abandon the Iranian nuclear deal. As Tehran has started seeking ways to produce nukes, and with the disclosed intention by the Saudis to do the same, the world braces for what’s coming next. Ironically, the main cheerleader of an invasion of Iran, John Bolton, was fired by Trump.
Thank heavens for small miracles, but the administration still has many warmongers left. By jumping into the fray, Pompeo signals that, first, he’s now the go-to guy, in case Trump wants a war for diversion, and second, he’s happy to repeat his boss’ lies.
Not that most people need examples, but a simulation of a nuclear strike with ‘tactical weapons,’ by Researchers at Princeton University’s Science and Global Security lab, shows how 34 million people would instantaneously die if Russia were to launch a warning shot. As a result of a sure U.S. counter punch attack, almost three times as many would also be dead in just a few days.
Freakishly enough, one of the possible replacements for Bolton is acting National Security Adviser, Charles Kupperman, who once said that a nuclear war with Russia would be ‘winnable.’ Luckily, maybe, he’s just one among many contenders to the job.
Crying-foul calls, – that the attacks may compromise the world’s oil supplies -, can’t be possibly taken seriously, but sadly show where the U.S.’s allegiances lie. While the devastating humanitarian crisis developing in Yemen hasn’t deserved any meaning reaction from the Trump administration, this sort of god-forbid attack on Saudi Arabian oil refineries is a reason to go to war.
Hunger, extreme poverty, brutal dictatorship regimes, are issues that have stopped having an impact or forcing a reaction from the U.S. these days. Trump’s reduced our foreign policy into a contest of which despot likes him the most, and where to build a Trump tower or golf course. If that level of immorality fails to move his supporters, it’s their problem. But it won’t fly with us.
In preparation for the U.N. Summit, there will be a worldwide strike for the climate this Friday. Led by a multitude of groups and activists, it’ll be a chance for anyone to do something about the violent change in climate we’ve all been experiencing. Even if a symbolic gesture is all that someone can do now, do it for the cause and consider yourself enlisted as a fighter for the planet.
‘Who’s gonna tell you when it’s too late, who’s gonna tell you things aren’t so great. You can’t go on thinking nothing’s wrong.’ An excerpt of ‘Drive,’ a 1980s hit for the Cars, written by Ric Ocasek who passed away on Sunday at 75. R.I.P., old chap. WC


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