In our special Memorial Day edition, World Beat is publishing an obituary for Diplomacy, which died prematurely last week after an extended illness.
Throwing scientists and money at this problem, however, is not enough. The better analogy is the military industrial complex. In response to the Red Scare of the Soviet Union, the United States fundamentally reoriented the United States toward a permanent war economy – to the detriment of America and the world. Now, to deal with the Green Scare, the United States must similarly change the production process and the government’s relationship to it. We need to create a permanent climate change economy. And that requires a climate industrial complex.
When it invaded Iraq in 2003, the United States touched a hot stove. Politicians seem to have less capacity to learn than babies. Many of those involved in this ill-fated operation had some connection, however remote, to the Vietnam War, the last seriously hot stove that the United States touched. And yet, the U.S. leaders that fought in Vietnam as well as the ones who ran in the opposite direction all stood around the burning hot stove that was Iraq and bear-hugged it.
The National Library in Sarejevo still stands in ruins, 16 years after Serbian military forces shelled the building and destroyed over 90% of its priceless contents.
The Slovene government and many Slovene nationalists would like the issue of the erased to quietly disappear. But a new communications campaign — sponsored pro bono by a major Slovenian PR firm and with the help of some well-placed Slovenians such as Ljubljana’s mayor — is putting the stories of the Erased all over Ljubljana.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is Australia’s new, fair dinkum leader. Fair dinkum is Ozzie slang for the genuine article, the real McCoy.
In 1935, the People’s Liberation Army swept through Tibet on the Long March to evade Chiang Kai-Shek’s Nationalists. It was a grim time. Harassed by snipers, Mao’s armies faced a much greater challenge: cold and hunger. In the grassland plateaus of Tibet, the Communists died by the thousands.
In 2002, Boston University established the lyrical-sounding Presidents in Residence program for former African leaders. The idea was to lure the dictatorially inclined away from their countries so that a new generation of democratic leaders could take their place. As a spokesperson for the program put it more tactfully, “The vision is that having a very respectable position, which honors the individual and his achievements, will be seen as an enticement to those in power, or perhaps newly out of power but contemplating a return, that there is an appropriate civil course for them to pursue.” Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia was the first recipient of the fellowship.
The U.S. military has come up with some pretty good acronyms in the past, such as SNAFU (situation normal all f’d up) and FUBAR (f’d up beyond all repair). I recommend that the Pentagon consider inaugurating a new acronym for 2008: OOPS. It stands for outrageously, offensively, and profoundly stupid.
Many of the most resonant images from the Iraq War are as deceptive as the Bush administration’s rationales for starting the war in the first place. Consider the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein on April 8, 2003. Photos of the event show what seems to be a crowd of Iraqis pulling down the 40-foot monument in Paradise Square with the help of U.S. Marines. The press compared the event to the fall of the Berlin Wall. In fact, the event was carefully staged by the U.S. military, which had sealed off the area with tanks. The fall of the Wall it was not.