Tuesday, July 27, 2004

John Kerry's foreign policy prescriptions -- call them Bush Lite or Bush Malt Liquor depending on your perspective -- have long been a point of frustration for the General. Back on June 21 I opined
Kerry's biggest problem is his fundamental agreement with Bush that the #1 security threat to the United States is from terrorists with WMDs.

As the LA Times article continues,
when Kerry describes the contemporary world, and the challenges that the U.S. faces, he sounds just like the president, the vice president and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Terrorism, he says, "present[s] the central national security challenge of our generation." Preventing terrorists from "gaining weapons of mass murder" is his No. 1 security goal, and Kerry says he would strike first if any attack "appears imminent."
How about some alternatives for #1?
  • climate change;
  • oil dependency;
  • destabilized nuclear powers, especially Pakistan and North Korea;
  • non-WMD foreign terrorism (i.e. the only kind that ever really happens);
Scotland's Sunday Herald puts a little more oomph behind my #1.
Forget global terrorism. One of the scariest stories today is how the Chinese are going to meet their energy demands over the next 20 years. While Scotland fumbles with issues of wind farms blighting the landscape, we should wake up to the potential energy horror story that will impact on everyone.

No matter how many wind turbines Scotland uses, it is going to have an infinitesimal impact on the global environment compared with the coal-fired power stations being built all over China. . . .

Thomson says China�s 10th five-year plan has already had to re-adjust its figures for electricity consumption. �In 1999, the country produced 300,000 megawatts, by 2002 that was 338,000MW. The five-year plan was for 380,000MW, but it has been upgraded to 430,000MW. The state planning has set the target of 900,000MW by 2020. That�s a tripling of energy supply over 15 years.�

That means adding enough new power stations to supply the entire energy needs of Sweden each year for the next 15 years. Whole power and coking plants are being dismantled in countries such as Germany to be rebuilt in China.

By 2020, China will be burning its way through over 100m tonnes of coal each year, fuelling global warming. Last year its total coal production reached 114m tonnes, having doubled since 1981. . . .

Speaking to the Harvard Asia Quarterly roundtable, Dr Economy, a China expert in the US Council on Foreign Relations, said: �China�s reliance on low quality, high sulphur coal is responsible for roughly half of all sulphur dioxide emissions, which causes acid rain throughout East Asia � a situation that has contributed to tensions with Japan and South Korea. Globally, China is one of the world�s largest contributors to ozone depletion, biodiversity loss and climate change.
Frighteningly enough, "clean coal" technology may actually be an important part of a global strategy to limit climate change. It seems impossible to stop China from exploiting its cheap domestic coal resources, so technology transfer must be the order of the day. If a Kerry administration gets serious about the Kyoto Protocol, that could help matters as well. But let's not plan on eating that pie in the sky; in 1997 the US Senate voted 95-0 to reject any international climate change treaty which would limit US capital accumulation.


At 12:47 PM, Blogger Chibi said...

General, I don't disagree with you that what John Kerry is talking about is about as out of touch with reality as Bush in terms of where our priorities *should* be at, but you have to realize that a lot of it is just politics. I might even go so far to suggest that the only reason Kerry is playing this angle is to proactively deflect any attacks against said policy. He knows how the GOP plays this game and by taking this tack he can just say, "The President doesn't agree with his own policies!" I would love to see him get up there and say Iraq was a huge mistake, stupid decision, waste of treasure and blood, but it's just not politically correct to do so. You come off sounding both ungrateful to those that have served over there and it's also an invitation for a barrage of attack ads portraying Kerry as "soft" which is worse than "liberal" these days. It would also be nice to think that you could go up to the podium as the Dem nominee and say, "Why are we invading Iraq when China is an ecological disaster of far greater consequence just waiting to happen?" But the electorate is just going to not get it for the most part. Joe Sixpack (to use the hackneyed label given to the Average American Voter) is going to say "That's China's problem!"

Don't get me wrong. I'm no big fan of Kerry, but to paraphrase Winston Churchill, he may suck unless you compare him to any other choice. You can't convince me that Bush and Kerry are the one and the same. You are promoting apathy with these posts along these lines. If you are suggesting we vote for a third party candidate essentially you are suggesting that things need to get worse before they can get better. I'm not sure I agree. You never know what might happen if the shit really hits the fan.

I mean if you really want to take the election seriously, and the issues you are talking about, who do you think is going to do a better job with climate change, oil dependency, nuclear proliferation/stability, and the more general forms of terrorism? The choices are Bush or Kerry if you want your vote to count. You can abstain or pick the lesser of two evils.


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