A very interesting story today cites poll results on American versus Japanese attitudes about the likelihood of a new world war, even if random guy-on-the-street quotes are by definition never presented objectively. It is certainly very telling that Americans are more afraid of North Korean aggression than the Japanese, who are far more likely to be its targets. Also telling that these results come on the heels of a wave of anti-Japan protests in China. Japan is an island nation with a limited armed forces, no nuclear weapons and a constitutional prohibition on war; it faces at least two hostile powers—one by actual policy; the other by tradition—to its immediate east, the latter of which is the most populous nation on earth by far, with a vast territory, a nuclear arsenal and an armed forces of over 2 million active trooops. The US is a continent-spanning super-power (generally held to be the only remaining super-power), isolated by vast oceans from any hostile powers, real or potential; its far-flung military bases and control of the seas and global airspace have no remote parallel in all world history, and it has the planet's biggest and most state-of-the-art nuclear arsenal by far. Yet Americans are more afraid of a new world war. Maybe this is because Americans realize that this new world war is likely to be "asymmetrical," and the United States is likely to be its target precisely because it is the global superpower—and, in fact, this war has already been underway since (at least) Sept. 11, 2001. This, however, raises a question (which this blog/zine has always been obsessed with): if this is a new world war, which number will historians assign it? We, of course, argue Four.
Shades of Soylent Green. "The plankton is dying!" From AP July 14, via TruthOut:
Scientists Raise Alarm about Ocean Health
SEATTLE - With a record number of dead seabirds washing up on West Coast beaches from Central California to British Columbia, marine biologists are raising the alarm about rising ocean temperatures and dwindling plankton populations.
News reports of the Deep Impact space probe's explosive Independence Day rendezvous with a comet could not have made clearer that the whole affair was barely-disguised patriotic propaganda, very convenient at a time when the Iraq war is turning into a deepening quagmire. Reads a July 5 AP account:
NASA's Deep Impact Web site registered nearly 1 billion hits when the space probe collided with comet Tempel 1 early Monday -- about twice as many hits as the twin Mars rovers got when they parachuted to the Red Planet last year.
The cosmic fireworks from the collision were not red, white and blue and were visible only through telescopes. But the sharp flash of light gave scientists "something to be proud of on America's birthday," said Rick Grammier, the mission's project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
As we noted yesterday, reportage on the oil market jittters sparked by the Iran elections included a quote from one analyst predicting an imminent rise to $100 a barrel. This ominous figure is being heard more and more. The Wall Street Journal on June 22 ran an overview of predictions concerning the oil market and its impact on the world economy that quoted Tom Petrie, an "oil bull" who runs his own energy investment bank and research operation out of Denver. Petrie puts the chances that oil will rise to $80 to $100 a barrel in the next couple of years at greater than 50 percent.
A friend writes from Philadelphia, scene of the recent anti-biotech protests (where, as we noted, a police officer died of a heart attack):
Please donate bail money!
A dozen or so protesters were arrested at the Biodevestation protests in Philadelphia this weekend. They are all still in jail, and need your help to get out. Only 3 people have been arraigned - it's $960 for each one of them to get bailed out. There is at least 1 other person facing felonies - one from Quebec who is facing 2 counts of felony assault. Everyone else is facing misdemanors - disorderly conduct and misdemanor. Thier bails should be set over the next 12 hours, but we know we'll need a lot of money to get them out. Every little bit helps, so please send money. You can Western Union it to Cynthia Pitt,Philadelphia. You can also paypal it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or just bring it to the jail support vigil at 8th and Race Streets in Philadelphia.
The Inuit of Alaska and Canada's far north, whose traditional way of life depends on hunting seals and polar bear—and therefore on cold—are not so sanguine about global warming. Thanks to TruthOut for passing on this interesting June 16 Reuters story:
Inuit to File Anti-US Climate Petition
Oslo - Inuit hunters threatened by a melting of the Arctic ice plan to file a petition accusing Washington of violating their human rights by fuelling global warming, an Inuit leader said on Wednesday.
Jonathan Bennett of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) sends the following observations on follow-up coverage of revleations the Bush White House altered science on global climate change: