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Environmental Crisis, Oil Geopolitics and the Trump Diversion

Environmental Crisis, Oil Geopolitics and the Trump Diversion

Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair

America in 2019 is a very strange place. The problems of the age: looming environmental calamity, the threat of nuclear annihilation and accumulating class tensions, keep being shoved to the side through diversionary tactics. No sooner had a range of left programs been consolidated under the banner of a Green New Deal than establishment Democrats and their partners in misdirection made it known that ‘stopping Trump’ was their only priority. As priorities go, this one speaks to the limitations of its proponents.

Back in the land that time hasn’t forgotten, environmental calamity has been a growing threat for three centuries now. Its growth rate accelerated after WWII along with the threat of nuclear annihilation. Class tensions have been escalating since the 1970s as neoliberalism has diminished the public sphere and accrued wealth and income to those who benefit from social destruction. Given the singular source and its persistence through periods in which either Republicans or Democrats exercised control, systemic drivers are the only explanation left standing.

Graph: Capitalist countries produce CO2 emissions; the Global South bears the impact in terms of global warming. In environmental terms, capitalist production is class warfare where the rich get richer by making the poor poorer. On the right side of the graph is the relationship of GDP to CO2 emissions. On the left is the economic impact of CO2 emissions on those who didn’t produce it. By forcing costs, in terms of global warming, onto the Global South, people who see no benefit from capitalist production bear its costs. Source: Diffenbaugh, Burke Standford.edu.

The rational reason for suggesting that these problems preceded Donald Trump’s tenure as President is to posit that because he didn’t cause them, they won’t disappear when he leaves office.

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