Could global warming pose the greatest threat to the future of life on the planet? Quite possibly, if we believe the international (and scientific) consensus, despite a widening stratum of debunkers, deniers, and skeptics. What about the prospects of thermonuclear war between the United States and Russia, two countries armed to the max and seemingly moving toward the brink of military conflict? Where does that rate? If the question is asked of most any Beltway denizen, the response might be something along lines of “sounds frightening, but right now we have other priorities, and we can’t lose sight of the Russian threat”.
As American political life continues to deteriorate, matters of war and peace rarely merit attention amidst the sound and fury of manufactured news, moral posturing, personal scandals, and tweeting exchanges. Good for TV ratings and maybe partisan advantage, decidedly less so for addressing issues of political relevance. Now we have two years of frenzied Russiagate and its attendant neo-McCarthyism. That the intensifying hostility directed by one nuclear power toward another might bring the world closer to a war that could end all wars seems bizarrely remote to a political class obsessed with little beyond its own power and wealth, faintly camouflaged by identity politics; the “unthinkable” remains, well, unthinkable.
As anti-Russia hysteria spreads, speech taboos harden; any discourse at odds with tightening official political/media consensus brings immediate blowback, smear-mongering, and (where possible) silencing. It is so obvious that Vladimir Putin is a ruthless, aggressive monster that any dissenting view must be the product of either insanity or Russian propaganda.
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