Opinion | How Trump Helps MS-13 – by Bret Stephens – The New York Times

“. . . There are better options. Bill Clinton and then George W. Bush invested some $10 billion in counterinsurgency and counternarcotics efforts to rescue Colombia from the grip of jungle guerrillas and drug lords. The plan was expensive, took a decade, involved the limited deployment of U.S. troops, and was widely mocked.

Yet it worked. Colombia is South America’s great turnaround story. And nobody today worries about a Colombian migration crisis.

It’s always possible that Trump knows all this — and rejects it precisely because it stands a reasonable chance of eventually fixing the very problem that was central to his election and on which he intends to campaign for the next 18 months. Demagogues need bugaboos, and MS-13 and other assorted Latin American gangsters are the perfect ones for him.

But whether he gets that or not, it behooves Americans to know that the crisis at our border has a source, and that Trump continues to inflame it. The answer isn’t a big beautiful wall. It’s a real foreign policy. We used to know how to craft one.”

David Lindsay:

I thought this op-ed piece way above average, and praised Bret Stephens for being spot on in suggesting Trump might actually want to continue destabizing countries to our south. But these top comments do show, I was a little too generous on a major flaw.

RME
Seattle
Times Pick

While analysis is excellent, it’s perhaps inaccurate to blame Obama for creating the conditions that created the ISIS. That was created first by invasion of Iraq, which also benefited Iran. Then in particular by the decision to dissolve the Iraq army. And consider the US more or less told them if they surrendered – which they mostly did – they could keep thier jobs. Perhaps Obama should have negotiated harder to keep a US military presence in Iraq. But at the time there wasn’t much Democratic or Republican political support for continuing US military mission there. Blaming ISIS on that choice is a tad disingenuous.

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Susan commented May 11

Susan
Paris
Times Pick

“Colombia is South America’s great turnaround story. And nobody today worries about a Colombian migration crisis.” And Colombia has taken in millions of refugees fleeing the economic/political collapse in Venezuela. Despite limited means, the people of Colombia have responded to this humanitarian crisis with a compassion sorely lacking on our borders. Instead of threatening American intervention in Venezuela, why don’t we do something to help Colombia to deal with this crisis until Maduro is gone? Of course that wouldn’t provide as many opportunities for Trumpian grandstanding, but might actually do some good.

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Cemal Ekin commented May 11

Cemal Ekin
Warwick, RI
Times Pick

“Barack Obama’s ill-judged military exit from Iraq in 2011 …” Hold on! First, why must we bring President Obama into every discussion? Second, why distort the truth? The decision to withdraw from Iraq was signed by President Bush and the Iraqi government did not want the US troops there. The perpetual “Obama defense” on everything is wearing thin. Please be more careful to state the facts. A simple search will find reliable sources fact-checking this tired story. Why do you still use it?

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Opinion | Time to Panic – By David Wallace-Wells – The New York Times

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By David Wallace-Wells
Mr. Wallace-Wells is the author of the forthcoming “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming.”

Feb. 16, 2019,  1034 c
The age of climate panic is here. Last summer, a heat wave baked the entire Northern Hemisphere, killing dozens from Quebec to Japan. Some of the most destructive wildfires in California history turned more than a million acres to ash, along the way melting the tires and the sneakers of those trying to escape the flames. Pacific hurricanes forced three million people in China to flee and wiped away almost all of Hawaii’s East Island.

We are living today in a world that has warmed by just one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since the late 1800s, when records began on a global scale. We are adding planet-warming carbon dioxide to the atmosphere at a rate faster than at any point in human history since the beginning of industrialization.

In October, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released what has become known as its “Doomsday” report — “a deafening, piercing smoke alarm going off in the kitchen,” as one United Nations official described it — detailing climate effects at 1.5 and two degrees Celsius of warming (2.7 and 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). At the opening of a major United Nations conference two months later, David Attenborough, the mellifluous voice of the BBC’s “Planet Earth” and now an environmental conscience for the English-speaking world, put it even more bleakly: “If we don’t take action,” he said, “the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”

Scientists have felt this way for a while. But they have not often talked like it. For decades, there were few things with a worse reputation than “alarmism” among those studying climate change.

via Opinion | Time to Panic – The New York Times

David Lindsay: Bravo David Wallace-Wells. You have put into words what has been formulating in my mind for months, maybe years. I urge one and all to read the entire piece, and to get active in politics and sustainable living practices.

Regarding the IPCC doomsday report, David Wallace Wells wrote:

“The thing that was new was the message: It is O.K., finally, to freak out. Even reasonable. This, to me, is progress. Panic might seem counterproductive, but we’re at a point where alarmism and catastrophic thinking are valuable, for several reasons.

The first is that climate change is a crisis precisely because it is a looming catastrophe that demands an aggressive global response, now. In other words, it is right to be alarmed. The emissions path we are on today is likely to take us to 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming by 2040, two degrees Celsius within decades after that and perhaps four degrees Celsius by 2100.”

David Lindsay:  Most species, including humans, will not survive such temperature increases.

Kathleen Schomaker and I now have a folk music concert and sing-a-long to perform on Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction, which also includes a few short readings and humor. We are actively trying to cheerfully sound the alarm, and hope to perform before new audiences. We can be reached at footmad.dl@gmail.com or davidlindsayjr@sbcglobal.net.

There are some great comments about the article above, Time to Panic, such as:

Cromer

What about overpopulation? If global warming is caused at least primarily by human activity, as I believe it is, then the spiraling population of the planet would seem to be the principal cause of global warming. Yet overpopulation , which was widely recognized as a major problem during the 1960s and 1970s, has become a taboo subject even while the earth’s population has enormously expanded. The right and the left both have their own distinct reasons for ignoring or denying the population crisis, and many powerful economic forces have an incentive to discourage anything that might prevent short-term economic expansion. In the long-term, however, everyone is likely to suffer from the catastrophic effects of population growth.

Chuck Burton commented February 16

Chuck Burton
Mazatlan, Mexico

I have been coming to this beach regularly since 1975. Though I am scientifically literate, I do not have enough knowledge and/or education to parse these scientific arguments. And it is so unnecessary anyway. The birds are basically gone, at best visiting here in very small numbers which seem to dwindle each year. Gone. Let me say that again. The birds are gone.

betty durso commented February 16

betty durso
philly area

McConnell thinks he’s so smart to call for a vote on the Green New Deal. I wish it would backfire like Brexit did in the U.K. If we know whar’s good for us we won’t support anyone who votes no. Trump can mock it all he likes, but we know whose side he’s on–those who want to get fossil fuel out of the ground fast before the world switches to clean energy. Revolutionary change can happen if we throw out this bought and paid for poor excuse for a congress. It’s time they worked for us and our children’s future. If and when this comes to a vote , remember who opted for the polluters.

Opinion | We Need a High Wall With a Big Gate – by Thomas Friedman – The New York Times

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There are now more climate refugees, economic migrants searching for work and political refugees just searching for order than at any point since World War II, nearly 70 million people according to the International Rescue Committee, and 135 million more in need of humanitarian aid.

A responsible presidential candidate in 2020 needs a policy that rationally manages the flow of immigrants into our country and offers a strategy to help stabilize the world of disorder through climate change mitigation, birth control diffusion, reforestation, governance assistance and support for small-scale farmers.

This is our biggest geopolitical problem today. Forget the “Space Corps”; I’d make the “Peace Corps” our fifth service. We should have an Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Peace Corps, to send Americans to help stabilize small farms and governance in the world of disorder.

And this has to be a global project, with the U.S., Europe, India, Korea, China, Russia, Japan all contributing. Otherwise the world of order is going to be increasingly challenged by refugees from the world of disorder, and all rational discussions of immigration will go out the

via Opinion | We Need a High Wall With a Big Gate – The New York Times

Germany’s Europe-Shaking Political Crisis Over Migrants Explained – The New York Times

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By Max Fisher and Katrin Bennhold
July 3, 2018

88
The near political breakdown in Germany marks the beginning of the end for the European experiment, for an era of openness toward refugees and migrants in the West, and for Angela Merkel, the German chancellor at the center of the European political establishment.

Or, perhaps, it is a close call in which Ms. Merkel made difficult sacrifices to hold it all together, as she has done many times before.

Or maybe something in between.”

via Germany’s Europe-Shaking Political Crisis Over Migrants, Explained – The New York Times

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval
Good article, great comments. Don’t forget that about a third of these refugees are climate change refugess. Lauren Markham wrote in the NYT Sunday Review, July 1,: “Today, according to global relief agencies, over 68 million people worldwide have been forced to flee their homes, often because of war, poverty and political persecution. As a writer, I focus largely on issues of forced migration. T. . . If you talk to these migrants long enough, you’ll hear about another, more subtle but still profound dimension to the problems they are leaving behind: environmental degradation or climate change. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that since 2008, 22.5 million people have been displaced by climate-related or extreme weather events. This includes tragedies like the widespread famine in Darfur, monsoons and flooding in Bangladesh and the catastrophic hurricane in Puerto Rico. The more out of whack our climate becomes, the more people up and leave their homes. As our world heats up and sea levels rise, the problem of forced migration around the world is projected to become far worse. And in refusing to take climate change or responsibility for our planet seriously, the Trump administration is encouraging the conditions that will increase unauthorized migrations to the United States and elsewhere.” As I wrote in my Talking Climate Change Blues, “The folks at Businessweek saw the damage was horrid, They put on their cover, It’s climate change stupid.”

Opinion | A Warming World Creates Desperate People – By Lauren Markham – NYT

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Last year I traveled to southern Guatemala, the source of one of the largest migrations of unauthorized immigrants to the United States in recent years. It’s clear why people are leaving: Guatemala is a country rife with political conflict, endemic racism against indigenous people, poverty and, increasingly, gang violence.

But there’s another, lesser-known dimension to this migration. Drought and rising temperatures in Guatemala are making it harder for people to make a living or even survive, thus compounding the already tenuous political situation for the 16.6 million people who live there.

In the town of Jumaytepeque, which is in Central America’s dry corridor, a group of farmers took me to see their coffee crops. Coffee was responsible for the majority of the community’s income but had been decimated by a plague known as coffee rust, or la roya. Plagues like these aren’t necessarily caused by climate change, but it exacerbates them, and roya is now infecting plants at higher elevations as those heights become warmer. Making matters worse, stress from the drought has made these plants more vulnerable to the plague.

“We can’t make a living purely off coffee anymore,” one young farmer told me in the dappled shade of his coffee plantation, pointing to the limp, yellow roya-pocked leaves all around us. Young people like him, he explained, either move to the cities and try to make a go of it amid the gang violence, “or they go north,” he said, to the United States.”     . . . .

“And in refusing to take climate change or responsibility for our planet seriously, the Trump administration is encouraging the conditions that will increase unauthorized migrations to the United States and elsewhere.”

….  “Today, according to global relief agencies, over 68 million people worldwide have been forced to flee their homes, often because of war, poverty and political persecution. As a writer, I focus largely on issues of forced migration. The hundreds of migrants I’ve interviewed in the past few years — whether from Gambia, Pakistan, El Salvador, Guatemala, Yemen or Eritrea — are most often leaving because of some acute political problem at home. But I’ve also noticed something else in my years of reporting. If you talk to these migrants long enough, you’ll hear about another, more subtle but still profound dimension to the problems they are leaving behind: environmental degradation or climate change.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimates that since 2008, 22.5 million people have been displaced by climate-related or extreme weather events. This includes tragedies like the widespread famine in Darfur, monsoons and flooding in Bangladesh and the catastrophic hurricane in Puerto Rico. The more out of whack our climate becomes, the more people up and leave their homes. As our world heats up and sea levels rise, the problem of forced migration around the world is projected to become far worse.

And in refusing to take climate change or responsibility for our planet seriously, the Trump administration is encouraging the conditions that will increase unauthorized migrations to the United States and elsewhere.”

via Opinion | A Warming World Creates Desperate People – The New York Times

Warming- Water Crisis- Then Unrest: How Iran Fits an Alarming Pattern – By Somini Sengupta – NYT

UNITED NATIONS — Nigeria. Syria. Somalia. And now Iran.

In each country, in different ways, a water crisis has triggered some combination of civil unrest, mass migration, insurgency or even full-scale war.

Protestors in Tehran on Jan. 5. “Water is not going to bring down the government,” one analyst said. “But it’s a component — in some towns, a significant component — of grievances and frustrations.” Credit Ebrahim Noroozi/Associated Press
In the era of climate change, their experiences hold lessons for a great many other countries. The World Resources Institute warned this month of the rise of water stress globally, “with 33 countries projected to face extremely high stress in 2040.”

“With escalating global population and the impact of a changing climate, we see the challenges of water stress rising with time,” the retired officials concluded in the report by CNA, a research organization based in Arlington, Virginia.

Climate change is projected to make Iran hotter and drier. A former Iranian agriculture minister, Issa Kalantari, once famously said that water scarcity, if left unchecked, would make Iran so harsh that 50 million Iranians would leave the country altogether.

via Warming, Water Crisis, Then Unrest: How Iran Fits an Alarming Pattern – The New York Times

CNA used to be called the Center for Naval Analyses. From its website, at CNA.org.

“CNA’s approach to research is a modern iteration of the Newtonian principle that complex, dynamic processes are best understood through direct observation of events and people.

That was the methodology CNA analysts first applied in the 1940s when they pioneered the field of operations research by helping the Navy address the German U-boat threat. Not content to study the problem from afar, this small group of MIT scientists insisted on deploying with Navy forces in order to observe operations and collect the data needed for meaningful analyses. Their groundbreaking work, and the anti-submarine warfare equations it produced, set a standard for operations research methods that CNA has maintained for 75 years.

Today, with more than 500 professionals at our headquarters and 50 researchers in the field, CNA still takes a multi-disciplinary, real-world approach to our work. On-site analysts carefully observe all aspects of a process—people, decisions, actions, consequences—and then collaborate with a headquarters-based research team to assess data and arrive at findings.

CNA’s objective, empirical research and analysis helps decision makers develop sound policies, make better-informed decisions, and manage programs more effectively. Our work, which in its early decades focused solely on defense-related matters, has grown to include investigation and analysis of a broad range of national security, defense, and public interest issues including education, homeland security and air traffic management. Through our Center for Naval Analyses and Institute for Public Research, we provide public-sector organizations with the tools they need to tackle the complex challenges of making government more efficient and keeping our country safe and strong.

 

Trump- Niger and Connecting the Dots – by Thomas Friedman – NYT

“Barbut, as I reported, reinforced her point by showing me three maps of Africa with dots concentrated in the middle of the continent. Map No. 1: the most vulnerable regions of desertification in 2008. Map No. 2: conflicts and food riots in 2007 and 2008. Map No. 3: terrorist attacks in 2012. All the dots of all three maps cluster around Niger and its neighbors. Hello?And what is Trump’s response to this reality? It’s to focus solely on using the U.S. military to kill terrorists in Africa while offering a budget that eliminates U.S. support for global contraception programs; appointing climate-change deniers to all key environmental posts; pushing coal over clean energy; and curbing U.S. government climate research.In short, he’s sending soldiers to fight a problem that is clearly being exacerbated by climate and population trends, while eliminating all our tools to mitigate these trends.”

Yes. Deeply disturbing, unfortunately true.

Here are the two top comments”

Socrates

is a trusted commenter Downtown Verona NJ 15 hours ago

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
― Isaac Asimov

TRUMP 2017

Bruce Rozenblit

is a trusted commenter Kansas City, MO 17 hours ago

Dear Mr Friedman,
Since you are a world traveler, do you know where I can get a bottle of anti-anxiety medication? After reading your essay, that will be my only option short of having a nervous breakdown.

I’m an engineer, OK. I think logically. I’ve spent my entire life trying the solve problems and create things that people can use and enjoy. Trump is the exact opposite. He is trying to create problems. He thinks that by creating those problems, he can make the world a better place for all.

My life’s work demonstrates otherwise. Not only that, experience has shown me that when you want to create something new, it’s always a good idea to see what others have attempted in order to find out what works and what doesn’t.

Trump doesn’t do that. He already knows everything so he doesn’t have to learn anything. Since he already knows everything, you can’t tell him anything. His ego is so big that reason is not a component of his thinking. He just reacts with whatever feels good at the time. Oh by the way, he occupies the most powerful office in the world.

About that anti-anxiety medication.

Pentagon Signals Security Risks of Climate Change – by Coral Davenport – NYT Oct 2014

“WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Monday released a report asserting decisively that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security, with increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages. It also predicted rising demand for military disaster responses as extreme weather creates more global humanitarian crises.

The report lays out a road map to show how the military will adapt to rising sea levels, more violent storms and widespread droughts. The Defense Department will begin by integrating plans for climate change risks across all of its operations, from war games and strategic military planning situations to a rethinking of the movement of supplies.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, speaking Monday at a meeting of defense ministers in Peru, highlighted the report’s findings and the global security threats of climate change.

“The loss of glaciers will strain water supplies in several areas of our hemisphere,” Mr. Hagel said. “Destruction and devastation from hurricanes can sow the seeds for instability. Droughts and crop failures can leave millions of people without any lifeline, and trigger waves of mass migration.”

I have been wondering if such a news story existed for about a year and a half. Shame on the NYT for originally sticking it on page 14.

Here is the comment with the reference to this article:

Erik Frederiksen

Oakland, CA 1 hour ago

Consider that a couple of years ago the Pentagon “released a report asserting decisively that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security, with increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages.”

And they are correct. There’s strong evidence that regional climate changes in the past led to increased conflict and migration. We’ve already seen conflicts and migration linked to drought with the little bit of warming to date in places like Syria and Africa.

Farmers around the Bay of Bengal were driven by drought to fish the Bay and now fisheries there are collapsing and the migration from a population of hundreds of millions is beginning. People in Madagascar have been reported to be reduced to eating ash and rocks as their crops have failed for several years now due to drought linked to global warming.

When climatic zones and rains cross borders now there will be people with guns on the other side who may not like those being forced to move. I believe India and perhaps one more country are now building walls to contain the population of Bangladesh which resides on the sinking Ganges River Delta.

And half a billion people live on sinking river deltas.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/14/us/pentagon-says-global-warming-presen…

David Lindsay

Hamden, CT Pending Approval

Regarding this amazing news article, “Pentagon signals security risks from climate change” by Coral Davenport referenced above, I have been wondering if such a news story existed for about a year and a half. Shame on the NYT for originally sticking it on page 14, in October 2014. Thank you Erik Federiksen for your comment and posting the link.

How Global Warming Helped Cause the Syrian War | WIRED

“The bloody conflict in Syria —which enters its fifth year this month—has killed almost 200,000 people, created 3.2 million refugees, and given rise to the murderous extremist group known as the Islamic State. The roots of the civil war extend deep into Syria’s political and socioeconomic structures. But another cause turns out to be global warming.When violence erupted in Syria during the Arab Spring in 2011, the country had been mired in a three-year drought—its worst in recorded history. Government agricultural policies had led to an overreliance on rain, so desperate farmers had to turn to well water—and they ended up sucking most of the country’s groundwater reserves dry. What happened next upended the country. “A lot of these farmers picked up their families, abandoned their villages, and went en masse to urban areas,” says Colin Kelley, a climate scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara and author of a new paper on the conflict. Add 1.5 million refugees fleeing the US-led invasion of Iraq, and the population of Syrian cities grew by 50 percent between 2002 and 2010. The influx led to illegal settlements, rampant unemployment, and inequality. But the government hardly did anything in response (corruption didn’t help, nor did the fact that the hardest-hit areas were populated by Kurdish minorities, who have long been discriminated against and ignored). Soon, frustrations boiled over.”

Source: How Global Warming Helped Cause the Syrian War | WIRED

Mideast governments that are often focused on bloody conflicts are being stressed by the pressures brought on by Mother Nature. nytimes.com|By Thomas L. Friedman

Tom Friedman: “Here’s my bet about the future of Sunni, Shiite, Arab, Turkish, Kurdish and Israeli relations: If they don’t end their long-running conflicts, Mother Nature is going to destroy them all long before they destroy one another. Let me point out a few news items you may have missed while debating the Iran nuclear deal.

On July 31, USA Today reported that in Bandar Mahshahr, Iran, a city adjacent to the Persian Gulf, the heat index soared to 163 degrees “as a heat wave continued to bake the Middle East, already one of the hottest places on earth. ”

Mideast governments that are often focused on bloody conflicts are being stressed by the pressures brought on by Mother Nature.
nytimes.com|By Thomas L. Friedman