The insanities of our era
THERE is no alternative but to call things by their name. Anyone with minimal commonsense can observe without much effort how little realism remains in the current world.
When United States President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Michael Moore stated "Now please earn it!" That witty comment pleased a lot of people for its acuity, although the Norwegian committee’s decision was perceived by many as no more than demagogy and an exaltation of the apparently inoffensive politicking of the new president of the United States, an African American, a good speaker and an intelligent politician at the head of a powerful empire enveloped in profound economic crisis.
The Copenhagen world meeting was about to take place and Obama raised hopes of a binding agreement in which the United States would join a world consensus in order to avoid the ecological disaster that is threatening the human species. What occurred there was disappointing; international world public opinion had been the victim of a painful deception.
In the recent People’s World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, which took place in Bolivia, responses full of wisdom were put forward by the ancient indigenous nationalities, invaded and virtually destroyed by European conquistadores who, in their search for gold and easy riches, imposed over the centuries their egotistic cultures, incompatible with humanity’s most sacred interests.
Two news items that arrived yesterday express the philosophy of the empire in its attempt to make us believe in its "democratic", "pacific," "altruistic" and "honest" nature. Suffice it to read the text of those agency cables from the capital of the United States.
WASHINGTON , April 23, 2010—"The Obama administration is considering deploying a new group of intercontinental ballistic weapons that could deliver large conventional warheads, non-nuclear but capable of reaching targets anywhere in the world in approximately one hour and with a extremely powerful explosive capacity.
"While the new super-bomb, mounted on Minuteman missiles, will not have nuclear warheads, its destructive capacity will be equivalent, as confirmed by the fact that its deployment is anticipated in the recently signed START 2 agreement with Russia.
"The Moscow authorities demanded and succeeded in having inserted in the agreement, a provision demanding the United States decommission one nuclear missile for every missile it deploys.
"According to reports in The New York Times and on CBS News, the new weapon, baptized PGS (Prompt Global Strike), could carry out tasks like killing terrorist Osama bin Laden in a cave, destroying a North Korean missile as it is being transported to the launch pad, or demolishing an Iranian nuclear site – all without using nuclear bombs.
"The advantage of having a non-nuclear weapon with the same localized impact effects of a nuclear bomb is considered interesting by the Obama government.
"The project was initially proposed by Obama’s predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, but was blocked by Moscow’s protests. Bearing in mind that the Minuteman also transport nuclear warheads, the Moscow authorities said, it would be impossible to establish that the deployment of a PGS was not the beginning of a nuclear attack.
"But Obama’s government considers that it can give Russia or China the necessary guarantees to avoid misunderstandings. The launch facilities of the new weapon will be mounted in sites at a distance from nuclear warhead deposits and will be open to periodic inspection by Moscow or Beijing experts.
"The Prompt Global Strike warhead would be launched on Minuteman missiles armed with 1,000-lb. conventional warheads, designed to strike targets with incredible accuracy.
"Responsibility for the PGS project – which is estimated to cost $250 million just in the first year of experimentation – has been handed to General Kevin Chilton, chief of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Chilton explained that the PGS will fill a gap in the Pentagon’s current range of options.
"‘Today, we can present some conventional options to the president to strike a target anywhere on the globe, but within a time span of at least four hours,’ said the general. ‘To act on a particular target faster than that, the only thing we have is a nuclear response.’"
"In the future, with the new missile, the United States could act rapidly and with conventional resources, both against a terrorist group or an enemy country, in a much shorter time period and without arousing international anger at the use of nuclear weapons.
"It is anticipated that the first tests will begin in 2014, and that by 2017 it would be available in the U.S. arsenal. Obama will no longer be in power, but the super-missile could be the non-nuclear legacy of this president, who has already won the Nobel Peace Prize."
"WASHINGTON, April 22, 2010—An unmanned Air Force space plane was launched this Thursday from Florida, in the midst of a veil of secrecy over its military mission.
"The rocket carrying the reusable X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle lifted off at 7:52 p.m. EDT (2352 GMT) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, according to a video distributed by the army.’
"‘The launch is imminent,’ Air Force Major Angie Blair told AFP.
"Resembling a small space shuttle, the aircraft is 8.9 meters in length and 4.5 in wingspan.
"The manufacture of the reusable space shuttle has taken years and the army has only offered vague explanations as to its objective or role in the military arsenal.
"The vehicle is designed to ‘provide the environment of a ‘laboratory in space’ to test new technologies and components before these technologies are assigned to satellite programs in operation,’ stated the Air Force in a recent communiqué.
"Officials have stated that the X-37B will land at the Air Force Vandenberg Base in California, but they did not say how long the inaugural mission will last. ‘
"‘To be honest, we don’t know when it’s going to come back,’ Gary Payton, second assistant secretary of Air Force space programs, told reporters this week.
"Payton stated that the shuttle could remain in space for up to nine months.
"The aircraft, manufactured by Boeing, began as a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) project in 1999 and was then transferred to the Air Force, which plans to launch a second X-37B in 2011."
Is anything more needed?
Today they have found themselves with a colossal obstacle: the now uncontainable climate change. The inevitable temperature increase of more than two degrees centigrade is being mentioned. Its consequences will be catastrophic. In just 40 years the world population will increase by two million, thus reaching a total of nine billion people; in that brief period: docks, hotels, seaside resorts, communications, industries and installations in the vicinity of ports will be submerged in less time than is required for the enjoyment of half of the existence of the generation of one developed and rich country, which is currently refusing to make the most minimum sacrifice to preserve the survival of the human species. Agricultural land and potable water will be considerably reduced. The seas will become polluted; many marine species will become impossible to consume and others will disappear. This is not affirmed by logic but by scientific investigations.
Via natural genetics and the transfer of varieties of species from one continent to another, human beings succeeded in increasing production per hectare of food and other products useful to humans which, for some time, alleviated the scarcity of foodstuffs like corn, potato, wheat, fibers and other necessary produce. Later, genetic manipulation and the use of chemical fertilizers similarly contributed to the solution of vital needs, but they are now reaching the limit of their possibilities for producing healthy food appropriate for consumption. On the other hand, in barely two centuries, hydrocarbon resources that nature took 400 million years to form are being exhausted. In the same way, vital non-renewable mineral resources that the world economy requires are being exhausted. At the same time, science created the capacity of self-destroying the planet several times in a matter of hours. The greatest contradiction in our era is, precisely, the capacity of the species to destroy itself and its incapacity to govern itself.
Human beings have succeeded in raising their possibilities of life to limits that exceed their own survival capacity. In that battle raw materials in their reach are being consumed at an accelerated rate. Science made it possible to convert matter into energy, as occurred with nuclear reaction, at the cost of enormous investments, but the viability of converting energy into matter is not even on the horizon. The infinite cost of investment in pertinent investigations is demonstrating the impossibility of achieving in a few dozen years what the universe took tens of billions of years to create. Is it necessary for the child prodigy Barack Obama to explain that to us? Science has grown extraordinarily, but ignorance and poverty are also growing. Can anyone demonstrate the contrary?
Fidel Castro Ruz
April 25, 2010
Translated by Granma International