By Alexander N. Riccio
On September 23rd, the United Nations hosted a climate summit in New York that brought together political leaders from 125 nations including U.S. President Barak Obama. The event was intended to highlight the realities of an existential crisis to the human species, but our president made it a moment to reveal his sociopathic dismissal of life instead.
While Obama pronounced the U.S. to be doing its part in combating the existential crisis of climate change by reducing “total carbon pollution by more than any other nation on Earth” in the last eight years, the New York Times reported that his administration has begun an “atomic revitalization” plan to upgrade and expand the U.S’s nuclear arsenal at a cost of one trillion dollars over the next three decades.
Noam Chomsky has observed that “two great dangers threaten the existence of the world: our relation to the environment and the danger that starts from nuclear weapons.” Examining the latter threat to human survival we can discern that Obama considers nuclear catastrophe a trivial matter. Not only has his administration committed to a massive upgrading of nuclear capability, they have drastically increased the likelihood of nuclear holocaust through addictive warfare and terroristic behavior.
With the newly initiated military action in Syria, Obama’s administration has effectively decided to put out a fire by dousing it in gasoline. Two of the world’s nine nations that possess nuclear weapons are located in the Middle East—Israel and Pakistan—and both have enemies on their borders as well as ties to larger nuclear nations. Every day the Obama administration continues to engage in warfare in the Middle East heightens the risk of terroristic blowback and nuclear mobilization.
What about Obama’s commitment to combating climate change, the other great threat to existence? For all his silver tongued rhetoric about reducing carbon emissions and creating a greener planet Obama’s record on climate change provides little reassurance.
The administration has recently delayed action on proposing a policy that would curb carbon emissions from power plants until December 1st, after upcoming mid-term elections. The plan is heavily opposed by industry lobbyists connected to coal. Bill Mckibben wrote in Rolling Stone that in 2012 “U.S. coal exports were the equivalent of putting 55 million new cars on the road.” Mckibben went on to state that Obama’s current proposals to cut carbon emissions and implement green energy while at the same time digging more carbon energy is like “eating a pan of Weight Watchers brownies after you’ve already gobbled a quart of Ben and Jerry’s.” These trends in coal exports have not reduced since.
Obama’s administration is determined to okay the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline which scientists have stated will mean “game over” for the environment. Obama claims the pipeline will be a job creator and mechanism to get the U.S. energy independent—both assertions being false.
But lying comes easy for a sociopathic president, as does implementing policies that will further concentrate power into the hands of a select few while guaranteeing the ultimate destruction of life as we know it.
Alexander N. Riccio is a writer and activist based in Corvallis, Oregon.