George Monbiot continues to amaze me in how closely we think alike. His article this week is not only the read of the day, but one of the best articles I have read so far this year. I will therefore quote from it extensively. I will take you through his main points.
On Saturday, President Bush warned the UN security council that accepting a new resolution authorising a war with Iraq was its “last chance” to prove “its relevance”. Four days before, a leaked document from the Pentagon showed that this final opportunity might already have passed. The US is planning to build a new generation of nuclear weapons in order to enhance its ability to launch a pre-emptive attack. This policy threatens both the comprehensive test ban treaty and the nuclear non-proliferation treaty – two of the principal instruments of global security – while endangering the international compact that the UN exists to sustain.
If the Pentagon document is true, it marks a turning point in global affairs – one of the biggest changes since the Second World War. It will completely shift the nature of nuclear weapons – and may make their use more regular – and frighteningly more normal in the future.
The Republicans’ victory in the mid-term elections last November was secured with the help of $60m from America’s big drug firms. This appears to have been a straightforward deal: we will buy the elections for you if you abandon the concession you made in Qatar. The agri-business lobbies in both the US and Europe appear to have been almost as successful: the poor nations have been forced to discuss a draft document which effectively permits the rich world to continue dumping its subsidised products in their markets.
I had not realized that drug companies donations before the mid-term elections had been so huge. It looks like the Bush administration has done an about turn – after getting some money. Nothing new there then.
Of course an economically weakened nation in possession of overwhelming military force remains a very dangerous one. Already, as I suggested last week, the US appears to be using its military machine to extend its economic life. But it is not clear that the American people would permit their government to threaten or attack other nations without even a semblance of an international political process, which is, of course, what the Bush administration is currently destroying.
I am speechless by now. Not only is Monbiot is right, he is reading the situation correctly and applying that reading to the future, I believe. Truly brilliant writing – read it.