The war in Iraq continues to dominate the news, as violence escalates and evidence grows that having more of our troops there only increases the chances of Americans dying. President Bush is now openly talked about in the media as living in his own reality. In solving the world’s problems, he seems to use the following set of tactics, tried in succession (if the previous steps don’t work):
1. Deny there’s a problem.
2. Control information so people believe doing what you want is in their best interest and will keep you in power.
3. Offer financial incentives to do what you want (and disincentives to do what you don’t want them to do), as long as it doesn’t adversely impact the wealth of your friends or you.
4. Threaten force.
5. Use force, as long as someone else is doing the fighting.
6. Convince yourself and others that you’re succeeding.
7. Go to Step 2, which is Bush’s definition of diplomacy.
Regarding Iraq, we have just passed Step 6.
Meanwhile, popping up occasionally in the lists of interesting news, are the truly scary and far-ranging problems. Today, for example, it was reported that the highest mountain glaciers in Africa may be gone in 50 years, and the main culprit is likely global warming. A couple of months ago, barely noticed by the news media, the World Wildlife Fund’s latest Living Planet Report continued to show a decline in species populations (30 percent in 33 years) accompanied by a rise in the ecological impact of humanity (having overshot Earth’s natural resource carrying capacity by 25 percent as of 2003).
Regarding the global ecological crisis, we are at Step 2.