Green Energy versus The Uncivil War

Chris Hedges hosted the political writers Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton on his television program (yesterday, on the RT network/channel) for a discussion of the Syrian War, and its many current harmful impacts, as well as its possible grave future consequences for the Middle East, Europe, the United States, and the world. (That episode of Chris Hedges’ program is linked near the bottom.)

My reaction to that program follows.

The problem, as presented so compellingly by Chris Hedges, Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton, is of such large scope that it is difficult to see how any one nation – even the United States – could act alone to “solve it” (forever).

However, the recommendation that the U.S. stop funding destabilization groups in the Middle East (and everywhere), and that the U.S. “pull back” from or “pull out” of the Middle East, would be a very, very helpful step for the reduction of suffering in that region: for example reducing the incidence of wars and the displacements causing huge refugee streams. Such a change in US policy would also benefit the American people by freeing public money now absorbed by covert and overt militarism, to be used instead for much more domestic socialism (like Medicare-for-all, and free college for all).

However, even were such a change in US Middle East policy to occur, there would still be many evils in the region:
– authoritarian and oppressive regimes continuing to hurt the people under them,
– the export of Wahhabism from Saudi Arabia and Qatar,
– the regional Sunni-Shia proxy wars (basically, Saudi Arabia vs. Iran),
– the war by Israel against the Palestinians (who include Muslims and Christians),
– Israel’s agitation against Syria (for regime change, and to keep the Golan Heights),
– Israel’s agitation against Iran (which helps prop up Hezbollah in Lebanon),
– Israel’s agitation includes its own covert and overt military actions, as well as lobbying for the United States to make war against Israel’s designated enemies.

As an engineer without expertise on the Middle Eastern affairs, I have believed since 1973 that the best long-term plan for the U.S. to insulate itself from Middle Eastern turmoil would have been to use the U.S.’s vast fossil fuel resources (and even the nuclear ones) as a stop-gap energy source to power the building of a national solar (“green”) energy collection and distribution system.

That national green energy system would be made of many local solar energy networks interconnected into regional systems, which in turn would be interconnected into a national system. The local power sources would include:
– direct solar-collection to electrical-output arrays (solar panels),
– solar heat collection for boilers that power steam turbines cranking electric generators,
– river hydroelectric (the dams we already have),
– ocean-tidal hydroelectric,
– land-based wind-electric,
– offshore wind-electric,
– a few sites for solar-powered desalination for potable water,
– and solar-powered hydrogen recovery from water for H2-O2 fuel-cell propulsion for civilian aircraft, and road and rail transit.

Given real energy independence, the Unites States could stop funding and supporting Saudi Arabia and Israel (arming them to the teeth so extravagantly). I realize that defunding Israel would be harder to do regardless of circumstances, because of the metastasis of the Israel Lobby within the US body politic. But, if the U.S. could shut off its massive dollar streams currently paying for Middle East petroleum (and bribes to Egypt and Jordan to not annoy expansionist Israel), then many of the Middle East oppressor regimes would be weakened and likely overthrown by more popular and democratic alternatives, and the U.S. would be immune from blackmail by oil embargoes.

Also, a green national energy system for the U.S., replacing the 19th and 20th century fossil and fissile fuel system still in use, would offer a long term, sustainable and low-(no?)-pollution energy-flow for domestic consumption: it would not accelerate climate change.

Obviously, myopic greed such as by fossil and fissile fuel companies opposes such a strategy as they prefer to make private capital gains by extractive exploitation of Nature, and by setting off “pipeline wars” at public expense. The green energy vision and strategy described here is at its core socialist (it is best for the US commons), and it is also internationalist without being belligerent and interventionist, because by sharing such green energy technology internationally the U.S. would help boost the standard of living globally: the human development index (HDI) would increase everywhere, and poverty would decrease everywhere.

The Uncivil War, with Max Blumenthal & Ben Norton
CHRIS HEDGES
16 April 2017
https://www.rt.com/shows/on-contact/384914-uncivil-war-blumenthal-norton/

or, on YouTube:

Of all the articles I have ever written, the one I most wish had gotten wide attention and actually affected public thinking and action, is linked below.

Energy for Society in Balance with Nature
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2015/06/08/energy-for-society-in-balance-with-nature/

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Chemical Defanging of the Syrian Civil War Begins

Interestingly now in the Middle East, Russia is playing a protective role with regard to its client, the al-Assad regime in Syria, in a mirror-image of the US protection of Zionist-Likud Israel, from the threat of UN Security Council resolutions and international interventions. Will China soon follow the US and now Russian examples and express its power by finding a wayward foreign pet to protect from world opprobrium? Will the Obama Administration or any of its successors follow the example of that apt student of American foreign policy, Vladimir Putin, and lead its Israeli client to nuclear and chemical and biological weapons disarmament under the protective cover of American military might and UN Security Council veto power?

It is so easy to imagine a more wonderful world.

There are many questions about U.S., Russian, Iranian, Israeli, Arab League, European, and world (UN General Assembly) competitive interests in Syria, and preferences regarding the outcome of the Syrian Civil War. I kept my focus narrow (chemical disarmament) in my article because I am not able to give a “complete theory” about all the international complications related to the Syrian Civil War (the “greater” game if you will).

I do believe the fear about chemical weapons spreading is real and widespread, which is why “antagonists” like the U.S. and Russia can so readily agree (3 days!) on a process to quickly remove them from Syria (at least the government stockpile, at first).

Though limited in scope, the mere fact of such new cooperation — instead of a U.S.-led air war in Syria — is clearly a positive development. This positive development gives a little bit of encouragement to the hopeful fantasy that maybe the U.S., Russia, and Iran (the new Iranian government and Obama have exchanged letters, Obama disclosed on TV), and others, might move beyond just cooperating on Syrian chemical disarmament, to negotiating rather than shooting out their differences on Syria, and the region.

My purpose in writing about the Syrian Civil War is to help make this last suggestion explicit (chemical disarmament as the nucleus of wider political settlements). I realize my opinion does not go very far, but even so I have the opportunity, and the effort seems worthwhile. Since it is very rare for people (especially “important” ones) to acknowledge the sources of “their” ideas, we really can never know if some of our suggestions in our little corner of the blogosphere have had useful impact or not. But, unless they are available publicly, there is no chance. So we send them off, like messages in bottles cast out to sea. Who knows? Even if we never see it, maybe somebody will get rescued as a result.

Chemical Defanging of the Syrian Civil War Begins
22 September 2013
http://www.swans.com/library/art19/mgarci71.html

These developments were anticipated by suggestions made 4 months ago in an article linked from here:
https://manuelgarciajr.com/2013/05/15/sarin-in-syria/

Syria, Sarin and Oil

War drums beat for US/NATO intervention (air war) in Syria, supposedly to punish the Bashar al-Assad regime (the government) over the use of chemical weapons, blamed on it instead of rebel forces.

Were hundreds of Syrian civilians killed with chemical weapons in a government attack out of desperation, or by a surreptitious rebel attack as a provocation? Gwynne Dyer’s op-ed states the reality of the situation in Syria very clearly (link below).

My article though “old” is still useful to show what is theoretically possible as a minimally violent resolution of the Syrian Civil War that is based around the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles (link below also).

But, such a resolution is not realistically possible because none of the numerous combatants nor their rich and powerful sponsors really care about the global public health, safety and security concerns regarding chemical weapons, nor the regional issues of establishing non-authoritarian (democratic or non-dictatorial) governments and regional peace. They each want power, absolutely.

The political power sought (or trying to be maintained) in Syria is that which can be exercised by wealth, and the richest form of wealth for buying power is materially tied to the earth as petroleum: fossil fuel economics.

Syria is a conflict between two combines:

— the Sunni Persian Gulf oil kingdoms and NATO capitalism, who support rebel forces that include al-Qaeda militias (can we call these Wahhabi militants?), and

— a loosely connected Shiite regional bloc of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, the Alawite centered Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, probably the sympathies (and more?) of the Iraqi Shiite dominated government, the full involvement of Iran, and the diplomatic (and perhaps other technical) support of Russia and China.

The control of fossil fuel resources is the major super-power or geo-political obsession of our time. Global warming and climate change be damned, it’s all about hydrocarbon-based chemical energy providing industrial-strength economic and military power, and that being turned to political advantage internationally, ultimately, I think, out of pure ego. Gorillas thump their chests as warnings and displays of power, we (in the form of our governing elites) do this.

The combines at war in Syria have rival schemes for piping Central Asian oil wealth:

— Iranian and Iraqi oil could be piped west through Syria to the Mediterranean, to feed (addict?) the hungry NATO market, and potentially northeast from Iran through a cooperative Afghanistan directly to China.

— A US-favored route for extracted Central Asian oil would be south (from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan) through Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Arabian Sea, where this oil would be loaded onto tankers to join the shipping traffic from the Arabian Peninsula.

— Another US-favored route involves its NATO partner Turkey: pipelines west from Central Asia across or around the Caspian Sea north of Iran, across Azerbaijan and Georgia, west across Turkey, and from there to Europe.

— Pipelines from Asiatic Russia could transport oil west, through Belarus and Ukraine (assuming cooperation) to Europe, or veer south to the Black Sea, and then be transferred to tankers which would have to pass through the Turkish-controlled choke point of the Bosphorus (the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles strait together form the Turkish Straits). A pipeline from Caucasian Russia (east of Turkey) south through Georgia and Azerbaijan (assuming cooperation) or, further east, across the Caspian Sea could connect to pipelines radiating out of Iran.

For its deep-pocket foreign sponsors, the Syrian Civil War is a local and visible flash-point in their much larger and often quiet and discrete global oil chess game.

Gwynne Dyer: An appalling attack and an unwinnable war
27/08/13
http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/debate/columnists/gwynne-dyer-an-appalling-attack-and-an-unwinnable-war-1-5987754

Sarin In Syria
(MG,Jr.)
14 May 2013
http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/14/sarin-in-syria/

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Sarin In Syria

This article describes sarin, a nerve toxin chemical weapon, and the many ways its presence in the arsenal of the Syrian Arab Republic is affecting the international politics related to the Syrian Civil War. This article was completed in the early hours of May 6, 2013.

Sarin In Syria
14 May 2013
http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/05/14/sarin-in-syria/

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