A tale told by an idiot

On the vanity of politicians

Israeli politicians are now caged by a fascist beast of their own making – the majority Israeli public, unable to come to any reasonable accommodations with their neighbours for their long term good. Saudi Arabia has put its troops on its northern border and even reinforced them with Egyptian and Pakistani brigades (although this has been officially denied) to protect them from ISIS, a medieval nightmare entirely of their own conjuring. American sanctions are beginning to have a ratcheting effect across the world, replicating on the real side on the balance sheet what competitive devaluations did at the beginning of the Great depression on the financial side. Meanwhile EU apparatchiks stand aghast at a disaster of their own making as Russia bans imports of agricultural products from their member states, as a result of these Europeans taking orders from the US, which isn’t a member state.

All the politicians (“democratic” and despotic alike – it doesn’t seem to make a difference) that wreak this havoc upon the world thus “…   strut[] and fret[] [their] hour upon [this] stage… And then [are] heard no more: it is a tale… Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury… Signifying nothing” (Macbeth Act V, Scene V).

There is a broader context in which this negative assessment of political leadership in our societies needs to be understood: the lip service politicians pay to our impending environmental catastrophe.

This is especially driven home by the events of the strange Siberian craters that have begun to appear all across the Russian Tundra. This mystery has recently been resolved by Russian, German and American scientists, Andrei Plekhanov, Hans-Wolfgang Hubberten, and Larry Hinzman, who link these new features on the landscape to the impact of global warming on melting permafrost and the consequent release of underground methane banks (Open link in the journal “Nature”: http://www.nature.com/news/mysterious-siberian-crater-attributed-to-methane-1.15649). The concern here must be that it isn’t clear that all this methane escaping into the atmosphere has already been included in the global warming calculations of all the recent reports on the subject. It is especially troubling to note this when we know that the melting of undersea frozen methane banks (subsequent to rises in temperature as a result of increased volcanic activity) was the primary contributor to the runaway global warming process that came to be known as the Permian extinction (500m years ago), wiping out 96% of all known life on the planet.

As a species, it looks increasingly as if we will have failed in our main task: our stewardship of the environment which we were gifted. It was a test of our intelligence (homo sapiens? what predictable conceit… perhaps… homo stultus?)