Thursday, November 1, 2018

New Cold War or Global Tinderbox?

Perhaps you've heard the quotation attributed to Mark Twain that "history doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes"?

The question: what is the referent for contemporary rhyming?

I've concluded that today's conflicts rhyme with the onset of World War I more clearly than with the onset of WWII in the sense that there are multiple powers that are competing to stake out critical resources, as I argue in this post from 2017:

Majia's Blog (2017, August 6) "On the Beach": Reflections by John Pilger.

Profiteering clearly drives warmongering, as it always has. But it feels like the onset of conditions immediately prior to World War I. The "merchants of death" , the same sort who helped catalyze World War I, have been very busy and the politicians' jingoism is becoming increasingly strident.
I've found Klare's work particularly insightful given my perspective on global affairs.

Michael Klare has written a number of books including one with the title, The Race for What's Left. Today I happened on this essay published in The Nation where Klare argues similarly that today's Cold War resembles a global "tinderbox" rather than closely aligned oppositional forces:

Klare, Michael T. (2018, October 30). This Is Not Your Mother’s Cold War: It’s much more terrifying. The Nation, /article/this-is-not-your-mothers-cold-war/
What others are now calling the New Cold War—but I prefer to think of as a new global tinderbox—bears only the most minimal resemblance to that earlier period. As before, the United States and its rivals are engaged in an accelerating arms race, focused on nuclear and “conventional” weaponry of ever-increasing range, precision, and lethality. All three countries, in characteristic Cold War fashion, are also lining up allies in what increasingly looks like a global power struggle.

The scramble for resources that led to World War I "rhymes" with today's scramble for potable water, fertile land, and mineral resources across the planet by a complex array of heterogeneous forces, well-armed with 21st century war technology.

The weapons-defense complex has really boomed since Trump took office (although admittedly the drone lobby was quite pleased with Obama's escalation of drone-warfare).

The global tinderbox will be an inferno if ignited.

The collective suicide would not be painless.


Majia's Blog: Infrastructural Vulnerability and the Politics of War

Majia's Blog: KPBS The Drone Makers And Their Friends In Washington.


  1. US Draws Up Plans for Nuclear DronesBy Nick Fielding, Guardian UK
    04 April 12

    [excerpt] "American scientists have drawn up plans for a new generation of nuclear-powered drones capable of flying over remote regions of the world for months on end without refuelling.

    The blueprints for the new drones, which have been developed by Sandia National Laboratories – the US government's principal nuclear research and development agency – and defence contractor Northrop Grumman, were designed to increase flying time "from days to months" while making more power available for operating equipment, according to a project summary published by Sandia.

  2. Will it be war or weather for which the next few decades will be remembered? My guess is weather and food shortages. It is going to get colder and some grain growing areas will be taken off line for a long time. The jet streams are starting to move towards the equator. We should definitely not expect the out there news media or for that matter popular science to tell us the truth about these things. Their job is to deceive for corporte or govenmental reasons. Check the grain prices. They will be going up.


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