Plus ca Change

Every baby boomer has to remember this:


At my grammar school, these were put up on every stairwell to the basement. The problem was, anyone who had read up on what happened to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or even to saturation-bombed Dresden and Hamburg, knew that a grammar school basement wasn’t exactly a shelter from much.

Well, no matter. I do remember classmates whose parents actually built home fallout shelters, some almost as snazzy as this:

And the idea was (if you thought it through), you’d only be able to stock your home shelter with enough stuff for your immediate family, so in the case of pushy, panicky neighbors, it was prudent to stock a shotgun. The nuclear age brought us Xtreme Aesop’s Ant and Grasshopper, it seemed.

Paranoia knit the country together during the Eisenhower-Kennedy years. There we were, scared of an armageddon that, ironically enough, we ourselves had invented at Los Alamos! And as baby boomer males’ crew cuts morphed into hippie hair, then began falling out, until their pates eventually became buzzed once more, so paranoia and its ironies remix the same old themes:

Global warming is likely to increase illegal immigration, create humanitarian disasters and destabilize precarious governments in political hot spots, all of which could affect U.S. national security, according to an assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies.

Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Central and Southeast Asia are most vulnerable to warming-related drought, flooding, extreme weather and hunger. The intelligence assessment warns of the global impact from the spillover: increased migration and “water-related disputes,” according to prepared remarks by Tom Fingar, deputy director of national intelligence for analysis, who was scheduled to speak before a joint House committee hearing.

Grim stuff indeed. Notice particularly who’s saying this, and why.

The national intelligence assessment on the national security implications of global climate change to 2030 is one of a series of periodic intelligence reports that offer the consensus judgment of top analysts at all 16 U.S. spy agencies on major foreign policy, security and global economic issues. Congress requested the report last year.

And no wonder they did. Last year an even grimmer report by the Center for Naval Analyses —

…drew a direct correlation between global warming and the conditions that lead to failed states becoming the breeding grounds for extremism and terrorism.

“Climate change will provide the conditions that will extend the war on terror,” stated Adm. T. Joseph Lopez, who commanded U.S. and allied peacekeeping forces in Bosnia in 1996.

“Weakened and failing governments, with an already thin margin for survival, foster the conditions for internal conflicts, extremism and movement toward increased authoritarianism and radical ideologies,” the previous report said. “The U.S. will be drawn more frequently into these situations,” stated the report, which drew on 11 retired generals and admirals.

This time, the 16 spy agencies downplayed the terror bit. But still, spies and brass as the source of concern about human misery seems to say only one thing:

U.S. to the rest of the world: “We’ve got BIG shotguns here.”


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