Newsletter No 35.
The Earthly Paradise by Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Museo del Prado
The Paddle Now newsletter is addressed to those striving for an Earthly paradise: the fifty or so civil society organisations that represent the instruments by which New Zealand activists endeavour to engineer beneficent change in global affairs.
Without international cooperation (effective global governance) there will be no escape for humanity. In this 21st Century, everywhere, future and present human lives and happiness are threatened by environmental destruction and climate change; by pandemics; famines; cruel abuses of human rights; the constant danger of accidental or intentional nuclear war and all the lesser levels of kinetic conflict that state and non-state actors inflict on suffering populations.
The recent replacement of Trump by Biden as POTUS is seen by many as a cause for hope. At first sight he is master of all our destinies. In the case of climate change his accession cannot represent anything but an improvement. However, what is the point of striving to save humanity from climate change, while at the same time continuing down the road to an ever-more likely nuclear war? In his first conversation with the Chinese President, Biden made clear that that destructive confrontation will continue. Biden speaks 3 minute read. It is instructive to note that the meal China is cooking is regarded as America’s lunch. Such is the imperial sense of entitlement!
Already, to bring home the message to the watching world that USS America (and its allied escorts) will not be diverted from their chosen course of global supremacy, Biden has re-asserted the USA’s freedom from the constraints of international law. This he has done with a ‘defensive’ drone strike on Syrian militias fighting the remnants of ISIS. The reason given was that this was in retaliation for an allegedly Iranian inspired Iraqi attack on the bases of the US occupation force in Iraq. N’importe quoi!
Just as Trump tore up Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran, Biden is now preparing to tear up Trump’s agreement with the Taliban to remove all US troops from Afghanistan in May this year. Let the killing (made by the interests vested in the Military Industrial Complex) go on: let twenty years of illegal occupation keep on giving!
Libya’s anguish Libya used to be ranked fiftieth in the Human Development Index. Ten years later, after Hillary Clinton had so famously gloated over Gadhafi’s murder “We came, we saw, he died,” Libya is ranked at 107 in the index. Untold suffering lies between those two figures. Could the murderous mayhem, so casually and illegally inflicted by the Western powers on Libya, be coming to an end? 3 minute read
Ecocide Progress towards criminalization of Ecocide. 4 minute read.
Environment & Climate Change.
Tundra As the tundra thaws, the beneficial effects of climate change on Russian food production. 3 minute read.
Climate Commission Rod Oram on the inadequacies of the NZ Climate Commission report. 5 minute read.
Desert greening How to rehabilitate large-scale, grossly degraded, eco-systems. Why don’t we?- 47 minute watch.
Peace & Conflict Resolution
Indian pugnacity Questioning India’s contribution to the USA’s ‘forever wars,’ 5 minute read.
Expanding nuclear capability Thank goodness, the USA is not going to run out of nuclear weapons any time soon! 3 minute read.
Human Rights & Justice
Chinese poverty landmark According to the World Bank, more than 850 million Chinese people have been lifted out of extreme poverty; China’s poverty rate fell from 88 percent in 1981 to 0.7 percent in 2015, as measured by the percentage of people living on the equivalent of US$1.90 or less per day in 2011 purchasing price parity terms. 4 minute read.
Myanmar Avoiding the temptation to see the Myanmar coup as yet another excuse for inflicting sanctions on the suffering people – 5 minute read