How Trump’s Policies Can Lead to Human Extinction
by Playthell Benjamin
Recently I had a conversation with a professor of physics in Berkeley about climate change; from his pained facial expressions and the resignation in his body language, I could tell this was not his favorite subject. As it turns out the warming of our planet is something he had thought about quite a lot, and I would soon learn that physicist of all schools everywhere in the world are thinking about it. And it soon became clear that not nearly enough people outside of the scientific community are thinking about the crisis seriously.
I knew the feeling. For over half a century I have been trying to warn my fellow citizens, anybody who would listen really, that we are living in the absurd situation where our entire civilization and all life on this planet, could be extinguished in a ball of radioactive fire hotter than the sun within an hour from now by nuclear weapons. To my knowledge, I am the only pundit who writes about the looming catastrophe of nuclear war on a regular basis. Most either don’t understand it, or are too depressed about its consequences to ponder the problem; it is too ghastly to contemplate.
In an important regard the Physicist and I shared a similar burden: having an intimate and sure knowledge of how the extinction of our species could occur. He as a result of his profession, me because of my service on a Strategic Air Command base stationed at the DEW – Distance Early Warning – line in Glasgow Montana, a remote location in the Great Plains near the Canadian border.
Our mission was the nuclear destruction of the Soviet Union. The fact that I enjoyed a Top-Secret security clearance and was in a unit tasked with the security of the planes and their nuclear payloads, as well as the war fighting plans, provided me a birds eye view of the results of a nuclear war. It was terrifying, but it is much more dangerous now! The physicist also understands the devastating affect of nuclear weapons, but he has no idea of the probability of its use; the scenarios whereby such an unspeakable event could happen.
However, when it comes to climate change his great fear is not simply that it is happening, but that it may already too late for any human action to reverse this calamity, this ticking ecological time bomb set in motion by the sustained human assault on mother nature. He told me the ice caps at Earth’s poles are melting, and this will make life nearly unbearable in many parts of the world that are at, or below, sea level. Islands in the pacific, as well as American cities like Miami and New Orleans will disappear, low lying sections in Manhattan and Brooklyn will also be under water.
The planet will also experience highly destructive weather events that will make the worst hurricanes we have seen look like relatively mundane events. And they will occur with far greater frequency. But that was not the worst of it; he also said that there are vast quantities of methane gas stored under the icecaps sufficient to poison the air and make it unbreathable! By the time he was through painting a vivid portrait of the horrors looming over the future of our planet, the reason for his pessimism became palpable.
Alas, I could feel his pain. For we must live with the horror of knowing that it is a man-made disaster, and that this disaster is the creation of a hand full of arrogant, cold-blooded, know-it-all politicians, scientist and militarist. This is but a small fraction of humanity, and in a democratic political system they can be stopped if it is the will of the majority.
Our only hope is to come together in a concerted action to stop them. That’s why I write essays like this and post them on the internet for free; getting the word out is far more important than money. The fate of the earth is at stake. Never was the political axiom truer: “In a popular democracy the people eventually get the kind of government they deserve!”
As I put the finish touch on this essay it is Easter Sunday morning, and the famous presidential historian David McCullough is being interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning. He is quoting a past president who said: “Only men who are honest and wise should occupy this office.” The crux of our problem is that we now have a man in office who is antithesis of wisdom or honesty!
And despite the pro-Trump, rah! Rah! America blather, I am listening to from Joe Scarborough this Monday morning – who is supposedly the “thinking man’s conservative” – and an expert from the prestigious journal Foreign Affairs, at present Trump is doing some dumb and dangerous things. At present he has ordered the nuclear armed US Navy to cruise off the coast of North Korea, whose government has issued a warning that if they believe they are about to be attack they will launch a preemptive strike with all their might, including nuclear weapons. When this warning is considered in light of an impulsive belligerent Donald Trump’s announcement that his approach to international crisis is to be “unpredictable,” we have the perfect scenario for a catastrophe!
Hence instead of worrying about the “irrational North Korean leader with the funny haircut,” as one American commentator pompously put the problem; I think we should be terrified of the irrational American leader with the funny hairdo! For so long as The Donald – a vain, ignorant, pugnacious, megalomaniacal charlatan – remains in the Oval office with the power to remove the US from the international climate control treaty, and launch nuclear weapons, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IS THE MOST DANGEROUS NATION ON EARTH!
Benjamin is a veteran political journalist out of Harlem NY. His essays can be read on his blog site Commentaries on the Times.