John Feffer examines what it means that North Korea has been driven ever closer to fellow nuclear powers Russia and China.
Sovereignty was once the king’s prerogative; he was, after all, the sovereign. Today’s autocrats, like Vladimir Putin, are more likely to have been voted into office than born into the position like Kim Jong-un. The elections that elevate such autocrats might be questionable (and are likely to become ever more so during their reign), but popular support is an important feature of the new authoritarianism. Putin is currently backed by around 80% of Russians; Orban’s approval rating in Hungary hovers near 60%; and while Donald Trump could likely win again only thanks to voter suppression and increasingly antidemocratic features baked into the American political system, millions of Americans did put Trump in the White House in 2016 and continue to genuinely believe that he’s their savior. Bolsonaro in Brazil, Nayib Bukele in El Salvador, Narendra Modi in India, Kais Saied in Tunisia: they were all elected.
Yes, such leaders are nationalists who often act like populists in promising all sorts of handouts and feel-good nostrums to their supporters. But what makes today’s autocrats particularly dangerous is their exceptionalism, their commitment to the kind of sovereignty that existed before the creation of the United Nations, the earlier League of Nations, or even the Treaty of Westphalia that established the modern interstate system in Europe in 1648. Both Trump and Xi Jinping harken back to a Golden Age all right — of rulers who counted on the unquestioned loyalty of their subjects and exercised a dominion unchallenged except by other monarchs.
Source: As Falls Russia, So Falls the World – scheerpost.com
History tells us these things don’t turn around overnight and go on for longer than is good for anyone.
The Right’s plan to take the presidency in 2024 requires a candidate with a higher-than-average disregard for the truth. That’s why Donald Trump is still their man — a fact that should worry us all.
Source: We Still Have to Take Donald Trump Seriously
We face a defining choice. We can hold to course with an economy that grows GDP to provide a few with the opportunity to make a killing as they prepare to escape to outer space. Or we can embrace the current opportunity to transition to an ecological civilization, with a living economy dedicated to supporting us all in making a secure and fulfilling living on a thriving living Earth. Awakening to the reality that we cannot eat money and there are no winners on a dead Earth points us to the latter as the clearly better choice.
Source: A Viable Human Future Depends on Living With Less | The Smirking Chimp
So, even with the inherent uncertainty in the pace and potency of these overwhelmingly negative effects of climate change, safety from it all is only likely in a handful of countries – those that currently have mild climates, that are wealthy and resource-rich, that have good healthcare systems, that aren’t politically unstable, and aren’t likely to experience dangerous weather extremes on a regular basis.
That leaves us with a pretty short list, then: Canada, Northern Europe, New Zealand, and perhaps Japan, for example. Wait, what about the Land of the Free – the wealthiest, perhaps most resourceful nation on Earth? Isn’t this a safe haven? Actually, no, not quite.
via As The Climate Changes And The Earth Warms, Where’s The Safest Place On Earth To Live? | IFLScience
Even Murdoch is buying into it. “I read this week about my Australian friends at Westfield. They can see what Amazon is doing to bricks and mortar retail,” he told the Financial Times over the weekend.
The enormous deals signify the end of an era. But they were also fitting because 2017 was a year when technological disruption (a buzzword that is often misused, but that will have to suffice for the purposes of this column) was everywhere in corporate Australia.
via The relentless, unstoppable force that spooked Murdoch and Lowy