IMO, however, Shapiro underestimates support for the Russian oligarchy within the US power structure. This because he frames Russian state interests and objectives in a very abstract, general way. Russia today is not a superpower but a fossil fuel power which happens to have a legacy nuclear arsenal: net fuel exports are 17% of Russia’s GDP, extraordinarily high for such a large country. Stabilizing earth’s climate requires leaving fossil fuels in the ground, and that would shatter the Russian oligarchy. Putin’s interests thus align with the know-nothing, no-action position taken by the GOP, and Trump, on climate. That is the material basis for a political relationship between the Russian state and conservative US politicians, which has been developing for some time. The historic antipathy of the Republican Party to Russia is based on anti-communism, not anti-petro-fascism.
Open Democracy has just published a my piece on Trump, Putin, climate change and the EU (the connection is perhaps not blindingly obvious – I hope that list of items has piqued your curiosity. You can read more here). Continue reading →
The Trump-Putin connection can seem just a lurid sideshow in Trump’s horrific circus of racial and religious profiling, misogyny and authoritarianism. And, when that special relationship does catch our attention, the most obvious thing linking the two men (possible videos and blackmail aside) is their common political language of aggressive nationalism.
But this is no sideshow, and much as Trump would like it to be all about him, it is not his personal foible: the agendas of the Republican Party’s petro-backers coincide perfectly with those of the Russian oligarchy, and that is why Trump’s links to Russia were tolerated even before he was elected. The nationalist postures of Trump and Putin, which might seem to be simply ways of rallying some segments of the aggrieved masses to the banners of the countries’ respective caudillos, are instrumental for reshaping the international order in a way favourable to the oil interests.
The overriding need of the oil interests is to block anything that would cut the demand for oil – which is to say, to stymie any serious steps to mitigate climate change. International cooperation is necessary to fight climate change, and aggrieved nationalism undermines international cooperation. The cohesion of the EU is particularly important for international action on climate, and so European integration has become the enemy not only of Moscow, but also of Republican Washington.
Exxon Hates Your Children – what a name for a website, for a campaign. Nice because it is so obviously true while being literally wrong simply because the corporation has no emotions. If an individual were doing what Exxon does, we would see their actions as hateful and hold them up as objects of hate in return – as indeed we do with the Koch brothers or Gina Rinehart. With Exxon and its ilk you get just a bunch of corporate cogs, a machine of impersonal hatred, banal evil…
It’s no secret that proceeds from the sale of oil, timber, etc, often wind up in the pockets (and offshore bank accounts) of public officials around the world. It would be hard to add up the damage this does Continue reading →
Robert Waldman says Theda Scocpal says Marx is dead, on the grounds that the US Republican party didn’t follow big business’s support for [carbon] Cap and Trade legislation in 2007. His post is both interesting and short, so I’ll reproduce it in full:
BP stands first for Brian Plumer then for British Petroleum — I’m pretty sure DuPont is the firm and not Pierre “Pete”. TS is Theda Scocpal. When I knew her (OK when I took freshman physics from her husband Bill) she was one of the few Marxists at Harvard (I think the only one in the Sociology department).
BP: So around 2007, Republicans were becoming more skeptical of climate policy. Yet the main climate strategy in D.C. was to craft a complex cap-and-trade bill amenable to businesses like BP and DuPont in the hopes that those companies would bring in Republican votes. Continue reading →