The Five Plagues Testing Humanity

The Uncivil War Between Nationalism and Internationalism, a View from the Heavens (and Hell)

John Feffer, The Book of Job, Updated for the 22nd CenturyMarch 27, 2022

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: I wanted to thank TD’s faithful readers who checked out Aviva Chomsky’s latest piece at this site and then contributed $100 ($150 if you lived outside the U.S.) for a signed, personalized copy of her important new bookIs Science Enough? Forty Critical Questions About Climate Justice. What would I do without you? For any of you who meant to but haven’t yet contributed for a signed, personalized copy of Chomsky’s new book, it’s still available for a few more days at our donation page. Do check it out. As John Feffer, whose splendid Splinterlands novels are also still at our donation page, makes clear today, her subject is, in no uncertain terms, the most crucial on our beleaguered planet. Tom]For the first time in years, thanks to the Ukraine conflict, there’s been talk again of that nightmarish Cold War-era nuclear term “mutually assured destruction” (or MAD).

Unfortunately, the madness of the Russian invasion of Ukraine (and the threat of nukes that, from moment one, went with it) has swept the news, leaving the other kind of MADness beginning to engulf our planet in the shade, at least for now.  So it was good to see that, among all those focused on other issues, U.N. General Secretary António Guterres recently spoke about it in terms that couldn’t have been more blunt. “This is madness,” he said. “Addiction to fossil fuels is mutually assured destruction.”How right he is!  To take that version of MADness in, you can skip the fires now flaring in Texas, part of a megadrought in the American West that hasn’t been seen in 1,200 years and just head straight for the poles. If you do so this spring, however, in that once-upon-a-time domain of ice and snow, be sure to take your shorts and suntan lotion. After all, just recently it was 70 degrees Fahrenheit (yes, that’s not a misprint) warmer than normal in parts of Antarctica and 50 degrees Fahrenheit above the norm in parts of the Arctic.

  Both poles, in other words, are heating up in ways we’ve never seen before. That, of course, will mean potentially cascading changes globally as ice melts, sea levels rise disastrously, and increasingly iceless polar waters only absorb yet more of the sun’s heat.

Bad as Ukraine may be (and it is a genuine, if utterly unnecessary horror), the way it’s only increasing the urge to burn fossil fuels on this planet should truly frighten us all.  Can there be any question that, in March 2022, the future of our world as we’ve known it is ever more in peril?

No wonder TomDispatch regular John Feffer, author of the remarkably farsighted Splinterlands trilogy of dystopian novels, looks to the heavens today, turning not to us but to the gods for some kind of illumination. Tom

The Five Plagues Testing Humanity

The Uncivil War Between Nationalism and Internationalism, a View from the Heavens (and Hell)

By John Feffer

Once upon a time, the tutelary gods of nationalism and internationalism met for a chat. They had a superb perch above the clouds. From there, they could see everything happening on the Earth below and they set to arguing, as they so often did.

Sophia, the goddess of internationalism, began by proudly pointing to the accomplishments of humanity. “Behold the United Nations,” she said, not for the first time. “See how all the peoples of the world cooperate across borders, languages, and cultures.”
Click here to read more of this dispatch.  

3 days ago…
Aviva Chomsky, A Planet on Fire

5 days ago…
Hartung, Cleveland-Stout, and Giorno, Cold Wars, Then and Now

1 week ago…
Jane Braxton Little, From Drought to Deluge on a New Planet

10 days ago…
Engelhardt, Cold War II or World War III?

Ann Jones, Afghanistan (Again)2 months ago…
Noam Chomsky and Stan Cox, Before It’s Too LateConsider supporting TomDispatch by making a donation here.

© 2020 TomDispatch

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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