Welcome to the Alternate Green Universe: National Security, Meh! Let’s Talk About Climate Change!
OK, so the US seems to be losing in Syria and in Ukraine. And not doing too well at curbing Iran’s nuclear program. Nor is it bringing peace to the Israelis and Palestinians. And the economy doesn’t look too good, either.
But in the Alternate Green Universe, those issues aren’t important. What really matters, as we learned in the Washington Post the other day, is climate change. And on that front, the President has indeed been active.
Al Gore made the case back in 1992, when he published his magnum opus, Earth in the Balance. As he wrote just before becoming vice president, “The time has come to make this struggle the central organizing principle of world civilization.” Yet back in the '90s, Bill Clinton, cautious on policy issues, kept Gore from doing much on climate change. Today, a re-elected Obama is free to pursue his own neo-Gore vision.
After all, if Gore had correctly identified the true stakes—the fate of the earth is in the balance!—then such mundane concerns as geopolitics or the GDP still seem small next to the “carbon load” in the atmosphere. To be sure, not everyone agrees with this dire assessment; not everyone thinks we should prioritize penguins over Putin, or put the polar ice caps higher in importance than the ayatollahs and their armaments.
But everyone in the Alternate Green Universe (AGU) agrees with Gore and Obama that global warming—oops, I mean climate change—is the top priority. AGU-ers all see Gore as a brave saint, a prophet without enough honor in the larger world, at least not yet.
Today, such Big Greens as Tom Steyer, the hedge-fund billionaire, are devoting their considerable fortunes to the effort to advance Gorean thinking. And Barack Obama is their dutiful convert. Yes, the Democrats may be going down in flames in the ’14 midterms, but by golly, Obama is going to keep cool and keep the world cool—or at least he is going to try.
So yes, the Russians may conquer Ukraine, Iran may go nuclear, and Syria may prove that gas attacks on innocent populations are an effective counter-insurgency tactic. But surely, AGU-ers say, Putin, the ayatollahs, and Assad— flaws and all—will want to work with us on climate change! That’s the AGU faith, and as with any faith, its power is deeply mysterious.
Indeed, the AGU provides its believers with a complete counter-understanding of how the world works; in this way of thinking, we simply must replace our ideas about how nations stay safe with new Green-centric notions. It’s not that AGU-ers don’t care about safety and security, they just define it differently; it’s not WMDs, is rising sea levels. So forget, AGU-ers say, Chinese cyberwarfare; let’s talk about how much US aid it will take to wean China away from coal.
Indeed, within the AGU, we see a strange kind of mimicry of traditional national security ideas and styles. That is, where once leaders concerned themselves with reports about troop movements and missile placements, now they worry about the quantity of carbon dioxide molecules. AGU-ers have neatly converted the idea of national security to climate security—and this conversion holds true for journalists, as well as government officials.
How do we know? We might take a close look at that big article on the front page of Sunday’s Washington Post, headlined, “For Obama, climate is a renewed priority.” In the piece, Obama as Decider-in-Chief gets the full ruffles-and-flourishes treatment—the same portentous scene-setting, the same memoir-ready declarations of firm resolve.
For example, reporter Juliet Eilperin takes us behind the scenes of the dramatic moment when the President really got it. In the past, presidents have known that they were in a rendezvous with destiny when they got the news about, say, Pearl Harbor, or the Cuban Missile Crisis, or Saddam Hussein’s takeover in Kuwait.
But for the 44th President, history’s dramatic drumroll came when when he saw… a photo of the snowpack in California. The President was told, in no uncertain terms, that the snowpack in the mountains of California has shrunk by 86 percent. (Someone might have pointed out that there’s been a severe drought in California, but that someone was not in the room.)
Eilperin quotes White House aide John Podesta, a former chief of staff to President Clinton, who left his deluxe think-tank post to guide Obama toward greater understanding of the climate issue. Recalling the 86-percent epiphany, Podesta declared, “It was a ‘Houston, we have a problem’ moment.”
Eilperin adds, “Obama is now getting into the weeds on climate change and considers it one of the key components of his legacy, according to aides and advisers.” Yes, America may be weak, at home and abroad, but it seems safe to say that the funding stream for the Obama presidential library is now secure.
Eilperin continues, describing the President’s zeal:
He is regularly briefed on scientific reports on the issue, including a national climate assessment that he will help showcase Tuesday. He is using his executive authority to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other sources, and is moving ahead with stricter fuel-efficiency standards for the heaviest trucks.
Indeed, Greenism is a cause for the whole Obama family:
And while he routinely brings up climate change in closed-door meetings with world leaders, according to his aides, he also discusses it in his private life, talking about global warming’s implications with his teenage daughters.
Back in 1980, President Jimmy Carter was mocked for bringing his daughter Amy into the debate over nuclear weapons. Yet today, in the AGU, the Obama daughters are key players in the development of a righteous Green consciousness, and the MSM are fine with it.
So yes, America might be bereft and adrift, but according to the AGU worldview, the President is on the righteous path. And so, for example, there’s not much reason to wonder how the administration will ultimately rule on the Keystone Pipeline—and send thousands of US jobs into permanent oblivion.
On the issue of greatest importance to the left, climate change, the Obama administration is on it. We can expect to see a lot more puffy articles in the MSM. The world may become an even more dangerous place, but Obama’s place in the AGU pantheon is now secure.