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Thread: How Iraq and climate change threw the right into disarray

  1. #1

    How Iraq and climate change threw the right into disarray

    Gideon Rachman

    Published: January 22 2007 20:43 | Last updated: January 22 2007 20:43

    Ronald Reagan is dead and Margaret Thatcher is in her dotage. The ideological world that those two leaders created is now slipping away with them.

    From 1979 to 2004, the right won the battle of ideas in the western world. Conservatives triumphed because they got the two big issues of the era right: they were in favour of free markets and against communism. But now the right is in disarray because it has found itself on the wrong side of the two dominating issues in contemporary western politics: global warming and the Iraq war.

    Most people’s first reactions to new political issues are instinctive. In 2003, the kind of people going on anti-war marches – or warning of impending climate doom – looked to many right-wingers like the same people who had been wrong about everything else for the past 25 years. They were the people warning the world was running out of oil in the 1970s; who opposed privatisation in the 1980s and marched against the first Gulf war in 1991. They were the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament crowd; the “East Germany has solved the housing problem” crowd; the “we are all going to die of mad-cow disease” crowd. They were earnest men in cardigans and fierce women in sensible shoes.

    The thought that these people could be right about anything was frankly intolerable. But, in fact, they were right about two things: global warming and Iraq.

    Global warming poses a fundamental challenge to the- right’s faith in markets. It is, as Gordon Brown, Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer, puts it “the world’s biggest market failure”.

    Worse, most of the proposed remedies for global warming involve things the right traditionally abhors. There is global governance in the form of monster international accords such as the Kyoto treaty. There are restrictions on individual liberty as the clamour grows to tax people out of their cars and off their cheap flights. There is a new emphasis on localism as opposed to globalisation. There is also a backlash against the idea that faster economic growth is always desirable or sustainable.

    The Iraq debacle also cuts away at the intellectual and moral self-confidence of the right. The Reagan-Thatcher approach to the world was founded on an unapologetic belief in military strength and an unhesitant confidence in the moral superiority of western democracy. When the cold war was won in 1989, the right embraced an exuberant universalism. The cheering crowds in Prague and the Baltic states – and even the martyred students of Tiananmen Square – seemed like clinching evidence that all men do indeed desire the same things, and that a western formula for freedom and prosperity is infinitely exportable.

    It was the confidence born of victory in the cold war that created the confidence to invade Iraq. Failure there threatens to undermine the moral certainty bequeathed to the right by Mrs Thatcher and Reagan, as well as the belief in the efficacy of military force and the exportability of western democracy.

    The hallmark of a successful ideological revolution is that it swiftly makes party political labels irrelevant. Reagan’s and Mrs Thatcher’s real triumphs came when their centre-left heirs embraced their ideas. Bill Clinton’s most significant domestic policy achievement was a welfare reform based on ideas first advanced by conservative social critics. Tony Blair, UK prime minister, refused to reverse the trade union reforms pushed through by Mrs Thatcher. His Iraq policy, with its unwavering adherence to the “special relationship” with the US, is Thatcherite to the core.

    Of course, there are diehards on the right who still argue that global warming is hysteria and that Iraq will work out in the end. Who knows, they may even be vindicated – one day. But they have already lost the political argument. They are now so far from the conventional wisdom that even Britain’s Conservatives and America’s Republicans – the parties that gave birth to the Thatcher-Reagan revolution – are accepting “leftwing” positions on climate change and Iraq.

    The process is further advanced in Britain than the US. David Cameron, the leader of the Conservatives, arranged a photo opportunity in the Arctic, amid melting ice and barking huskies, to underline his concern about global warming. He has also declared that Britain should not have a “slavish” relationship with the US.

    With George W. Bush still in the White House, this process of rightwing ideological adaptation is much less advanced in the US. The president’s aides have moved to squish rumours that he will announce a major change of tack on global warming in Tuesday’s State of the Union address. But the Bush era has less than two years to run and much of the rest of the Republican party is already changing.

    John McCain, the leading Republican candidate for the presidency, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the most important Republican governor, both want tougher action on climate change. And the Republican party is far from unanimous in backing Mr Bush’s new surge of troops into Iraq. These trends within Republicanism are only likely to gather strength if, as seems likely, alarm about global warming and Iraq keeps growing.

    All this makes it sound as if the only role left for the Anglo-American right is to roll over and capitulate. But that is far too gloomy. In this new ideological era, conservatives have two obvious tasks – one defensive and one offensive.

    The defensive role is to guard against over-reaction to the emerging consensus on global warming and Iraq. The right was not wrong to spot its old anti-capitalist, anti-western foes in the coalitions that first latched on to these issues. There are radical voices that will try to use global warming to create a world in which nobody takes a cheap flight again – and in which globalisation is put into reverse. It will be up to the right to show that growth and greenery can be reconciled. Similarly, the Iraq catastrophe is great news for anti-Americans in Europe and isolationists in the US. Conservatives need to hold the line against both.

    But the right can do a lot more than mere damage control. Many of the most important ideas of the Reagan-Thatcher era – privatisation, trade union reform, the re-thinking of the welfare state – were developed in opposition to the intellectual consensus of the 1960s and 1970s. After a long period of intellectual hegemony, a period in ideological opposition might be just what the Anglo-American right needs.

    [email]gideon.rachman@ft.com[/email]

    [url]http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2ebaf5d0-aa55-11db-83b0-0000779e2340.html[/url]

  2. #2
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    [QUOTE][B]The truth about global warming - it's the Sun that's to blame
    By Michael Leidig and Roya Nikkhah
    Last Updated: 11:15pm BST 17/07/2004[/B]

    Global warming has finally been explained: the Earth is getting hotter because the Sun is burning more brightly than at any time during the past 1,000 years, according to new research.

    A study by Swiss and German scientists suggests that increasing radiation from the sun is responsible for recent global climate changes.

    Dr Sami Solanki, the director of the renowned Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Gottingen, Germany, who led the research, said: "The Sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures.

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    "The Sun is in a changed state. It is brighter than it was a few hundred years ago and this brightening started relatively recently - in the last 100 to 150 years."

    Dr Solanki said that the brighter Sun and higher levels of "greenhouse gases", such as carbon dioxide, both contributed to the change in the Earth's temperature but it was impossible to say which had the greater impact.

    Average global temperatures have increased by about 0.2 deg Celsius over the past 20 years and are widely believed to be responsible for new extremes in weather patterns. After pressure from environmentalists, politicians agreed the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, promising to limit greenhouse gas emissions between 2008 and 2012. Britain ratified the protocol in 2002 and said it would cut emissions by 12.5 per cent from 1990 levels.

    Globally, 1997, 1998 and 2002 were the hottest years since worldwide weather records were first collated in 1860.

    Most scientists agree that greenhouse gases from fossil fuels have contributed to the warming of the planet in the past few decades but have questioned whether a brighter Sun is also responsible for rising temperatures.

    To determine the Sun's role in global warming, Dr Solanki's research team measured magnetic zones on the Sun's surface known as sunspots, which are believed to intensify the Sun's energy output.

    The team studied sunspot data going back several hundred years. They found that a dearth of sunspots signalled a cold period - which could last up to 50 years - but that over the past century their numbers had increased as the Earth's climate grew steadily warmer. The scientists also compared data from ice samples collected during an expedition to Greenland in 1991. The most recent samples contained the lowest recorded levels of beryllium 10 for more than 1,000 years. Beryllium 10 is a particle created by cosmic rays that decreases in the Earth's atmosphere as the magnetic energy from the Sun increases. Scientists can currently trace beryllium 10 levels back 1,150 years.

    Dr Solanki does not know what is causing the Sun to burn brighter now or how long this cycle would last.

    He says that the increased solar brightness over the past 20 years has not been enough to cause the observed climate changes but believes that the impact of more intense sunshine on the ozone layer and on cloud cover could be affecting the climate more than the sunlight itself.

    Dr Bill Burrows, a climatologist and a member of the Royal Meteorological Society, welcomed Dr Solanki's research. "While the established view remains that the sun cannot be responsible for all the climate changes we have seen in the past 50 years or so, this study is certainly significant," he said.

    "It shows that there is enough happening on the solar front to merit further research. Perhaps we are devoting too many resources to correcting human effects on the climate without being sure that we are the major contributor."

    Dr David Viner, the senior research scientist at the University of East Anglia's climatic research unit, said the research showed that the sun did have an effect on global warming.

    He added, however, that the study also showed that over the past 20 years the number of sunspots had remained roughly constant, while the Earth's temperature had continued to increase.

    This suggested that over the past 20 years, human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation had begun to dominate "the natural factors involved in climate change", he said.

    Dr Gareth Jones, a climate researcher at the Met Office, said that Dr Solanki's findings were inconclusive because the study had not incorporated other potential climate change factors.

    "The Sun's radiance may well have an impact on climate change but it needs to be looked at in conjunction with other factors such as greenhouse gases, sulphate aerosols and volcano activity," he said. The research adds weight to the views of David Bellamy, the conservationist. "Global warming - at least the modern nightmare version - is a myth," he said. "I am sure of it and so are a growing number of scientists. But what is really worrying is that the world's politicians and policy-makers are not.

    "Instead, they have an unshakeable faith in what has, unfortunately, become one of the central credos of the environmental movement: humans burn fossil fuels, which release increased levels of carbon dioxide - the principal so-called greenhouse gas - into the atmosphere, causing the atmosphere to heat up. They say this is global warming: I say this is poppycock."

    [/QUOTE]

    [url]http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/07/18/wsun18.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/07/18/ixnewstop.html[/url]


    boy...this one caught me by surprise... :rolleyes:

  3. #3
    Still that post does not address the issue of how these two issues Iraq and Global Warming kick the right in the @ss last November.

    I will get more info on that theory

  4. #4
    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg]Still that post does not address the issue of how these two issues Iraq and Global Warming kick the right in the @ss last November.

    I will get more info on that theory[/QUOTE]


    Why is it that you put so much focus and attention on the elections in November? The results were easier to call than a Patriots-Cardinals Superbowl (and I mean the St. Louis Cardinals). The misinformed voting public thought that by voting Democrat across the board, without actually researching separate candidate profiles, that the War in Iraq would magically end.


    Hey, at least Pelosi got Senators to stop smoking in the Capitol lounge.


    "35-0! 35-0!"

    Give me a break already. There's more to politics than partisan control. This is obvious with Lieberman breaking the liberal ranks and winning as an Independent, and many Republicans refusing to back the new troop influx.

  5. #5
    [QUOTE=pauliec]Why is it that you put so much focus and attention on the elections in November? [B]The results were easier to call than a Patriots-Cardinals Superbowl[/B] (and I mean the St. Louis Cardinals). The misinformed voting public thought that by voting Democrat across the board, without actually researching separate candidate profiles, [B]that the War in Iraq would magically end. [/B]

    Hey, at least Pelosi got Senators to stop smoking in the Capitol lounge.


    "35-0! 35-0!"

    Give me a break already. There's more to politics than partisan control. This is obvious with Lieberman breaking the liberal ranks and winning as an Independent, and many Republicans refusing to back the new troop influx.[/QUOTE]


    There are still those that won't wake up to the new reality that the last election set.

    I don't think that anyone thought that the war would "magically end". Most of the people that I correspond with can't believe that Bush is expanding the war after the election. Inspite of the facts.

    LIEberman is no liberal.

  6. #6
    I'll be interested in hearing what your boy Mr. Webb (one of my State guys now) has to say post-SotU.

  7. #7
    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg]There are still those that won't wake up to the new reality that the last election set.

    I don't think that anyone thought that the war would "magically end". Most of the people that I correspond with can't believe that Bush is expanding the war after the election. Inspite of the facts.

    LIEberman is no liberal.[/QUOTE]


    hahahahaha oh my God, did you just capitilize the "LIE" in Liberman's name? LOL Man, you are too much.

  8. #8
    [QUOTE=Warfish]I'll be interested in hearing what your boy Mr. Webb (one of my State guys now) has to say post-SotU.[/QUOTE]


    I will be very interested in what he has to say.

    I already read an article this morning theorizing that one of his talking points will be emphasizing the importance to cut spending in Iraq so that the federal government can rebuild the Gulf Coast in Louisiana.

    ... That's right, apparently that's the job of the federal government.

    If that's really what he's planning on saying, I'm going to be pissed off. There's still a gaping hole in Lower Manhattan from 5 years ago, and yet I don't expect the federal government to fix it (even though it was caused by an act of war against the USA). Mayor Nagin is still looking for handouts and the Dems are eating it up.

    Anything to take the focus off the War.

  9. #9
    [QUOTE=pauliec]I will be very interested in what he has to say.

    I already read an article this morning theorizing that one of his talking points will be emphasizing the importance to cut spending in Iraq so that the federal government can rebuild the Gulf Coast in Louisiana.

    ... That's right, apparently that's the job of the federal government.

    If that's really what he's planning on saying, I'm going to be pissed off. There's still a gaping hole in Lower Manhattan from 5 years ago, and yet I don't expect the federal government to fix it (even though it was caused by an act of war against the USA). Mayor Nagin is still looking for handouts and the Dems are eating it up.

    Anything to take the focus off the War.[/QUOTE]

    I was pinged by Mr. Webb. I wrote and told him to talk about:

    A new look at Katrina and what really should be done there if anything.

    A look at a Federal Program to "ensure" that Veterans get a "fair shake" when they complete there service to this nation. Particularly after a war. Too many veterans are 'homeless' and have other ills that get ignored when we complete our service to the nation.

    We vets have earned our stripes.

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=Come Back to NY][url]http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/07/18/wsun18.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/07/18/ixnewstop.html[/url]


    boy...this one caught me by surprise... :rolleyes:[/QUOTE]


    Did you read the whole article? The guy who did the study about the brighter sun even says that humans are impacting the temp/global warming!


    Dr Solanki said that the brighter Sun and higher levels of "greenhouse gases", such as carbon dioxide, [b]both[/b] contributed to the change in the Earth's temperature but it was impossible to say which had the greater impact.

  11. #11
    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg]I was pinged by Mr. Webb. I wrote and told him to talk about:

    A new look at Katrina and what really should be done there if anything.

    A look at a Federal Program to "ensure" that Veterans get a "fair shake" when they complete there service to this nation. Particularly after a war. Too many veterans are 'homeless' and have other ills that get ignored when we complete our service to the nation.

    We vets have earned our stripes.[/QUOTE]


    Honestly, I have very little knowledge about how veterans are treated by the government once they get home. If they need more benefits or support, then by all means they certainly deserve it.

  12. #12
    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg]A look at a Federal Program to "ensure" that Veterans get a "fair shake" when they complete there service to this nation. Particularly after a war. Too many veterans are 'homeless' and have other ills that get ignored when we complete our service to the nation.

    We vets have earned our stripes.[/QUOTE]

    What benifits do Vets not get that you believe they should, specificly?

    I can only assume that since you think it worthy enough a problem to have the Post-SotU touch on it, you must have some specifics on the topic.

  13. #13
    [QUOTE=Warfish]What benifits do Vets not get that you believe they should, specificly?

    I can only assume that since you think it worthy enough a problem to have the Post-SotU touch on it, you must have some specifics on the topic.[/QUOTE]


    I stated last week that I would stop by the VA clinic that is close to my home. I did. Some of the veterans can't get full benefits. This is incredible. You can get full benefits before you get injured but not afterwards?

    The Lockheeds, Haliburtons and Boeings can make BB's but we can't fund the medicine for the veterans?

    How about job training? How about job placement assistance? How about business management instruction? How about a college program with some meat in it?

    How about making some of the companies that benefit from veterans getting shot up and wounded having to hire some of them when they return from the service?

    What happened to morality in the USA? Even for the veterans, the real heroes of America?

  14. #14
    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg]There are still those that won't wake up to the new reality that the last election set.

    I don't think that anyone thought that the war would "magically end". Most of the people that I correspond with can't believe that Bush is expanding the war after the election. Inspite of the facts.

    LIEberman is no liberal.[/QUOTE]

    So what exactly has Joe Lieberman lied about? He ran on the policies you disagree with, and [b]won[/b] on the policies you disagree with. Seems like the people of the State of Connecticut disagree with your political stand.

    And "inspite" of what facts?

  15. #15
    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg]I stated last week that I would stop by the VA clinic that is close to my home. I did. Some of the veterans can't get full benefits. This is incredible. You can get full benefits before you get injured but not afterwards?

    The Lockheeds, Haliburtons and Boeings can make BB's but we can't fund the medicine for the veterans?

    How about job training? How about job placement assistance? How about business management instruction? How about a college program with some meat in it?

    How about making some of the companies that benefit from veterans getting shot up and wounded having to hire some of them when they return from the service?

    What happened to morality in the USA? Even for the veterans, the real heroes of America?[/QUOTE]

    I cannot even read your posts anymore Dawgg. Your severe Socialist Welfare Liberal bent is just so counter to everything I beleive about a free nation and free people, I can't even find the right words to disagree with you anymore.

    I fully support lifetime Medical Coverage for our Soldiers, for their whole lives, and disabillity benifits for those disabled in service.

    But beyond that........no. I cannot even fathom where you get the belief that so much is owed to you, for a job your choose to take, and should have known the risks going in. You seem to expect to have everything after your time in duty handed to you on a platter, college, a job, payments from those "evil" corporations, etc, etc, etc.

    Your sense of indebted entitlement just blows my mind.

  16. #16
    [QUOTE=Warfish]I cannot even read your posts anymore Dawgg. Your severe Socialist Welfare Liberal bent is just so counter to everything I beleive about a free nation and free people, I can't even find the right words to disagree with you anymore.

    I fully support lifetime Medical Coverage for our Soldiers, for their whole lives, and disabillity benifits for those disabled in service.

    But beyond that........no. I cannot even fathom where you get the belief that so much is owed to you, for a job your choose to take, and should have known the risks going in. You seem to expect to have everything after your time in duty handed to you on a platter, college, a job, payments from those "evil" corporations, etc, etc, etc.

    Your sense of indebted entitlement just blows my mind.[/QUOTE]

    You never served and you never will You don't see the hardships that these veterans incur. They are only good enough for you and the republicans to send off to war.

  17. #17
    [QUOTE=doggin94it]So what exactly has Joe Lieberman lied about? He ran on the policies you disagree with, and [b]won[/b] on the policies you disagree with. Seems like the people of the State of Connecticut disagree with your political stand.

    And "inspite" of what facts?[/QUOTE]

    I just poke fun at the first letters of his last name...LIEberman :yes:

  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg]You never served and you never will You don't see the hardships that these veterans incur. They are only good enough for you and the republicans to send off to war.[/QUOTE]

    Hey Sarge, threaten to kick his a$$! It's so cool when you do that....

  19. #19
    [QUOTE=Warfish]I cannot even read your posts anymore Dawgg. Your severe Socialist Welfare Liberal bent is just so counter to everything I beleive about a free nation and free people, I can't even find the right words to disagree with you anymore.

    [B]I fully support lifetime Medical Coverage for our Soldiers, for their whole lives, and disabillity benifits for those disabled in service. [/B]

    But beyond that........no. I cannot even fathom where you get the belief that so much is owed to you, for a job your choose to take, and should have known the risks going in. You seem to expect to have everything after your time in duty handed to you on a platter, college, a job, payments from those "evil" corporations, etc, etc, etc.

    Your sense of indebted entitlement just blows my mind.[/QUOTE]

    Then you must be real pissed off to know that they do not get lifetime Medical Coverage and Disability benefits

  20. #20
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    [QUOTE=Jetdawgg]I stated last week that I would stop by the VA clinic that is close to my home. I did. Some of the veterans can't get full benefits. This is incredible. You can get full benefits before you get injured but not afterwards?

    The Lockheeds, Haliburtons and Boeings can make BB's but we can't fund the medicine for the veterans?

    How about job training? How about job placement assistance? How about business management instruction? How about a college program with some meat in it?

    How about making some of the companies that benefit from veterans getting shot up and wounded having to hire some of them when they return from the service?

    What happened to morality in the USA? Even for the veterans, the real heroes of America?[/QUOTE]
    Exactly which companies benefit from soldiers getting wounded?

    By the way, when I interview candidates for employment, military service is a definite plus, and has helped in hiring decisions.

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