Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, June 18, 2007

SUVs To Blame For Darfur Genocide

Ban Ki-Moon knows whose killing the Christians in Dafur. Well, let me rephrase that: He knows what's killing the Christians.

It's climate change. Specifically, anthropomorphic climate change -- the kind we humans cause with all that nasty quality-of-life industrialization we insist on.

Writing in Saturday's WaPo, BanKi postulates his theory of the bugaboo behind the genocide in Darfur:
Almost invariably, we discuss Darfur in a convenient military and political shorthand -- an ethnic conflict pitting Arab militias against black rebels and farmers. Look to its roots, though, and you discover a more complex dynamic. Amid the diverse social and political causes, the Darfur conflict began as an ecological crisis, arising at least in part from climate change.

Two decades ago, the rains in southern Sudan began to fail. According to U.N. statistics, average precipitation has declined some 40 percent since the early 1980s. Scientists at first considered this to be an unfortunate quirk of nature. But subsequent investigation found that it coincided with a rise in temperatures of the Indian Ocean, disrupting seasonal monsoons. This suggests that the drying of sub-Saharan Africa derives, to some degree, from man-made global warming.

It is no accident that the violence in Darfur erupted during the drought. Until then, Arab nomadic herders had lived amicably with settled farmers.
To give his little theory roots, he points to some other conflicts, including Somalia, Ivory Coast and Burkino Faso. Let's look at the religious breakdown of these three countries for a moment, shall we?
  • Burkino Faso: 50% Muslim, 40% animist, 10% Christian
  • Ivory Coast: Muslim 35-40%, indigenous 25-40%, Christian 20-30% (2001)
  • Somalia: 100% Islam (or wisely in hiding)
We all know that the conflict in Somalia may have climatological influences, but it's basically a societal collapse brought about by Islamist warlords. The other two nations' population mix indicates what's going on there.

BanKi's theory is so bizarre even Al Gore might question it. Well, he'd probably buy it, but thinking people won't, because if indeed it's global warming we're talking about here, then we'd see warming impacts triggering warfare and genocide globally.

There was a five-year drought in Australia, but did the white farmers kill each other or Aborigines over it? No.

And that heat wave in France a few years back that killed all the oldsters -- do you recall reading anything about bloodshed being triggered by it? Of course not.

In the polar regions, where the ice is thinning and some native tribes are suffering through having fewer animals to hunt, have there reports about Inuit vs. Canuck violence. Not that I've seen.

It's interesting that BanKi points to 20 years ago as the start of global warming, as if 1987 could be pinpointed in the slow crawl of Earth time as when human carryings-on started to impact the planet's climate.

More interesting is his refusal to consider that 20 years ago was also marked the start of the most recent in a recurring historical phenomenon of periodic waves of radical Islamism. Which do you suppose is having a more profound impact on human life at this point in time?

I thought I'd had my fill of U.N. weirdness, but I was wrong. BanKi hadn't gotten to his solution yet.
Ultimately, however, any real solution to Darfur's troubles involves sustained economic development. Precisely what shape that might take is unclear. But we must begin thinking about it. New technologies can help, such as genetically modified grains that thrive in arid soils or new irrigation and water storage techniques. There must be money for new roads and communications infrastructure, not to mention health, education, sanitation and social reconstruction programs.
In an odd logic pretzel, BanKi gives the right solution, but it's counter to his statement of the problem. If anthropomorphic global warming is the problem, then industrialization cannot be the solution. The solution must be to crush industrialization and allow old rain patterns to return.

But BanKi's not that crazy, so he proposes to solve anthropomorphic global warming's impact on Darfur by creating more anthropomorphic global warming. It'll work, but he's going to have to fire his speechwriters first.

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