Thursday, September 16, 2004

Global warming worries me. I think it's a real threat to America. Am I being absurd? I think we run the risk of appearing arrogent and gratuitously angering lots and lots of people. If we've learned anything from the attacks of September 11, it's that we shouldn't go around making enemies (i.e. maybe we should have spent a little more money reconstructing Afganistan in the 1990's instead of letting it all go to hell).

So. Sea levels are rising. This is very bad for New Orleans (which escaped, luckily--I love New Orleans) and worse for Bangladesh. Bangladesh is poor. And it has 141,000,000 people. 117,000,000 of whom are Muslim. (Sidenote, my pledge brother Zee is Bangladeshi, the only one I know.) I'm no expert, but I think Bangladesh has been fairly friendly to us. We should keep it that way.

But how would the people of Bangladesh react to rising sea levels that would swamp their country? They'd probably be unhappy. And they're not dumb, what if they noticed that the United States was both a cause of global warming and prominantly refused to do anything about it? I don't think it's a stretch to say they'd transfer that unhappiness to us. We don't need any more people ticked off at us, especially a large restive Muslim population with many underemployed and impressionable young men.

Or consider the people of, say, Tuvalu. There are only 11,000 of them, but their islands are about ten feet above sea level at the highest. What if one of them had the same thought process and became convinced that the destruction of their country was all America's fault? Ok, Tuvalu is a little farfetched, but still, my point is that there's no good rationale for making gratuitous enemies. Why manufacture enemies? Why should we hand people a great reason to hate us? It doesn't make any sense.

What's maddening is that there's no reason for us to refuse to sign the Kyoto Protocol and otherwise take action on global warming. We're irritating people and potentially creating lots of enemies for no reason. It's dumb policy and it may well get us in big trouble down the road.

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