Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence
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In Tropic of Chaos, investigative journalist Christian Parenti travels along the front lines of this gathering catastrophe--the belt of economically and politically battered postcolonial nations and war zones girding the planet's midlatitudes. Here he finds failed states amid climatic disasters. But he also reveals the unsettling presence of Western military forces and explains how they see an opportunity in the crisis to prepare for open-ended global counterinsurgency.
Parenti argues that this incipient "climate fascism"--a political hardening of wealthy states-- is bound to fail. The struggling states of the developing world cannot be allowed to collapse, as they will take other nations down as well. Instead, we must work to meet the challenge of climate-driven violence with a very different set of sustainable economic and development policies.
March 9, 2010, www.eurasianet.org/departments/civilsociety/articles/eav030910a.shtml. 6 Luke Harding, “Kyrgyzstan Calls for Russian Help to End Ethnic Riots,” Guardian (UK), June 12, 2010. 7 “Where Is the Justice? Interethnic Violence in Southern Kyrgyzstan and Its Aftermath,” Human Right Watch, August 16, 2010, www.hrw.org/en/reports/2010/08/16/where-justice-0. 8 Kramer, “Government Buildings Retaken in Kyrgyzstan”; “Uzbekistan: Concern at Ethnic Trouble in Kyrgyzstan.” 9 “Electricity Cut at
corruption, criminalization of the state, deterioration of public services, arbitrary use of state violence and human rights violations, the relative autonomy of the security forces, factionalism among state elites, and finally, external intervention by other states or parastate forces. It is a descriptive collection of indices that is also explanatory.2 Development in Reverse To travel in failing states, the front lines of climate change, has a hallucinogenic quality, as if one were
during the summer on faraway hills are the single source of fuel.7 The first journalist to break the story of the 1972 famine was Abdul Haq Waleh, editor of a local newspaper called Caravan. He traveled to Chakhcharan, the small dusty capital of Ghor, and found a terrifying scene: corpses littered the street; survivors could not dig graves fast enough to keep hungry dogs at bay; scores of children had been abandoned by parents who could no longer feed them or orphaned by parents who had starved.
area young men firebombed ten buses. A year later it happened again: police raids killed thirteen, and then gang members burned fifteen buses during four days of violence.3 Indeed, the gangs of Rio run the favelas and the city’s retail drug trade. Inside the communities they carry machine guns openly as if they were the police, tax local economic activity as if they were the revenue service, and operate informal courts and mete out punishment as if they had a legal code. Steal a cell phone? Get
development. As Frank Tannenbaum put it in his contemporary classic Peace by Revolution, “The Mexican Revolution was anonymous. It was essentially the work of the common people. No organized party presided at its birth. No great intellectuals prescribed its program, formulated its doctrine, outlined its objectives.”36 Article 27 and the Corporatist State In victory, the revolution settled on an agenda of economic modernization and capitalist development that pivoted, interestingly, on the