Thursday, June 16, 2011

Climate Wars: Tropic of Chaos by Christian Parenti

Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence [Hardcover]

Christian Parenti


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    Editorial Reviews

    From Africa to Asia and Latin America, the era of climate wars has begun. Extreme weather is breeding banditry, humanitarian crisis, and state failure. 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.

    Tropic of Chaos: KIRKUS REVIEWS


    Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence
    Author: Parenti, Christian
    Publisher:Nation Books/Perseus
    Pages: 320
    Price ( Hardcover ): $25.99
    Publication Date: July 1, 2011
    ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-1-56858-600-7
    Category: Nonfiction

    An investigative journalist’s tough analysis of how some of the world’s most vulnerable states—those with a history of economic and political disasters—are confronting the new crisis of climate change.
    The Nation contributing editor Parenti (Lockdown America, 2008, etc.) focuses on the region of the planet that lies between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. He expects nations in this area to face a catastrophic convergence of poverty, violence and climate change—hence the label “Tropic of Chaos.” The danger he foresees is that the reaction of the United States and other developed countries to this disaster may be to become “armed lifeboats” with militarized borders and aggressive anti-immigration policies. In Parenti’s view, the militarism of the Cold War and America’s economic policies of privatization and deregulation are to blame for pushing many developing countries into political and economic instability. The social effects of climate change in a given country can be neither understood nor planned for, he writes, without knowledge of the country’s history. To remedy this, he offers a grim account of the history of several countries in the Tropic of Chaos, including failed and semi-failed states in Africa, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Brazil and Mexico, making specific connections between economic history, political violence and climate. Water, he argues, has long been a key driver of conflict, and with climate change bringing extreme weather with droughts and flooding, it will become an even greater issue. The chapter on South America leads directly to his discussion of immigration to the United States, where immigrants are met with “the calumny, hatred, and ideological spittle of rightwing demagogues” like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. In the final chapter, Parenti offers his ideas for how the United States might respond otherwise.
    A dark look at a looming world crisis in which the United States comes off as one of the worst villains

    Tropic of Chaos: Publishers Weekly

    From Publishers Weekly

    Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence
    Christian Parenti. Nation, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-56858-600-7
    In this scathing study, Parenti (Lockdown America) argues that climate change is already wreaking havoc on the planet in the form of devastating droughts and other weather aberrations that create a shortage of arable land and resources. In the developing world, these challenges intersect with the ongoing crises of poverty and violence to create what Parenti terms a “catastrophic convergence.” Arguing that coming environmental shifts will “act as a radical accelerant,” he describes how cold war militarism and neoliberal economics have eroded community fabric and public services in such disparate places as the arid savannahs of Kenya, the mountains of Afghanistan, the favelas of Brazil, the jungles of Colombia, and the deserts of northern Mexico, opening the door for “socially disruptive forms of adaptation,” like brutality, genocide, and corruption. As the developing world sinks deeper into crisis, the developed world takes the “armed lifeboat” approach, consolidating wealth and firepower while ignoring the rising tide of need among the planet’s most vulnerable citizens. Parenti’s careful reporting and grasp of politics and economics support the book’s urgent message–that impending global chaos is all but assured unless the developed world finds the political will to imagine a better future. (July)
    Reviewed on: 04/18/2011

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