25 October 2016   2 comments

For perhaps the first time in the last 3 million years, levels of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) “broke through 400 parts per million (ppm), meaning 400 molecules of CO2 for every one million molecules in the atmosphere.”  The World Meteorological Organisation indicated that 2016 will be the first year in which the entire year witnessed these high levels.  It also pointed out that CO2 is only one of the greenhouse gases that is increasing.  Other gases, such as methane, are also increasing rapidly.

A NASA depiction of the global sources of CO2 which are dominated by the US, China and Europe

CO2 levels globally

The lack of a coherent US policy toward Syria is deeply troubling.  Not only have nearly 500,000 people died and 11 million people displaced, but the US has lost strategically to the Russian objective of keeping President Assad in power.  It is not enough to point out (correctly) that Syria was a very difficult situation to manage.   We do not maintain foreign policy for only easy situations–having an effective foreign policy is more necessary in the most difficult situations.  The Atlantic has a very good essay pointing out how US policy vacillated at critical points, making it difficult to maintain a coherent policy.

The banana is the most popular fruit in the world.  Virtually every banana sold in supermarkets is a clone of a single type of banana, the Cavendish.  The most common type of banana, the Gros Michel, was wiped out in the early 1960s by a fungus called Fusarium wilt.  Cavendish bananas are apparently less tasty than the Gros Michel (I would not know), but they were resistent to the fungus.  But now a new disease, called Black Sigatoka–the fungus Pseudocercospora fijiensis–threatens the Cavendish, as well as other diseases.  Fortunately, there are about a 1000 different kinds of bananas in the wild, but in the short term we may have to go without our bananas until scientists figure out how to grow tasty alternative bananas for a global diet.  Botanically, bananas are actually berries.

Image result for bananas

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Posted October 25, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

2 responses to “25 October 2016

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  1. What’s the more rudimentary reason for the vacillation of US policy? The article talked about how “failures US forces experienced” and “lessons non-interventionism taught people” contributed to the US policy cycle. It seems that the single most important factor here is that the US has been unable to maintain the same value structure (keeping the same priority) throughout battles and throughout years. It’s certainly true that “keeping the same priority” can be very difficult for any country during war time. But could it be just Americans don’t understand and don’t trust their military forces enough in succeeding these long term interventions? Not to make excuses for some tragic loss by the military forces, but there are, very crucially, strategies that would only be effective in the long run. Premature decisions in backing off and leaving out might easily lead to waste of government spendings as well as demoralization across US forces. This makes the so called “next cycle” in the article even more vulnerable and ineffective. If the general population could hold on for a bit longer during battles and during years, i.e. during the tough moments morally and mentally, maybe the military forces would have a better chance in achieving historical results, and we’ll then enter a positive-feedback cycle.

  2. I certainly agree that US foreign policy has been inconsistent over time. The differences between Clinton and George Bush are striking. But conditions change over time as well. A policy designed for the Cold War would hardly be effective against the threat posed by 11 September 2001. Foreign policy is WATS addressing a moving target.

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