Category Archives: Talks

“让我们行动起来!” (美国总统 就职典礼 贝一明的演讲)

“让我们行动起来!”

(美国总统 就职典礼)

贝一明

Emanuel Pastreich

(美国总统大选独立参选人)

2021年 1月 20日

今天发表这篇演讲时,我深感沉痛,同时也心怀与这项使命相称的谦卑与解决当前危机不可或缺的见解。这场既成事实的混乱已经席卷华盛顿特区,且将其藤蔓伸向美国各地,伸向这一蓝绿相间的星球上的每一个国家。比起乔治·华盛顿或者亚伯拉罕·林肯的有序治理,这场混乱更配得上罗马帝国的尼禄皇帝和卡里古拉皇帝的残暴统治。

在我们面前,挑战已严峻到无以复加,危险已迫在眉睫。然而,这场危机同时也打破了沉寂,开辟出了空间,让我们得以迎接全新的变革,复兴我们的国家,推动它沿正轨前进,不再重蹈覆辙,不再重陷帝国冲突与国内冲突的泥淖。往事已矣,但未来可期。

正如罗马皇帝马可·奥勒留所述:

“倘若人能够无惧无欲地履行职责,总能在从事的事情中获得满足,奉行神之意旨,拥抱‘超凡的真实’,字字句句出自真心,那么他的生活将幸福无比。”

铺成前方唯一一条光明大道的,便是“超凡的真实”,而非华而不实的假象。其实再过去的几天乃至几年中,我们都已经历过残酷的试炼,为这场考验做好了准备——再次引用马可·奥勒留的名言,“拦路石变为了铺路石”,然而我们对此无知无觉。

在通过科学方法针对国会奇妙遭袭一事开展全面、透明的国际调查之前,我们最好保持沉默。

然而,与此同时,留给我们的时间已经不多了。

这既不是任一历史性的时刻,也不是简简单单的一场选举。

也许我们应当把这一事件视为一场火山爆发,视为各种地质变化在美国社会中经过多年酝酿之后突然现身的结果。时间一天天、一个小时一个小时地过去;就这样,几十年来,它们悄无声息,直到这一刻。

未经操控、漫无目的的文化与政治变革岩浆蓦然喷发,冲下山坡,让森林化作火海。我们如果有足够远见,知晓我们的国家、我们的星球会变成何种样貌,一定会当机立断,将这股力量加以正确引导。岩浆冷却之后,即可变为坚固至极、可存续几百年之久的制度、文化和价值观根基。

反之,如果我们畏首畏尾,如果我们肆意放纵人类的破坏天性、为所欲为,如果我们随意将钥匙交给破坏之神湿婆,那么岩浆冷却后将化作道道高墙,将我们彼此隔绝孤立几个世纪,让我们就此寸步难行。

没错,在过去的几天中,在过去的一年里,美国的确遭受重创;这场严酷的疫情也让我们难以招架。

然而我所指的,并不是国会侵袭事件,不是。美国所遭受的真正袭击,是躲在层层化名和空壳公司背后的超级富豪、跨国投资银行、各种资产管理公司和私人股本公司通过接管整个联邦政府来实施的。他们的行动无声无息、无迹可循。

小马丁·路德·金牧师的话正中要害:“一个军费支出年年超过社会改善项目经费的国家正在走向精神末日。”

在讨论必要措施以及现在的当务之急之前,让我们先来看一看眼下的情况,尤其是新冠疫情所造成的影响。

新冠病毒已感染美国社会的每一肢体和器官,并且已经将邪恶的DNA深深植入这一国家,悄悄地繁衍增殖。它是如此地可恨,让一个曾为世界做出不可估量的贡献的国家病入膏肓、面目全非。

这种疾病大肆侵蚀着我们的文化和制度,其起源尚不为人所知。而国家道德沦丧;有幸接受良好教育的人败德辱行;有时间、有机会学习经济学、政治学、历史和哲学,从而了解新闻报道内涵的人三缄其口,从不把自己的所知所想告诉给普通大众——这一切都助长了病毒的气焰,加速了疫情的蔓延。

上述美国人享受着优厚的特权,却完全背弃了自己成全大义的职责。哪怕可以让不甚幸运的人脱离这场文明瘟疫的折磨,他们也不愿意付出一点点努力。

我们这些得天独厚之人绝不该视自己享受到的利益为理所应当之物,更不该自私吝啬。我们所受到的教育、学到的技能都是上天轻轻交到我们手中、让我们与他人分享的礼物。

最重要的是,我们必须时时刻刻地记挂着那些在便利店、在加油站工作至深夜的人;那些破晓时分便早早起床,为我们打扫办公室、倒垃圾桶的人;还有那些如今无家可归、昨晚在高速公路旁用薄纸板借以挡风、凑在一起取暖的人。

他们时运不济,没有机会学习专业技能、了解物理学和技术。我们在思忖自己的职责与义务时,一定要首先考虑到他们。我们必须帮助他们、保护他们——一定要把这种情怀作为所有政策的重心与基础。

现在,我们必须抗争,必须联合全世界的强大力量,为了阻止我们的国家滑向一系列军队派系之间的大小内斗而抗争。我们必须遏制银行家们的恶劣勾当,让他们不要再像一群围攻狮子的鬣狗,像一群争着把嘴伸入食槽的猪一样,疯狂敛财。

我们无需对超级富豪手中的傀儡,对卑鄙的寄生虫抱任何期望。我们要针对趁人不备占据华盛顿的幕后黑手采取行动。

正如前总统富兰克林·D·罗斯福所说:

“我们已同和平的旧有敌人——商业和金融垄断、投机、不计后果的金融行为、阶级对立、地方主义和战争奸商展开斗争。

他们开始认为,美国政府不过是自己手上业务的附属品。现在我们知道,政府由有组织的金钱团体操纵,同被有组织的暴徒控制一样危险。”

我们必须声讨那些意欲利用新冠疫情摧毁所有美国人乃至全世界人民生活经济基础的邪恶势力。我们要反抗他们,因为他们只会对积极的、有组织的抗争做出回应。他们没有考虑过实施那些置人于死地的计划的理由,也决不会妥协。

我们要撕下他们的面具(口罩),然后再摘下我们自己的面具(口罩),迎接真理和科学的曙光。

国会大厦遭冲击事件将会如何被人利用,我们心知肚明。他们不会揭露这场闹剧背后的导演,而是会向当年911惨剧上演之后一样,趁机放任幕后势力压制美国境内的言论自由。我可以毫无顾忌地对参谋长联席会议全体成员的意图表示质疑。他们都是与大财团联系紧密的政客,都要插手在共和国之棺上钉下最后一枚钉子。其实对于911恐怖袭击事件后发生的一切,他们也乐于视而不见。

如今,严刑峻法正在酝酿当中。《爱国者法案》的限制范围将进一步扩大,一切国内抗议活动,以及一切对于新疫苗接种制度的质疑,都将被视为违法犯罪。

我们不应对唐纳德·特朗普或者乔·拜登先生心怀怨恨。在腐朽不堪的制度之下,他们都已尽力;然而他们并无担任美国总统的资格,并非美国的合法领导人。整个政府都已陷入腐败泥潭,因此大选并不合规合矩。

本应矗立着政府的地方,现在只剩下腐败,沦为了“买票入场”的闹剧场。

那些悲伤的人不过是一群冲浪者,他们试图驾驭突然涌出的乱流,却对这股浪潮的本质一无所知。

当哈佛大学成为高盛集团炒作疫情的工具,当FDA遵照跨国企业的命令推广危险的疫苗,当《华盛顿邮报》和《华尔街日报》由视我们为草芥的亿万富翁掌控时,我们面对的,可不仅仅是空心人的悲哀与空虚。

今天,我要承担起这份沉重而又无甚回报的使命,呼吁国内外所有道德与责任感尚存的美国人挺身而出、行动起来。

我在此庄严宣誓,要从今日起担负领袖职责,团结所有美国民众为争取自由和正义而奋斗,直至合理合法的大选重归美国,直至有更加胜任这一位置的能力出众之人来代替我。

我们需要一位总统,不,一位公民,来对美利坚共和国,对联合国进行彻底变革。

让我来提醒诸位,尽管美国的政治传统与联合国的管理制度以民主为基础,但其根基,其灵魂,其基本理念都与革命有关,可追溯至1776年美国革命,追溯至1860年的反奴革命。我们的传统本来就富有革命性;此时此刻,这一传统更是举足轻重。

让我来为诸位诵读《独立宣言》,因为在某种程度上,我今日的演讲也是另一份《独立宣言》。只是这一次,我们不是要从大英帝国独立,而是要摆脱一个超级富豪及其仆人们在其内暗中为害、被他们操控的金融与投机帝国。

我们在此宣布,脱离这个腐败丛生、掠夺人民的帝国,这个对外战争不断、媒体精于洗脑的帝国,这个为谋利而大肆推广速食与非必需药物的帝国。

当时,我们的开国元勋是这样讲的:

“我们认为,下述真理不言自明:所有人生而平等,被造物主赋予了不可让渡的权利,包括生活、自由与追求幸福的权利。——为了保障这些权利,人们组建政府,使政府的正当权力源自于被统治者的同意。——不论何种政府,只要违背了这些宗旨,人民便有权将其加以改造或废除,建立起全新的政府,让新政府以上述原则为基石,以上述形式组织权力,最大可能地给人民以安全与幸福……然而当权者一再滥用职权、篡夺人民权力时,人民有权、有义务,抛弃这样的政府,为他们未来的安全提供新的保障。”

没错。民主过程的关键环节之一是革命。在进步派与保守派的浮夸言论之间漫无目的地左右摇摆不过是自欺欺人,无异于在百事可乐与可口可乐之间做选择,与所谓的“政治意识”无甚关联。

关于自由,托马斯·杰斐逊曾有一句精辟的论述。

杰斐逊写道:

“自由之树必须以爱国者和暴君的鲜血时时浇灌,以使其永葆活力。”

这句话在当时千真万确,于今日更是至理名言。

在将任何人承认为总统之前,我们都必须:

1)列出名单,统计掌控我们国家的超级富豪、投资银行、私募基金和其他寄生性金融机构,同时制定计划,以: a) 将其近日罪行的相关信息公之于众(以应对国家危机为理由,将此信息解密,或者从保密协议中释出);b) 让罪魁祸首(包括斥巨资将自己包装成为人民朋友的富豪)面临刑事指控。

2)从货币与金融领域(美联储)着手,控制经济,建立民有、民治、民享的经济体系。旨在控制全球投机怪兽的计划有很多,我们需要一一实施。

3)动员民众创办致力于追求真相、不会对敏感话题闭口不谈的新闻媒体,使其迅速取代只为企业金主服务的腐败媒体。

4)建立道德公民国际委员会,监督总统大选及国会选举,保证其公正公开,让民众能够充分参与,阻止企业献金,令所有合格候选人都有机会提出自己建设性的提议。

5)为联合国改革提出切实规划,使其成为地球公民真正的地球治理平台,永远将利用该组织谋利、违背《联合国宪章》宗旨的银行家和超级富豪关在门外。

6)将我们的国家安全工作重点转移至阻止全球投资银行及其伙伴继续对生物多样性造成破坏、对气候造成不良影响;解决财富过度集中问题,停止对技术,尤其对自动与通讯技术的滥用,让民众的思考能力和生计免遭破坏。

提出要求十分简单,但实现它们绝非易事。

这项工程需要美国乃至全球共同努力,需要有勇有谋之士为我们指引道路,需要大家配合跟随。

我在此自告奋勇,暂时担任这一过程的组织者一职,然而并非为了谋求权力或者财富。我决意效仿辛辛那特斯,可以随时让贤。

未来在你们的手中,我亲爱的同胞们。我们已经准备就绪,即将组织、领导大家让我们的国家脱胎换骨。然而最终做出决断的,一定是你们。

真理永不止步。

感谢诸位的聆听。

“The Future of the US-Korea and the US-Japan Alliance” Asia Institute Seminar (July 31, 2 PM)

Invitation only (There are three places left. Please do contact me if you are interested in attending)

“The future of the US-Korea and the US-Japan Alliance”

The Asia Institute

Emanuel Pastreich

President

The Asia Institute

Friday, July 31, 2020

2-4 PM

@ Dalgaebi

Discussion with Emanuel Pastreich, president of the Asia Institute

On the seventieth anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, an event that transformed the United States role in East Asia and ushered in both the US-ROK and US-Japan alliances, the world is going through profound shifts that are both rewriting the definition of security and transforming the position of both the Republic of Korea and Japan in the international community.


Emanuel Pastreich, the president of the Asia Institute, is the most prominent American working on Korean and Japanese issues in East Asia who has spent the last 25 years working on Korean and Japanese affairs. He will present his insights on what the future offers for the Republic of Korea and for the United States, and also suggests how the two alliances need to transform in order to meet upcoming challenges.

Emanuel Pastreich serves as the president of the Asia Institute (asia-institute.org), a think tank that builds bridges between individuals in Asia and around the world to respond to the greatest challenges of our time: climate change, the impact of technological change on human society, the rapidly shifting nature of international relations and the spread of a culture of anti-intellectualism.

The Asia Institute has offices in Washington D.C., Seoul (Republic of Korea), Hanoi (Vietnam) and Tokyo (Japan).

Location

Dalgaebi

Dalgaebi.co.kr

Sejong-daero 19 gil 16, Jung-gu

(across street from Doksu Palace on the street leading from Sejong-ro (Gwanghwamun) to the British Embassy)

02 765-2035

달개비

서울시 중구 세종대로 19길 16

Declaration of Candidacy for President (June 15, 2020)

Declaration of Candidacy for President

(June 15, 2020)

Press Center

Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club

Opening remarks

“The COVID19 virus has infected every aspect of American society, implanting its vicious DNA deep in the body politic and rendering a nation that offered much to the world unrecognizable to many of us. The origins of this horrific virus remain uncertain, but it has been abetted by a deep moral bankruptcy, by the collapse of a sense of ethical commitment on the part of those who had the good fortune to receive good educations, who have had the leisure to be able to think for themselves.
We, those who have had such good luck, must not consider our benefits as something we possess, most certainly not something we should defend, but should first and foremost always have in mind those who work late at night at the convenience store, or mopping up in office buildings, or who, homeless, huddle together behind cardboard walls along a freeway. Those Americans have not had the chance to learn our skills, to understand economics or culture, history and security. It is first and foremost our duty to stand with them and to protect them.”

Declaration of Candidacy for President
Opening remarks by former Chairman of the National Assemby Lee Bu-young
Remarks after the event to journalists

“Going Viral: COVID-19 and the response of the International Media” Asia Institute Seminar (March 16, 5 PM)

Asia Institute Seminar

“Going Viral: COVID-19 and the response of the International Media”

5.00-7.00 PM

Monday, March 16, 2020

Global and national institutions have been ripped asunder as the COVID-19 crisis has expanded beyond a simple medical challenge to become an ideological and systemic uncertainty about institutions. The entire agenda of finance-based internationalization that has held sway since the end of the Cold War has been drawn into question as the fragility of the current order is made visible. In this seminar, we will discuss the media’s response globally and how the nature of journalism has evolved as a result of institutional changes.  We will also discuss possible new approaches to solving global crises that will move beyond this media-based narcissistic frenzy to pursue science-based global cooperation,

Discussion led by

Emanuel Pastreich

President

The Asia Institute

&

Lakvinder Singh

Director

The Asia Institute, Peace Program

Venue:

36, Mareunnae-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea Sarrim building Room no 401.

Lifelong Education Center

How to go there:

From exit 6 of Dongdaemun History & Culture Park Subway station, walk straight 20 meters.

중구 마른내로 136 서림빌딩 401

도와세움 평생교육센터

가는방법:

동대문 역사문화공원 6번출구 20m

“Focusing on Korea’s True Security Challenges” lecture (Feb. 7, 2020)

NEA Fridays

Luncheon Seminar

“Focusing on Korea’s True Security Challenges”

Emanuel Pastreich

President

The Asia Institute

February 7, 2020

11:30-1:00

Suite 503

Elliot School of International Affairs

1957 E Street NW Washington DC

(RSVP jinkai@yonsei.ac.kr)

“한국인만모르는 한국의 보물” 북콘서트

“한국인만모르는 한국의 보물” 북콘서트

이만열 과 고산

한남동 블루스퀘어 2층 북파크
2월 16일 (일요일) 19- 21

RSVP:

고영주 박사 g90605@naver.com

Emanuel Pastreich on North Korea Worker’s Party statement (“By All Means Necessary”) Dec. 30.

Emanuel Pastreich on significance of Kim Jong Un’s comments at North Korea Worker’s Party Conference

“By All Means Necessary”

North Korea Analysis from minute 29

(from minute 29)

Jacquie Luqman and Sean Blackmon are joined by Emanuel Pastreich, Founder and Director of The Asia Institute to talk about Kim Jong-un’s statements at a Worker’s Party leadership meeting in the DPRK over the weekend, the shared interests of North and South Korea in reaching a peace treaty, the lack of expertise exhibited by the Trump administration in their negotiations with the DPRK, and the ripple effect of US/DPRK nuclear talks on the northeast Asia region.

“Climate change and the future of security for the United States” speech

“Climate change and the future of security for the United States”

Emanuel Pastreich

Director

The Asia Institute

As I pen these words, I am tempted to double my dosage of anti-psychotic medication. After all, I wake up every morning to what seems to be a normal world. I have a cup of coffee with friends at Peet’s Coffee, I attend thoughtful seminars near K Street and then I read newspapers and books that describe what appears to be a normal and functional world. But when I go home at night and look at my email, all I see are dire reports about the death of the oceans, the rapidly increasing temperatures in Australia and the Artic, and the melting of the permafrost releasing carbon setting off a positive cycle that is anything but “positive.”

I am left scratching my head. Could it be that we face a security crisis on a scale unprecedented in human history and that, at the same time, the vast number of people who ride the Metro into Washington D.C. with me each morning, many of who work on “security,” are unable to conceive of a solution to this overwhelming crisis, and many of them treat the topic of global warming as a taboo subject not to be raised in polite company?

Part of the problem is that the shifts in our society, and in our civilization, that are necessary if we are to be able to identify climate change as the primary security threat for humanity, and respond, are so enormous that they overwhelm everyone. I include myself as one overwhelmed; I am not without sin and I am not qualified to cast the first stone.

But I will cast the first stone anyway.

Much of the battle against climate change has to do with values: frugality, conservation, and the pursuit of a spiritually meaningful life that does not compel us to use more than we absolutely need. We must return to that pre-consumer, pre-industrial, life. But we can only get there through the development of communities, by working with our hands. We will never get there with solar panels or smart cities.

The current threat of climate change cannot be responded with any specific technology or strategy. We must embrace the values of the Iroquois Nation. Like them, we must think about how our actions will impact those seven generations in the future. That shift in our culture, demanded by national security, will completely upend everything we have ever been taught about growth, development and success.

The essential question will be, If we are brave enough to march into battle, will we be brave enough to face the truth of climate change, and then speak about it with everyone.

What is the military’s role?

Although the primary response to climate change must start with a shift in our thinking and in our civilization, the military will be critical because we have so little time.

But if the military is to play a key role, that role cannot be simply a matter of fighter planes dropping seedlings, or infantry men planting trees when they are not training. No. We must have the bravery to completely transform the military, to change its very function. That step may be even harder for many than walking into battle.

Let me introduce a few rather controversial ideas that will help us to get thinking about this crisis.

Did I say that we do not have much time?

Remember that the US military as it stands today is one of the greatest polluters in the world, whether it is the emissions of fighter planes, aircraft carriers, and tanks, the dumps for toxic chemicals, or our contaminated bases around the world. The current situation is grim.

Moreover, the military is tasked with securing fossil fuels around the globe, thereby promoting our terminal addiction to petroleum, natural gas and coal.

It may sound odd to some, but seizing and protecting fossil fuels was not the intended role for the military.

Many have made the argument, especially on the left, that we should simply shut down the military, shut down all of those polluting weapons, close down all bases and then throw all that money at the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change.

That argument is not without merit if we consider the scale of the current climate crisis, which now threatens human extinction. Or, to be more precise, you may not be extinct, but you are going to wish you were.

But this argument misses two critical points.

First, the military is not going to simply disappear, fade away; its members will not give up all those jobs and those big budgets. There is a whole “ecosystem” of contractors, subcontractors and sub-sub-contractors who will literally fight to the death to keep their snouts in that wide and deep trough.

Therefore, the only meaningful way to focus those funds and that expertise on climate change is to transform the role of the military (which is possible) no to ask the military to disappear (we will go extinct before that happens).

If what we call the “military” was an organization that was committed to dealing directly with mitigation and adaptation regionally and globally, its budget would be just about right.

We have seen the first steps towards confronting climate change over the last ten years, especially in the Pacific Command (less so the Indo-Pacific Command) including large-scale projects to develop electric batteries, promote conservation and efficiency and to increase awareness of climate change. Some of those efforts continue today, in spite of fossil fuel interests controlling the executive branch. But the argument about climate change advanced in seminars on security and military issues in Washington D.C., is one for a limited concept of its impact.

Military experts talk about the impact of rising seas on US military bases, the implications of a changing environment for the conduct of military operations. The conclusion is that we will need to upgrade facilities around the world and plan carefully future bases and weapons systems so as to take into account climate change. 

In addition, there is much discussion about how climate change acts as a multiplier, exacerbating conflicts over water, food, and other natural resources around the world. The nightmare scenarios sketched out by military planners echo the conflicts resulting from climate change limned by Christian Parenti in his landmark book Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence (2011).

The emerging consensus on the need for a transformation of the military is described by Michael Klare in his book All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change. The awareness of the problem is broad, but the military paradigm remains unaltered.  Klare notes that officers are “proceeding in their efforts to prepare for combat on a climate-altered planet” but the book offers no suggestion that the military has a plan to end climate change, or even reduce it.

The sad truth is that we have not even started the real conversation on climate change in the military. The assumption is that climate change will impact military actions but the same weapons will be used and the same sorts of conflicts will take place—only more frequently. The possibility that the very nature of security will be altered (that we must so completely reinvent the military and that weapons will no longer be the primary tool) is not even being considered.

But it is possible, even necessary, to imagine a complete transformation of the military whereby mitigation and adaptation become the primary role. The military should be transformed so that it is focused on the rapid restructuring of the US economy, under orders to make sure that the use of fossil fuels ends as quickly as possible and enforcing a reduction in consumption overall.    

Or, might it be possible for the military to take the lead in bringing justice to our society and to our economy by rapidly transforming the very economic and industrial system that we rely on? Whereas much of the military does the bidding of fossil fuel corporations today, securing oil fields or natural gas wells, and protecting sheiks and their hangers on, enough bravery and imagination could make the opposite the case.

Or it could be that the military will be the part of the government which apprehends the owners of fossil fuel companies, the criminals who have conspired to promote dangerous substances like petroleum and coal, and then rendered us addicted to them for our daily lives in the manner of drug kingpins? Fossil fuel interests knew about the dangers to the atmosphere of emissions in the 1960s but hid those facts from the public. They paid (and still pay) phony “experts” to lie to Congress, and to the American people, about the dangers of those substances. 

Such criminal offenses would mean, for you or for me, that our assets would be seized and we would be thrown in jail. If the Justice Department cannot find a way to prosecute and imprison those fossil fuel shareholders, perhaps the special forces can do so—much as John Brown set out to end a similar crime of cheap energy at a hidden human price: slavery.  Once the military has those executives all in jail, and those ill-gotten wealth is directed towards recovery of the climate, once all their  lobbyists and experts silenced, then, and only then, can we have a debate on climate policy.

There are tremendous dangers involved in unleashing of the military to solve things. We should not fool ourselves and we should also expect any miracles. However, we need to be realistic. We must brace for an extremely painful period when the willingness to risk one’s life is going to be a significant commodity.

We also do not have much of a choice.

The role of the military in American society will continue to increase, whether we like it or not. The legislative and the executive have become so corrupt, and so dysfunctional, the toys of the super-rich and multinational banks, that they are losing the ability to govern. The military is not untouched by this culture of decadence; vast sums are wasted on useless weapons systems and officers see their highest loyalty to be towards the military contractors who will offer them retirement packages. But many of those who actually run the military, as opposed to those who profit, are still capable of planning and governance.

We must to assume that the unprecedented military budget of $738 billion (plus much spending not disclosed) stipulated by the 2019 National Defensive Authorization Act will permanently alter the nature of governance in the United States, perhaps rendering the military the only part of the Federal government that is able to carry out its mission, in light of the ruthless cuts elsewhere.

In the long term, we create a healthier, and more peaceful, government that focuses on the needs of the people. But we will get nowhere if we do not first face the reality of increasing domestic and international chaos and the relative stability (and capacity for long-term planning) within the military.

There is another point to remember before we dismiss the military as a risk, a monster searching for wars to justify its budget.

There are parts of the military’s culture that will be essential to any meaningful response to climate change. Turning the tide in this battle against indulgence, greed and ruthless exploitation is going to take extreme bravery. Speaking the truth to power about climate change, mobilizing in the face of adversity, creating and implementing strategies, along with culture that will bind together groups of people committed to this project—these are tasks that a military is best capable of carrying out.

The dire situation for the climate will require that we transform the economy rapidly and completely. We need more than a functional government, which we do not have now. If we can get real leadership in place, the military could say that the country will not be using any more petroleum eight months from now, that all buildings will be fully insulated in a year, and then it can proceed to implement that order for the entire nation. The military, if completely revamped, if subject to a rigorous housecleaning, could set up a fifty-year plan for adaptation along the coasts to respond to rising oceans.

Only a militarized economy can undertake a transformation and scientists tell us that such a mobilization is necessary for human survival. It is, to be blunt, a no-brainer.

But we need to think very carefully about what a “militarized economy” means.

Let us consider what Jill Stein of the Green Party wrote when she introduced the original “Green New Deal” (since mimicked in a weaker form by the Democratic Party).   

Jill Stein wrote,

“Building on the concept of FDR’s New Deal, we call for a massive mobilization of  our communities, government and the people on the scale of World War II – to transition our energy system and economy to 100% clean, renewable  energy by 2030, including a complete phase out of fossil fuels, fracked gas and nuclear power.”

Think about the significance of what she proposes. When Stein writes of a “mobilization” that will be “on the scale of World War II” she is talking about a completely militarized economy.   

If we look back to the source, to the New Deal implemented by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1930s, we find an effort by the government to address, on a massive scale, the ecological, economic and institutional crises that seized the United States during Great Depression. During that period, a real government, capable of analysis, planning and implementation, replaced a complacent, do-nothing government that assumed, to quote Calvin Coolidge, that “the business of America is business.”

During that period, Frances Perkins built within the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) a powerful organization capable of engaging and inspiring the unemployed to address critical issues in agriculture, ecology and energy in a systematic and comprehensive manner. It was a government that could transform, rather that passively respond to situations.

Similarly, the NRA (national recovery administration) was established in 1933 to set prices and to enforce fair practices so as to eliminate “destructive competition” and overproduction—thus reducing many of the market forces that had brought on the depression in the first place.

What is often left out of the story is the degree to which the CCC and NRA were modelled on the policies for economic and industrial mobilization undertaken by Woodrow Wilson during World War I. The New Deal was, in effect, a military economy that was not for war, but focused on resolving ecological catastrophes like the Dustbowl and economic challenges like overproduction and unemployment.

The crisis today is much larger, and much more serious, than was the case during Great Depression.

We must also recognize the fact that climate change cannot be stopped by the protests of a few NGOs. We need a nation-wide campaign that reaches down to every citizen and promotes frugality, awareness of climate change and a concern for the environment. We must go door to door and make sure that everyone is 100% renewable by next week—and to offer them the means. If an NGO was capable of doing that, in a few weeks, for the entire country, it would be in effect a government.

We must create a functional government that can set these priorities for the nation and then implement them unimpeded.

Let us turn to two critical speeches by American presidents that can help us to grasp the significance of this moment.    

The first speech is President Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address of March 4,1865, which is engraved on the marble walls of the Lincoln Memorial. Lincoln put forth, with considerable bravery, a vision for the United States that moved beyond the cruel system of creating cheap energy by the use of slavery. Lincoln spoke of the necessary sacrifice in the speech, perhaps anticipating his own death as a result of this commitment to the end of slavery.

One thing is clear. Lincoln did not believe that the transformation of American culture, economics and society necessary to end slavery could be carried out by NGOs, advertising campaigns or appeals for corporate social responsibility. Lincoln saw government as key to such a massive change and the military, sadly, tragically, ended up as part of that process. Slavery was not abolished in a congressional subcommittee. It was ended by the brutal Wilderness Campaign.

When Lincoln spoke, he did not try to hide the cruel truth from his audience,

“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.’”

In the decadent political culture that infests Washington D.C. today, it is hard to imagine a president saying anything so profound, or so difficult, to the citizens. Lincoln did not aim to please, or to flatter. He spoke so as to compel by moral means, to challenge intellectually, to inspire to reach for a higher truth.  

The second speech is President Jimmy Carter’s “Moral Equivalent of War” speech of April 18, 1977. Carter pushed for a radical reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels in the United States and he postulated that the government would play a central role in the process. Carter was focused on ending our growing dependency on imported oil, rather than the threat of global warming (which was not well understood at the time).

Carter’s speech was the last great effort to imagine a government capable of transforming society, rather than being toyed with by powerful interests.

Speech is even more relevant to us today.

Carter spoke,

“By acting now, we can control our future instead of letting the future control us. Two days from now, I will present my energy proposals to the Congress. Its members will be my partners and they have already given me a great deal of valuable advice. Many of these proposals will be unpopular. Some will cause you to put up with inconveniences and to make sacrifices.”

Carter’s speech should have been the turning point for the United States. But we were lulled to sleep by our good fortune, seduced by our comfortable lives.  

No one wanted to hear about sacrifices then.  

But sacrifice will be the name of the game from here on out. We will not avoid multiple massive catastrophes, at home and abroad. We will need a society in which citizens are willing to sacrifice for each other and work together for a common, difficult, goal.

If we can articulate a larger plan, as Lincoln did, and Carter did, we can give meaning to the upcoming struggle and we can thus create a space wherein a moral vision is expressed even in the midst of crushing ambivalence.

If we can take that step forward, we will be on the road to addressing the climate catastrophe and mapping out a solution, though it take a hundred years.

The military will have to be at the center, but it will not be pushing crackpot geoengineering projects that are meant to further enrich the enriched rich, but rather by dedicating itself once again to sacrifice, to the defense of the national interest, and the interests of the citizens. Taking on  climate change as its primary goal is the best, and perhaps only, way to do so. That decision will allow us to establish a government for the United States of the people, for the people and by the people.

(talk delivered at seminar “The Intersection of Climate Change and Security” held on December 12, 2019 in Washington D.C. by the Asia Institute & Foreign Policy in Focus)

“The Intersection of Climate Change and Security” (Video)

The Asia Institute & Foreign Policy in Focus

“The Intersection of Climate Change and Security”

asia institute fpif climatechange

December 12, 2019

Larry Wilkerson
Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Government and Public Policy,
Department of Government
William & Mary College
Alice Hill
Senior fellow for climate change policy
Council on Foreign Relations

Emanuel Pastreich
Director
The Asia Institute

Moderator:

John Feffer

Director, Foreign Policy in Focus

Climate Change and Security

The world faces two grave threats: nuclear war and climate change. The Trump administration has ended four decades of U.S. efforts to reduce the threat of nuclear war, withdrawing from the INF Treaty and preparing to deploy nuclear weapons around the world. At the same time, it denies the existence of climate change and supports leaders around the world who are laying waste to the environment.

But another security policy is possible, and necessary, right now. This seminar sponsored by the Asia Institute and Foreign Policy in Focus, explored how the US could seize the initiative on arms control and link it to a global rethinking of security in light of climate change.

“Impact of US Political Discord on Alliance Relations: South Korea & Japan” Capitol Hill Briefing

Briefing

The Asia Institute

“Impact of US Political Discord on Alliance Relations: South Korea & Japan”

1302 Longworth House Office Building

15 Independence Ave SE

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Friday, November 15, 2019

Panelists

Art Estopinan

President

The Estopinan Group

(former chief of staff to chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee)

Andrew Hyde

Former US Diplomat

Emanuel Pastreich

Director

The Asia Institute