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The Pompeo Doctrine: A Formula for Catastrophe in the Arctic

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/12/pompeo-doctrine-formula-catastrophe-arctic

Bob Altemeyer’s (free) book The Authoritarians is a quick read. Among other things, it describes a game in which countries have to compete in trade and for resources. Psychological tests of the participants are given before-hand. When the game is set up secretly so that Right Wing Authoritarians are at the helm of each country, the game always ends in conflagration. When they are allowed in the game but kept out of leadership positions, it generally proceeds peacefully.

The wacky, totally delusional aspect of business plans for drilling in the Arctic &c. is the childish obliviousness to what it will mean for everything when the icecap comes off. This is not a trivial little switch in Earth’s atmospheric/oceanic circulation – the icecap is the big one.

Since so many seem not to care much, one way or the other, if the icecap goes away, perhaps a brief explanation is called for, to describe the nature of my concern. It was Carl-Gustav Rossby who sent up enough balloons all over the place (in the 30’s & 40’s) to figure out the whole enchilada: how atmospheric circulation works on Earth. The basic picture is surprisingly simple: three rolling rugs on each side of the equator.

That little picture makes all the difference to farmers and other living things, but it gets savaged as the icecap comes off. Once everything we’ve known about atmospheric circulation goes topsy turvy, as we’re seeing today with the ongoing removal of Earth’s icecap, nobody can responsibly assure you of any security from terrible weather, not anywhere. Novel open-water conditions are stirring up what looks like a little cyclone party in the Arctic right now. (Stuff like this could complicate plans for drilling rigs up there.)

‘…Isolating the Arctic from mounting U.S. (and NATO) hostilities toward Russia and China or from the global struggle over vital resources has proven increasingly difficult.’

The growing economic and strategic rivalry over the Artic has made it one more potential flash point for world war, made even more dangerous by its interconnectedness with other regional conflict zones.


When the pistol,packin, Mama from my State said: “DRILL BABY DRILL!” Sarah was appealing to probably at least 99% of all Alaskan, residents and the only opposition was from a few environmentalists and some of the Native, Alaskans. And now the Pompeo Doctrine is following suit and even though it is a catastrophe for the Arctic and the planet, it is a windfall for the fossil fuel industries. Sadly…nothing it seems will ever change until our planet is made uninhabitable!