The Geopolitics Of Sustainability

By Chandrashekar (Chandra) Tamirisa, (On Twitter) @c_tamirisa

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From Hyderabad, India: Airspaces divide the one sky, blanketing the earth above us with the flags of nations, each hued in its own belief system.

The emerging consensus on global sustainability after COP17 @Durban, in preparation for the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, is credible because it can be backed up by tangible implementations of clean energy technologies toward a zero emissions way of life on earth.

Two serious examples of comprehensive structural change to achieve the return to the atmospheric composition which enabled life as we know it on earth are nowhere under the flags which caused the imbalance. They are, instead, in the United Arab Emirates and in China.

Masdar City and the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City portend how most people can live during the rest of this century. Masdar is financed by oil and gas revenues and Tianjin by China’s export driven growth since the end of the Cold War when gasoline prices in the United States during the Clinton-Gore administration were less than that of bottled water per gallon.

The coming together of three salient elements of any sustainable architecture – energy, information and communication technologies and infrastructure – similar to its occurrence in the United States about a century ago which propelled America to the top of the geopolitical ladder, is happening in the 21st century in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and China.

The Euro-American political and economic disagreements over the second Iraq war in pursuit of its oil after 9/11’s disagreement with radical Islamic extremists over the same after the first Iraq war could cost Europe and America both their politics and economics.

America’s housing debacle and Europe’s crises after the transatlantic economic contagion since 2007 have sequenced economic recovery and structural change in the 6 largest fully open market economies in Eu-America.

The recovery is being paid for by government debt. Structural change, however, is still being yearned for by the peoples of the countries across the Atlantic pond but the recovery has more than exhausted the coffers of the two largest economic regions.

Near East and China can produce the transformation of America’s economic structure on their own time and money. They would rather first help consummate America’s transition to a larger welfare state, the preference of the rest of the world, a process set into motion by Barack Obama, before America can emerge into a sustainable economy. At once, the United States becomes both a transition economy and an emerging economy, its unemployment rate at twice that of China, the converse of the ’90s. America’s poverty rate vis-a-vis China shows a similar pattern.

The geopolitics of sustainability, in the face of America’s loss of face, inaction and placation of the rest of the world after Iraq and the recent financial crisis, is to change the United States than it is for America to change the nations below the other flags to clear the sky.


About Chandrashekar (Chandra) Tamirisa
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