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« Endnotes for Great Powers, Chapter Eight | Main | Tom's latest Kurdistani interview »
3:43AM

Deleted scene: Chapter Eight

A longtime environmentalist, Gore's subsequent embrace of a Paul Revere-like role in warning the planet about the oncoming effects of global warming represents so much more than just his personal search for a politically-meaningful role after his 2000 election loss. In many ways, Gore's message promises an entire generation of Americans unhappy with Bush's "global war" that a suitably transcendent grand strategy is there for the taking. Rather than dealing with our failures in places like Baghdad and New Orleans (or worse, our non-responses in places like Darfur), and refashioning our national security establishment to manage such inevitable future challenges, Gore's message promises more familiar dynamics: a planet-threatening foe against which the proper response consists more of an internal decades-long rebalancing than an immediate external exposure to danger. Rather than facing up to the unsavory challenges of shrinking the Gap, global warming allows us to justify pulling back from a chaotic world and addressing its "ultimate" challenge through new technology (always an American favorite) and do-it-yourself sacrifice on an individual level. In short, if American "empire" gets you down, why not don your global warming "hair shirt" and display your asceticism as a counter-narrative personal statement?

Reader Comments (2)

No matter how much you might dislike Al Gore's style, you have to admit that there is a very real and substantial problem here that just isn't going to go away if we get people to trade with one another. Can we focus on the problem and not the manner of presentation. A warming world doesn't do much for anyone, but least of all for those people in the Gap who will suffer from the disruption more than those of us in the Core.
February 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarshall T. Spriggs
Marshall: Tom says the same exact thing in the copy that made the book
February 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSean Meade

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