US President Donald Trump has just opened the door to massive exploitation and despoliation of one of the US’s largest nature reserves. The move has been met with fierce resistance from environmental groups, but only mild rebuke from most Democrats in congress. We shouldn’t be surprised, however; the US essentially has two major right-wing parties that both support the continuation of the capitalist economic system that ruthlessly exploits people and planet alike.
But there is something deeper at play as well. This move also shines a revealing light on the warped philosophical underpinnings of the capitalist conception of nature. And this, in turn, shows the need for a radical transformation of humanity’s relationship to the natural world that goes well beyond cosmetic reforms or simply regulating the status quo. Rather, we need to question the viability of endless economic expansion and consider whether it’s time to give part of the planet back. And there are important lessons that we can learn about how we might do so from non-Western societies and their philosophies of nature.
Joe Biden’s pick of Kamala Harris as his running mate will surely satisfy Democratic Party insiders who were hoping for him to balance the ticket. As a woman of color, Harris kills two birds with one stone by ticking both the gender and race boxes. But the prospect of her becoming vice president is nothing to look forward to. She’s overwhelmingly spent her career, both before and after entering politics, fighting for reactionary policies that completely obliterate the credibility of her claim to be any kind of progressive.
But there’s something deeper going on here. Because Harris represents not just the center-right policy positions of the Democratic establishment. She is also an illustrative example of the kind of empty, tokenistic brand of identity politics that this establishment uses to give its major figures political cover.
The Canary recently reported that major figures from a previous Republican Party administration are rallying behind presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden. This provides clear evidence that Biden is the preferred choice of Washington’s neoconservative establishment. Moreover, it demonstrates that the US has two right-wing, imperialist major parties.
Now figures from the Democratic Party’s small progressive (or, perhaps more accurately, moderate) wing have issued a damning letter criticizing Biden’s choice of company. As the letter points out, his inner circle reads like a who’s who of US interventionism. And this provides even further confirmation that the US is now essentially a one-party state when it comes to foreign policy.
One of Colombia’s former presidents, who to this day remains one of the country’s most influential politicians, was recently arrested on a series of criminal charges. The arrest of Álvaro Uribe represents a major break from the norm for the war-torn South American country. For much of its recent history, its political class has largely been shielded from legal action, even in cases of serious wrongdoing. And this is especially true of figures on the political right.
But there’s more to the story than this. Uribe hasn’t just flagrantly evaded facing the consequences of a litany of alleged ill deeds for many decades, he’s also been one of the US’s most loyal allies in Latin America. And this reality provides one of the most illuminating examples of the brazen hypocrisy of US foreign policy.
Polls on the upcoming 2020 presidential election in the US show presumptive Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden ahead by large margins. As a result, Biden’s campaign now seems confident of a decisive victory, or perhaps even a landslide. In fact, it’s almost reached the point of declaring the election already over.
And this triumphalism is quickly turning into outright complacency. For a number of reasons, Biden’s victory is not as certain as it might currently seem.
Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro recently confirmed that his government has made contact with Norwegian counterparts so they can resume their role as a mediator in dialogue between his government and Juan Guaidó’s hardline opposition faction. Guaidó is the US-backed leader of the coup in Venezuela. The move shows that there is, and always has been, a peaceful way out of the political conflict that’s been roiling the country since the beginning of the coup attempt in January 2019.
But you wouldn’t hear this from Trump administration officials in Washington, their puppets in the Guaidó opposition faction, or their mouthpieces in the corporate media. They would have you believe that dialogue is impossible. Yet the reality is that this narrative has always served as an empty and dishonest façade to portray the US-backed coup strategy as the only way out of the conflict. And that’s the last thing that the coup supporters want the public to clue up to.