American Shithole #51 | Venezuela and the White Paper
By Eric Wilson
When I look at the photographs pouring in from Caracas — images of a society teetering on the edge of collapse — I can’t help but think, “This is all of us, in ten years; and there’s not a fucking thing we can do about it.”
I never should have read that white paper about the End of Days, I’ll tell you that.
I am increasingly aware now, that I will likely be alive during the collapse of civilization — at least the beginning — and it is a sobering realization.
I’ve nothing to compare it to really — this is new mental territory.
I remember the end of the Cold War, and it never felt cold like this. Perhaps I was just too young and naïve, but I don’t remember ever experiencing the dread of near-certainty the way I do now. (I remember as a kid thinking that some crazy bastard in a missile silo would start World War III, but they were passing fears — they never held my attention long.)
I never worried for humanity the way I do today. Until recently, I was hopeful that we would survive Trump and somehow reengineer climate change, or at least mitigate the damage enough to stave off extinction.
Then I read this fucking white paper.
If you’ve had a chance to peruse the document in question already (word of it has made the rounds on social media for months, and in scientific circles before that), then you’re probably feeling the existential blues as well.
Seriously, it’s a fucking bummer.
So if you haven’t read it, don’t read it. I am not trying to use reverse psychology to get you to read it either; I will include the link and title — Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy — and no fooling, it has a shot at seriously depressing the shit out of you.
Here is an excerpt:
“The words I ended the previous paragraph with may seem, subconsciously at least, to be describing a situation to feel sorry about as we witness scenes on TV or online. But when I say starvation, destruction, migration, disease and war, I mean in your own life. With the power down, soon you wouldn’t have water coming out of your tap. You will depend on your neighbours for food and some warmth. You will become malnourished. You won’t know whether to stay or go. You will fear being violently killed before starving to death.”
The author continues:
“These descriptions may seem overly dramatic. Some readers might consider them an unacademic form of writing. Which would be an interesting comment on why we even write at all. I chose the words above as an attempt to cut through the sense that this topic is purely theoretical. As we are considering here a situation where the publishers of this journal would no longer exist, the electricity to read its outputs won’t exist, and a profession to educate won’t exist, I think it time we break some of the conventions of this format.”
Consider yourself inadequately warned…
On other fronts, as the U.S. and Russia play a terrible game of chess — once again on a foreign board, where other pawns suffer — the power blackout across Venezuela (along with inflation rates surpassing a staggering 1 million percent), has brought a country in the Americas to ruin.
Millions have fled; millions more spend the hours of sunlight scavenging for food, water, and fuel, while night brings looting and violence to the cities.
NPR's Philip Reeves reported that "Motorists park on highways, cell phones aloft, searching for a signal. The rich have taken refuge in luxury hotels. The poor stand in lines in the street."
I am imagining the wealthy Venezuelans throwing parties, fiddling like Nero as they watch Caracas burn.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. is to withdraw the remaining embassy staff and their families. Aid has already been destroyed at the country’s borders. Communication from the ground is largely lost.
What is this all for, you ask?
Oil — Venezuela is rich in reserves, and little else.
Power — Russia desires a fresh foothold in the Americas.
Corruption — Trump’s administration has no moral compass. (Duh.)
Incompetence — Meduro has betrayed his people by destroying their economy, laying the groundwork for his country to become a Banana Republic; or worse, the next Vietnam.
So what do a South American country and a doomsday white paper have to do with each other? It seems to me that even if climate change doesn’t destroy us, our greed and stupidity surely will.
My heart goes out to the Venezuelan people suffering, who as of this morning, woke up to black , oil-infused water in their taps — while many others have already been forced to collect sewage overflow to drink.
Echoes of the doomsday paper are ringing in my head.
“With the power down, soon you wouldn’t have water coming out of your tap. You will depend on your neighbours for food and some warmth. You will become malnourished. You won’t know whether to stay or go. You will fear being violently killed before starving to death.”