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Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence
Synopses & Reviews
From Africa to Asia and Latin America, the era of climate wars has begun. Extreme weather is breeding banditry, humanitarian crisis, and state failure.
In Tropic of Chaos, investigative journalist Christian Parenti travels along the front lines of this gathering catastrophe--the belt of economically and politically battered postcolonial nations and war zones girding the planet's midlatitudes. Here he finds failed states amid climatic disasters. But he also reveals the unsettling presence of Western military forces and explains how they see an opportunity in the crisis to prepare for open-ended global counterinsurgency.
Parenti argues that this incipient "climate fascism"--a political hardening of wealthy states-- is bound to fail. The struggling states of the developing world cannot be allowed to collapse, as they will take other nations down as well. Instead, we must work to meet the challenge of climate-driven violence with a very different set of sustainable economic and development policies.
"In this scathing study, Parenti (Lockdown America) argues that climate change is already wreaking havoc on the planet in the form of devastating droughts and other weather aberrations that create a shortage of arable land and resources. In the developing world, these challenges intersect with the ongoing crises of poverty and violence to create what Parenti terms a 'catastrophic convergence.' Arguing that coming environmental shifts will 'act as a radical accelerant,' he describes how cold war militarism and neoliberal economics have eroded community fabric and public services in such disparate places as the arid savannahs of Kenya, the mountains of Afghanistan, the favelas of Brazil, the jungles of Colombia, and the deserts of northern Mexico, opening the door for 'socially disruptive forms of adaptation,' like brutality, genocide, and corruption. As the developing world sinks deeper into crisis, the developed world takes the 'armed lifeboat' approach, consolidating wealth and firepower while ignoring the rising tide of need among the planet's most vulnerable citizens. Parenti's careful reporting and grasp of politics and economics support the book's urgent message — that impending global chaos is all but assured unless the developed world finds the political will to imagine a better future. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book News Annotation:
This heavily researched and important book by Parenti, contributing editor at The Nation, clearly illuminates the undeniable link between climate change generated by the industrial North and devastation and violent conflict in the global South. Taking readers on a tour of war torn and poverty infected countries like Kenya, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Mexico, Parenti exposes the rising tension which is becoming an increasing threat to privileged nations like the US who are simply ignoring the problem and attempting to shield it out with military might. This book is a must read for anyone concerned with climate change, human rights, national security, and the human race's ultimate survival. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
An award-winning journalist combines on-the-ground reportage with incisive analysis to reveal the disturbing connection between climate change and increased social and political violence.
About the Author
Christian Parenti is a contributing editor at the Nation. The author of Lockdown America, The Soft Cage, and The Freedom, he has written for Fortune, Mother Jones, Conde Nast Traveler, Playboy, the New York Times, and the London Review of Books, among others. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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