22 February 2019   Leave a comment

Pakistani military spokesperson, Major General Asif Ghafoor, had some direct words for India as tensions over Kashmir continue to build: “We have no intention to initiate war, but we will respond with full force to full spectrum threat that would surprise you. Don’t mess with Pakistan.” The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution condemning the terrorist attack on Indian forces in Pulwama, but only after a seven day delay as Pakistan and China worked furiously to omit the word “terrorist” from the resolution. India is currently working to ban Pakistan from the upcoming cricket World Cup. India is also threatening to divert water from rivers promised to Pakistan under the Indus Water Treaty. There still seems to be little action designed to defuse the tension.

Venezuelan troops fired on people near the Brazilian border as humanitarian aid continues to pile up there and on the Colombian border. The troops have been ordered to prevent that aid from entering the country and both China and Russia have supported the Maduro government’s efforts to stop the flow of aid. There are competing music concerts at the borders. The Venezuelan government is supporting a concert titled “Hands Off Venezuela”and Richard Branson is holding a “Live Aid” concert for Venezuela. The dueling concerts are being held simultaneously as both sides try to appeal for international support. As humanitarian aid flows into the border areas, there are growing fears that force may be used to allow it in or to prevent it from coming in. The aid near the Colombian border city, Cucuta, is substantial but the Venezuelan military has blocked the bridge connecting Colombia with Venezuela with large containers.

The BBC has been publishing articles on what it calls “Deep Civilisation” raising issues for the future of humanity. The most recent article is on the collapse of civilizations. The article identifies the conditions that have often been associated with the decline of civilizations:

“While there is no single accepted theory for why collapses happen, historians, anthropologists and others have proposed various explanations, including:
“CLIMATIC CHANGE: When climatic stability changes, the results can be disastrous, resulting in crop failure, starvation and desertification. The collapse of the Anasazi, the Tiwanaku civilisation, the Akkadians, the Mayan, the Roman Empire, and many others have all coincided with abrupt climatic changes, usually droughts.
“ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION: Collapse can occur when societies overshoot the carrying capacity of their environment. This ecological collapse theory, which has been the subject of bestselling books, points to excessive deforestation, water pollution, soil degradation and the loss of biodiversity as precipitating causes.
“INEQUALITY AND OLIGARCHY: Wealth and political inequality can be central drivers of social disintegration, as can oligarchy and centralisation of power among leaders. This not only causes social distress, but handicaps a society’s ability to respond to ecological, social and economic problems….
“COMPLEXITY: Collapse expert and historian Joseph Tainter has proposed that societies eventually collapse under the weight of their own accumulated complexity and bureaucracy. Societies are problem-solving collectives that grow in complexity in order to overcome new issues. However, the returns from complexity eventually reach a point of diminishing returns. After this point, collapse will eventually ensue….
“EXTERNAL SHOCKS: In other words, the “four horsemen”: war, natural disasters, famine and plagues. The Aztec Empire, for example, was brought to an end by Spanish invaders. Most early agrarian states were fleeting due to deadly epidemics. The concentration of humans and cattle in walled settlements with poor hygiene made disease outbreaks unavoidable and catastrophic. Sometimes disasters combined, as was the case with the Spanish introducing salmonella to the Americas.
“RANDOMNESS/BAD LUCK: Statistical analysis on empiressuggests that collapse is random and independent of age. Evolutionary biologist and data scientist Indre Zliobaite and her colleagues have observed a similar pattern in the evolutionary record of species. A common explanation of this apparent randomness is the “Red Queen Effect”: if species are constantly fighting for survival in a changing environment with numerous competitors, extinction is a consistent possibility.”

All civilizations implode. They generally become too complex to manage given the resources available to them. Now that the world has become incredibly interdependent, it is difficult to imagine any collapse that would not be global in scope.

Posted February 22, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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