16 June 2019   Leave a comment

Temperatures in the Arctic have risen dramatically in the month of June, leading to a large ice melt in Greenland. Indeed, the rate of melt rivals that of the record ice melt in 2012. Temperatures are also very high in Alaska. The melting ice and permafrost will aggravate the situation by decreasing the albedo of the north pole and by releasing more methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Science Alert explains the dynamic:

“Sea ice loss over the Chukchi and Beaufort seas along Alaska’s northern coast has been ‘unprecedented’ according to Rick Thoman, a climatologist based in Fairbanks.

“Labe [a climate researcher at the University of California at Irvine] said there’s sufficient open water that you could sail all the way from the Bering Strait into a narrow opening just north of Utqiagvik, Alaska’s northernmost city, clear into the Beaufort Sea. ‘It’s very unusual for open water this early in this location,’ he said.”

Fareed Zakaria has written a very good essay for Foreign Affairs entitled “The Self-Destruction of American Power”. The argument is straightforward but still complex: that the US lost its standing in world affairs because it did not remain true to its values:

“There is an analogy here with the United States. Had the country acted more consistently in the pursuit of broader interests and ideas, it could have continued its influence for decades (albeit in a different form). The rule for extending liberal hegemony seems simple: be more liberal and less hegemonic. But too often and too obviously, Washington pursued its narrow self-interests, alienating its allies and emboldening its foes. Unlike the United Kingdom at the end of its reign, the United States is not bankrupt or imperially overextended. It remains the single most powerful country on the planet. It will continue to wield immense influence, more than any other nation. But it will no longer define and dominate the international system the way it did for almost three decades.”

It is a rich essay, worthy of close attention.

Posted June 16, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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