FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Kerry’s Return to the Mekong

by GRANT MINCY

United States Secretary of State John Kerry has been politicking through Southeast Asia the past few days. Kerry visited the Vietnam Mekong Delta, a place he knows well from his wartime adventures. US military interventionism in the region nominally passe, but there is another aspect of state violence still making headlines in the east: Environmental degradation.

Kerry traveled to discuss the rising urgency of environmental change to the Mekong Delta. Changing climate and enhanced erosion and sedimentation of the Mekong from upstream dam projects are now Kerry’s target of political opportunity. According to the Associated Press, Kerry has pledged $17 million to a program that will help people and the economy adapt to environmental changes in the region.

Keeping to form as a high-ranking state official, Kerry says he’ll work to ensure that none of the six countries that share the Mekong (China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam) will over-exploit the river so other populations suffer. Calling out China (which has plans for numerous dam projects along the Mekong) Kerry stated: ”No one country has a right to deprive another country of a livelihood, an ecosystem and its capacity for life itself that comes from that river. That river is a global asset, a treasure that belongs to the region … The Mekong must benefit people not just in one country, not just in the country where the waters come first, but in every country that touches this great river.”

Crafty rhetoric, but governments will not protect natural resources. Nation-states work as rational actors to advance their own self interests and expand their power, largely through exploitation of natural resources. There is an inherent conflict of interest among states — the state with the most territory has the most resources for consumption. States will not share a territory or resource for too long. This is why war (be it military or economic) is the health of the state — it provides a monopoly over a territory and thus its resources.

Kerry, the US government, the Chinese government, any government will only enhance the complex wicked problems facing the world today. Progress, development, growth and industry are the objectives of states. States and their supported industries are rapidly using up the world’s natural resource base, especially water, to enhance their own power. It is the name of the game. Nation-states are large, bloated structures that require tons of resources — they will never protect the environment.

Free people will develop alternative federations and institutions to protect resources, however. It happens every day. People are becoming more aware of what burdens their societies. Education and awareness of public and environmental health are fostering concern for natural resources. Though markets are still largely controlled by the corporate state, liberation is coming. Contrary to the state, the liberated market, controlled and crafted by free human beings, will build the sustainable communities of tomorrow. Indeed, only in a liberated society, with no political boundaries, will human civilization realize its relationship with the environment.

History has been a dramatic race between state power and social power. Social power is growing. Human beings are connected like never before. Free people are building voluntary institutions that are rendering state monopolies useless. Freedom is back! May the old order soon be nothing but ashes. Our sustainability depends on it.

Grant Mincy is from the temperate forests of East Tennessee.

Grant A. Mincy is a senior fellow at the Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS.org) where he holds the Elinor Ostrom Chair in Environmental Studies and Commons Governance. He also blogs at appalachianson.wordpress.com. In addition, Mincy is an associate editor of the Molinari Review and an Energy & Environment Advisory Council Member for the Our America Initiative. He earned his Masters degree in Earth and Planetary Science from the University of Tennessee in the summer of 2012. He lives in Knoxville, Tennessee where he teaches both Biology and Geology at area colleges.

More articles by:
July 25, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
As the Election Turns: Trump the Anti-Neocon, Hillary the New Darling of the Neocons
William K. Black
Doubling Down on Wall Street: Hillary and Tim Kaine
Quincy Saul
Resurgent Mexico
Andy Thayer
Letter to a Bernie Activist
Ted Rall
Hillary’s Strategy: Snub Liberal Democrats, Move Right to Nab Anti-Trump Republicans
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan is Strengthened by the Failed Coup, But Turkey is the Loser
Robert Fisk
The Hypocrisies of Terror Talk
Lee Hall
Purloined Platitudes and Bipartisan Bunk: An Adjunct’s View
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of Collective Punishment: Russia, Doping and WADA
Nozomi Hayase
Cryptography as Democratic Weapon Against Demagoguery
Cesar Chelala
The Real Donald Trump
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Propaganda Machinery and State Surveillance of Muslim Children
Denis Conroy
Australia: Election Time Blues for Clones
Marjorie Cohn
Killing With Robots Increases Militarization of Police
David Swanson
RNC War Party, DNC War Makers
Eugene Schulman
The US Role in the Israeli-Palestine Conflict
Nauman Sadiq
Imran Khan’s Faustian Bargain
Peter Breschard
Kaine the Weepy Executioner
Weekend Edition
July 22, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street
Joseph E. Lowndes
From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland
Paul Street
Political Correctness: Handle with Care
Richard Moser
Actions Express Priorities: 40 Years of Failed Lesser Evil Voting
Eric Draitser
Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street
Conn Hallinan
The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO
Ron Jacobs
Exacerbate the Split in the Ruling Class
Jill Stein
After US Airstrikes Kill 73 in Syria, It’s Time to End Military Assaults that Breed Terrorism
Jack Rasmus
Trump, Trade and Working Class Discontent
John Feffer
Could a Military Coup Happen Here?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Late Night, Wine-Soaked Thoughts on Trump’s Jeremiad
Andrew Levine
Vice Presidents: What Are They Good For?
Michael Lukas
Law, Order, and the Disciplining of Black Bodies at the Republican National Convention
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Why It’s Just Fine for U.S. to Blow Up Children
Victor Grossman
Horror News, This Time From Munich
Margaret Kimberley
Gavin Long’s Last Words
Mark Weisbrot
Confidence and the Degradation of Brazil
Brian Cloughley
Boris Johnson: Britain’s Lying Buffoon
Lawrence Reichard
A Global Crossroad
Kevin Schwartz
Beyond 28 Pages: Saudi Arabia and the West
Charles Pierson
The Courage of Kalyn Chapman James
Michael Brenner
Terrorism Redux
Bruce Lerro
Being Inconvenienced While Minding My Own Business: Liberals and the Social Contract Theory of Violence
Mark Dunbar
The Politics of Jeremy Corbyn
Binoy Kampmark
Laura Ingraham and Trumpism
Uri Avnery
The Great Rift
Nicholas Buccola
What’s the Matter with What Ted Said?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail