President Biden: Climate is the Enemy

A map of the worldDescription automatically generated with medium confidence

Red represents carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, 2015. NASA.

I don’t mean any disrespect, Mr. President. I voted for you because you were so far superior to Donald Trump. I am embarrassed that some seventy million Americans were duped in voting for this man. He wrecked the little we had in laws protecting our precious natural world. He even denied climate change, an anthropogenic force of destruction from our addiction to burning petroleum, natural gas, and coal.

Promises and deception

So, President Biden, the choice was easy for me. Trump was dangerous and you said things I wanted to hear, that you trusted science, that climate change was real, and that we had to change our ways to fight it.

But once in office, President Biden, you almost forgot your promises. You expanded the opportunities of fossil fuel companies to extract more petroleum and natural gas from public lands and waters. That was evidence of two things. One, you deceived us and, two, you did not understand the grave condition we and the rest of the world face from rising global temperatures from the ceaseless burning of fossil fuels.

Republicans against democracy

I know that Republicans in Congress hate you and keep Trump’s lies that climate change is a hoax and the last election was stolen. This does not make for collegiality and governance, much less for democracy.

Abandon Ukraine

Then this year, President Biden, you forgot about this country. You seem, once again, to be receiving very bad advice. You embraced Russia’s war in the Ukraine as an opportunity to teach Russia who is the global boss. You fail to realize that while the United States in the 1960s and 1970s was subverting democracy in Latin America, and fighting its unwinnable wars in southeast Asia, and the Middle East, 1970s – 2020s, the Soviet Union / Russia did not dare embrace the enemies of America the way you embrace Ukraine.

The exception was Cuba. The 1962 Cuban missile crisis nearly sparked nuclear war between America and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union put its missiles in Cuba because America was threatening the Cuban Revolution. Yet President John Kennedy and Chairman Nikita Khrushchev kept talking to each other and solved the deadly nuclear problem: removing the Soviet missiles from Cuba and the American missiles from Turkey.

Remember also that while the George W. Bush Pentagon was bombing Baghdad in 2003, no Russians or their allies joined Saddam Hussein.

I know American political scientists have a narrative that we won the Cold War. But how did we win this nuclear confrontation without the last communist Chairman of the Soviet Union Michael Gorbachev? He, not our weapons or NATO, dismantled the Soviet empire. That was a first in history. I remember I was praying America would follow and dismantle NATO.

Imagine the courage this unprecedented decision demanded of Gorbachev in willingly and willfully telling dependent states they were free to govern themselves.

Gorbachev did it. And in doing so he received promises from President George H. W. Bush and the Secretary of State James A. Baker that NATO would not expand towards Russia. Bur those promises were deceptive and NATO incorporated countries right next to Russia like the Baltic states and Poland. Russia then was weak in its transition from communism to capitalism. So, the protests of the Russian President Vladimir Putin were ignored – until 2022 when Ukraine was getting ready to join NATO. This broke the camel’s back because Ukraine had been part of Russia for centuries. The first capital of Russia was Kiev.

This is not a lesson in Russian history, Mr. President, much less an excuse for Putin’s war. It is simply a reminder that to Putin Ukraine is Russia, something like your view of Texas as part of the United States. By funding in the billions of dollars the war in the Ukraine you are in grave error. You are essentially funding a World War III, which could light a nuclear conflict with unfathomable consequences for all humanity and the planet.

My advice, President Biden, is to end this dangerous slide to a potential Armageddon. It’s not worth it, in fact, no reason or cause, whatsoever is worth the survival of humanity, our civilization, and our beautiful planet. Talk to Putin and, I am sure, you two will find a satisfactory solution.

Home priorities

At home, President Biden, you have a real enemy, and the name of that enemy is the Republican party and its leader Trump. But much larger and infinitely more dangerous is the daily build up of the climate volcano endlessly fed by billions of fossil fuel machines, electric power plants, coal mining, commercial airplanes crisscrossing the globe, and the extraction of more and more petroleum and natural gas.

In contrast to the useless war in the Ukraine, here at home, President Biden, you can exercise your great powers for the common good.

Tell the Americans that the Republicans are the servants of the fossil fuel industry and the billionaires. In no way these oligarchs support the American worker, safer and abundant food, clean drinking water, breathable air, a decent income for all. As for a healthy natural world, the idea does not even cross the imaginations of Republicans and fanatical capitalists. Their priority is lining their pockets with profits and bonuses. They care less for America.

However, President Biden, the chief priority of your administration should be the menacing climate chaos enveloping America and the world. NASA says that “Since 1750, the warming driven by greenhouse gases coming from the human burning of fossil fuels is over 50 times greater than the slight extra warming coming from the Sun itself over that same time interval.”

Climate chaos is real, and it is going on right now. Yes, Americans and the rest of the people of the world are responsible for the warming unsettling everything.

Americans are addicted to driving petroleum cars and trucks. Many of them have no options of using public transport because public transport has never been a priority in a capitalist society run by monopolistic corporations like General Motors and Ford Company.

You can change this anachronistic and medieval practice by raising public transport to the value of national security, no less vital than the US armed forces. Fund the manufacture of electric cars, buses, trams, and trains all over the country. Put electric trains in the middle of every highway. The message should be clear that the era of fossil fuels is expiring.

I guarantee, Mr. President, the resistance to this plan will be fierce, primarily from the G.O.P. You have the legitimate option of declaring a state of national emergency and order the armed forces to create the infrastructure for solar and wind energy. Imitate your predecessor, the great American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He saved the country from wage slavery and impoverishment. You can save the country, and, possibly, the world, from destruction.

Evaggelos Vallianatos is a historian and environmental strategist, who worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency for 25 years. He is the author of seven books, including the latest book, The Antikythera Mechanism.