India versus China, Egypt versus Ethiopia, Israel versus the Palestinians – the Water Wars are already here in the US also, yet American and European policymakers remain disastrously blind to them.
This is certain to have catastrophic consequences for the wealthy, arrogant and ludicrously complacent elites of the West.
The problem is particularly acute in the United States: Indeed, it has been growing for half a century but has reached such enormous dimensions in the 21st century that neocon imperialist Republican, neoliberal imperialist Democratic and Green policymakers are all oblivious to it.
How can this be? It is because all three sets of ideologues and opinion-shapers overwhelmingly live on the East and West Coasts of the United States. In both areas, water has always been plentiful and climate mild.
These regional prejudices go back a very long way: They explain why Theodore Roosevelt practiced arrogant elitist imperialism against not only the unfortunate peoples of Central America and Northeast Asia during his fateful presidency but also against the inhabitants of his own country’s Heartland. For it was Roosevelt who initiated the bizarre practice of cutting off vast quantities of prime land across the nation from human usage and declaring it National Parks, worshipped blindly by all liberals as well Greens to this day.
Theodore Roosevelt’s policies were followed by later presidents, most notably Ronald Reagan.
So today, an amazing 95 percent of the population of the United States remains concentrated on only seven percent of its land area in truly tiny concentrated suburban bubbles around a handful of great cities. Yet more than twice that area is cut off from any productive use by the American population because it is designated as National Parks.
However, these empty places are also extremely dangerous ones. They swarm with predators, human as well as animal: Thousands of people, especially young campers disappear in them every year. It is virtually impossible to get reliable statistics on this from the federal government which has a vested interest in hiding its own criminal incompetence and failure to portect its own people.
At the very least, usually unarmed, romantic suburbanites who dream about the nurturing joys of Nature are at a complete loss on how to survive in the wild when they get lost and wander even a few hundred yards away from major roads.
Yet the Republican hegemony across the Heartland United States has been based on the hatred of scores of millions of people cut off from key resources by these romantic and arrogant imperialist policies.
This conflict indeed decided the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It explains why all the Heartland states including many with generations-long “blue” Democratic traditions unexpectedly swung “red” behind Donald Trump. The ineffably and reliably stupid Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton made the conflict far worse with her “war” on coal as a fuel. (U.S. policymakers have a childish and disgusting habit of calling all non violent conflicts “war” making them uniquely inept at the real thing).
Because the population of the United States is so urban and concentrated, the Heartland outside major urban areas is now less densely populated, incredibly than it was 200 years ago when land hungry settlers were spreading across it like human locusts.
This means that the great populations concentrated in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Miami have no idea of the true environmental realities that exist behind their romantic Green policy dreams. They have no sense of how much fresh water they consume or how limited its supply always was, even before Global Climate Change started to dramatically shrink the water tables.
This development is long term very good news for Russia and Canada since it is already freeing up enormous areas of land and resources undreamed of in their national histories. But it means that American neo-imperialist dreamers waste their military resources on crazy misadventures from Afghanistan to Ukraine when they should really be deploying them to safeguard the water resources of New York City in the Appalachian Mountains or those of Los Angeles from the water-hungry Western states.
It also means water conflicts around the world are not fashionable enough for the self-imagined geniuses of the Washington think tanks and media platforms to pay any serious attention to. They would far rather lecture Russia (which handles its water resources extremely well) or China (which faces enormous challenges from the changing climate, and whose leaders now fully recognize the problem) then face the problems in their own backyard.
So when it comes to mediating the conflicts between India and China over the rapidly shrinking glaciers and fresh water reserves of the Himalaya watershed, or the remorseless escalating conflict between Ethiopia (not to be underestimated) and Egypt (which has had zero success over the past 200 years in projecting its own military power that far south up the Nile River), Washington policymakers do not have a clue.
The wars of water are already with U.S.: And they are likely to erupt with the most unexpected virulence in the United States first.
The now likely victory of Democrat Joe Biden in this November’s U.S. presidential election will rip civic bonds apart over this and related issues, though as usual Russia and China will be scapegoated for the inept failures of Washington policymakers to anticipate or deal with the crisis.
Fresh water is the ultimate essential resource for the aquatic mammal known as the human race: Loss of it will be fatal for hundreds of millions. For the American people, those Inconvenient Facts are about to impact – hard.