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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 19-Dec-2009
Climate change: A "meaningful and unprecedented" breakthrough agreement in Copenhagen

Web Log - December, 2009

Climate change: A "meaningful and unprecedented" breakthrough agreement in Copenhagen

Here's the text of the agreement, as announced by the Obama administration on Friday evening:

"We entered this negotiation at a time when there were significant differences between countries. Developed and developing countries have now agreed to listing their national actions and commitments, a finance mechanism, to set a mitigation target of two degrees Celsius and to provide information on the implementation of their actions through national communications, with provisions for international consultations and analysis under clearly defined guidelines."

If you don't understand this, there's a good reason: This is almost total gibberish. The wording is intentionally garbled because it's utter nonsense. However, if you sort through the purposely obscure phrases, you get the following:

This agreement was reached between the United States and four other countries -- China, India, Brazil and South Africa. Other countries were excluded from the negotiations, infuriating some of them.

We can all be grateful that the entire conference ended in failure and farce. (See "Climate Change conference in Copenhagen is all about getting green -- money.") This is the best possible outcome for a conference that was absurd from the beginning.

Just when I think that Washington and Wall Street can't become any more insane and dysfunctional, they surprise me and become even worse. I don't know how they manage to do it.

I wrote yesterday that President Obama would not be blamed for this failure essentially because he's a member of the political Úlite and because he's not President Bush and not a Republican.

However, Obama went way out on a limb for this conference. He totally committed his own credibility to a successful outcome. He's going to receive plenty of blame from his political opposition.

(And there was an ironic finish to the day, when President Obama had to leave the global warming conference early because of a snowstorm and frigid cold weather in Washington.)

It's worth stepping back a moment and seeing the big picture here. President Obama has had one foreign policy disaster after another -- in Iran, in Pakistan, in the Mideast.

Domestically, he's bet his presidency on this health care bill. If it doesn't pass, it will be a political disaster for him. If it does pass, it will be an even bigger political disaster for him.

But there is one decision that appears to have bolstered his confidence: His decision to send 22,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, after sending 30,000 troops earlier this year.

My point is this: President Obama is failing at anything and everything that requires him to get consensus from other politicians, whether it's politicians in the Senate, or leaders of other countries negotiating climate change. Obama gives a good speech, but he's been a total failure as a negotiator, either domestically or internationally.

But the decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan required no consensus and no negotiation. It was his decision to make.

I've written many times for several years about how one country after another has experienced governmental paralysis. This is typical of a generational Crisis era, a time when all the survivors of the previous crisis war (WW II in this case) are all gone, and politicians are reduced to bickering.

But there's one thing that country leaders can usually do on their own: Start or escalate a war. This is especially true in a generational Crisis era, when the population is quick to take offense at a foreign enemy.

We're about to enter a new decade with the world increasingly insane and dysfunctional. 2010 is sure to be a year full of surprises.

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the Climate Change and the President Barack Obama threads of the Generational Dynamics forum.) (19-Dec-2009) Permanent Link
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