Both of the feasible hellish outcomes – nuclear war, and escalating burnout of the biosphere (from climate-heat plus associated ocean-acidification) – are now at record-high likelihoods. Either alone can end civilization as we know it, but unfortunately both of them are at historic peaks and heading toward a surprisingly-soon hellish end of civilization, either way.
Whereas global-warming-burnout has now become all but inevitable, as global record-high temperatures are increasingly routine; there’s yet another horrific outcome that’s become far more likely than was previously the case, and it’s is due to the sudden switch in 2014, of Ukraine’s pro-Russian-orientation, to instead a Ukraine seeking to join the anti-Russian US and NATO alliance.
A globe-destroying nuclear war, has, since that change in February 2014, worried Russians in much the same way that the US was worried by the Soviets during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis: their nuclear missiles being so near the border and close to the capitol as to make possible a blitz first-strike that could destroy the attacked country’s retaliatory missiles too fast to launch them. (US President Kennedy thus threatened a pre-emptive strike, and then reached a deal with Khrushchev, which enabled civilization to get this far.) So, we’re increasingly on a nuclear hair-trigger, even while we also face also a surprisingly speeding-up global temperature-trend to burnout.
Since 2014, furthermore, NATO forces have additionally been moved to Russia’s very borders, and Russia has responded (both to the Ukraine-switch, and to the NATO forces on Russia’s borders) by escalating its war-preparedness (much as the US would do if, for example, Russia were to have taken over Mexico, and then planted military forces there, which is as near to us as Ukraine is to them – that would be the mirror-image if the positions here were reversed).
On August 16th, EcoWatch headlined «NASA: July Was Earth's Hottest Month in Recorded History» and also reported that, «July is now the tenth consecutive record warm month, and 2016 is still on track to be the hottest year on record». Global temperatures after the 1970s, when models first started to be proposed for projecting global warming, have so exceeded the fat central part of the Bell Curve, so that we’re now way out on the very thin super-hot end of that curve, which means the process has probably already sped out of control so that it can’t be reversed. The carbon-gas theory of global warming was first proposed by Svante Arrhenius in 1896, but a hundred years later when Al Gore ran for US President in 2000 proposing to act upon the scientific findings that confirmed Arrhenius’s theory, he was rejected; Bush the denier became appointed the ‘winner’. Even after the famous article «Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature» was published on 15 May 2013, many people still continued to deny that any scientific consensus exists on this vitally important matter, though the article had analyzed «11,944 climate abstracts from 1991–2011 matching the topics 'global climate change' or 'global warming’,» and it reported that 97.2% of the ones which expressed an opinion on it, agreed with the view that Arrhenius’s theory is correct and that humans are, indeed, burning up the planet. However, even just three years ago, the view was that this ‘global warming’ would occur much more slowly than it now seems to be occurring. Furthermore, US President Barack Obama’s three proposed mega ‘trade’ deals – TPP, TTIP, and TISA – include features in them which would effectively block any increase in regulations against global warming (and would nullify the recent Paris agreement on climate change), and so even US politicians who claim to care about the subject are actually ignoring global warming, in their substantive policies. And Hillary Clinton is a huge recipient of financial backing from fossil-fuels industries. So, all that’s really being done on the matter is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. And now, the ship is clearly sinking – and, still, many people know nothing but propaganda that says it’s not happening.
The alternative way for hell to come, if global-burning doesn’t come first, is the nuclear-war route. That’s not quite so certain to happen, but, on 31 May 2016, was published «A Russian Warning», which said that, «If there is going to be a war with Russia, then the United States will most certainly be destroyed, and most of us will end up dead». The authors of that article were optimistic that «M.A.D.» – the theory that there will be no nuclear war because it would inevitably produce «Mutually Assured Destruction» which nobody wants – still remains not only a physical reality but also a psychological one. If that were so, then M.A.D. would continue to work in the future, such as it has worked in the past, to sustain a nuclear balance and the avoidance of global nuclear war. However, at the same time that that was published, I headlined «The End of M.A.D. – The Beginning of Madness», which presented a bleaker view: «that Russia might be placed into a situation in which a blitz nuclear attack against the West would (and maybe even will) be Russia’s rational response to Western operations to surround Russia with hostile forces on its borders». In that article, I described the history of how «M.A.D.» came to end, on the US side of US-Russian relations – though not on the Russian side, which is vociferous against and protests this apparent American change (the US government’s demand that it run the world – that everyone must trust its goodwill, sanity, and justice, and comply with that government’s demands).
Global burn-up might come lots faster than previously thought. Or else, nuclear war might come, though I might be the only serious writer who thinks it could happen. But I might not be the only person who thinks it could happen: Vladimir Putin, in some of his statements to Western journalists (who have oddly kept it quiet), has said that it can happen, and that Russia will not simply wait to be attacked first. The US is now playing a game of nuclear «chicken», and proceeding on the assumption that Russia won’t suddenly unleash its nuclear force if the US and NATO violate the nuclear balance.
In the US, the people who want to push Russia to the very brink (and who think that Russia would then simply capitulate to the global US empire and allow America’s aristocracy to take over Russia as simply another American client-state), are commonly called «neoconservatives», and they are strongly united behind Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign. But so too are the global-burning industries united behind her. In fact, even the Koch brothers want Hillary Clinton to become President. And she’s way ahead in the polls. (One of her advisors and key endorsers, incidentally, a former head of the CIA who is angling for a position in her Administration, is so extreme a neocon that he says the CIA should be covertly assassinating heads-of-state that ‘we’ don’t like.) So, the headline here, «Quick Hellish End: Record High Likelihood Now», would appear to be perhaps even likelier to be true than if her opponent (who obviously is disfavored by these people) were to win. That other Party’s candidate has no record at all in public office, and so no rational way exists of comparing him to Clinton, except that both the Big Weapons crowd, and the Big Carbon crowd, know Clinton and her record intimately, and prefer that to the alternative. Perhaps this fact is all a reasonable person needs to know about her. And it seems likely, at this point, that Putin will be dealing with a US President Hillary Clinton, which means he’d be dealing with an ultra-hardline neoconservative, who will make Barack Obama (even with his takeover of Ukraine) seem to have been a friend of Russia, by comparison.
In either case, regardless whether the end comes from nuclear winter, or from global warming, things are likely to be far worse for people (and other animals) who are yet to be born, than for the ones living now, because many in the present generation are living good lives, and probably there won’t be any more of that, starting fairly soon. The lives after a nuclear war and during nuclear winter, or else simply in a boiling world if we don’t die from anything nuclear, won’t be nearly so nice, as the ones of people (and other animals) living today.
Apparently, humans are intelligent enough to give us the power to destroy the world, but stupid and psychopathic enough to do it, one way or the other.