Friday, April 18, 2003
Full of hot air: New York Times columnist Paul Krugman's body has been taken over by aliens. Or at least, you'd think so if you read only the first sentence of his latest column where he actually praises the Bush administration for new the new rules on diesel emissions.
However, it's clear the aliens have not completely asserted control over the Times columnist, because the rest of the column is the usual slams against Bush and some amazingly nutty ideas that the Bush administration has "an aversion to all things global."
The subject, though Krugman never mentions it by name, is the Kyoto Treaty on global warming -- and the Bush administration's move, early on, to recognize it for the farce it was.
[For the record, I think there is ample scientific evidence that the Earth is warming. BUT, I think the predictions that the temperature will rise, on average, up to 5 degrees Celsius are way out of whack. (Flashback 20 years ago and the very same scientists were warning about a new ice age.) I also believe that the warming is a natural environmental trend that is only minimally influenced by human actions.]
Though the Kyoto Treaty is dead (and was long before Bush took office) Krugman still wants the U.S. to do something and Bush is just a thoughtless, narrowminded obstructionist.
More broadly, they opposed any legitimization of the idea that global warming is a problem.
But why would that be such a bad thing, from their point of view?
We can safely dismiss the idea that the right has carefully weighed the scientific evidence and concluded that the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community is wrong. We can also dismiss the idea that conservatives have carefully examined the economics of emission controls and concluded that they are too expensive.
And what evidence does Krugman provide to support those last two assertions? I find it curious that Krugman, while opposing the unsigning of the Kyoto protocol by the Bush administration, has never addressed in his column what would happen to the U.S. economy if it would have been implemented. Krugman thinks the U.S. economy is bad now, just imagine what it would be like if Kyoto's draconian emissions standards would have been made law.
While we've been watching the Iraq show, many past achievements of U.S. foreign policy have been disintegrating. Through neglect and arrogance, the United States has squandered the good will it built up in Latin America in the 1990's. For half a century the U.S. has regarded the drive toward free trade as a key part of its global strategy; now trade negotiations are falling apart from lack of attention.
Of course, just because the well-read Krugman doesn't notice the efforts being made by the Bush administration, it doesn't mean that they aren't happening.
Like a broken jukebox that only plays one song, Krugman continues with the tired complaint that the Bush administration, like Krugman himself, can only focus on one thing at a time. A laughable assertion.
Even in Iraq, we're starting to see that winning the war was the easy part, and U.S. officials ? previously dismissive of "old Europe" ? are suddenly talking about the need for an international peacekeeping force. Such a force, like the one still in Afghanistan, would surely have to include French and German soldiers.
"Would surely?" Says who? Bush's "coalition of the willing" includes more than 50 countries -- why would we "surely" have to have assistance from France and Germany? The Iraqis already know how to surrender. And the last thing we need them learning from the Germans is how to kill Jews.
The truth is that we can't go it alone. But by the time that truth sinks in, there may be a lot of pieces to pick up.
Krugman must have the same definition of "alone" that President Clinton had.