Should you arm a gang that can’t shoot straight? It’s a question for President Biden to ponder as he realizes that missiles landing in Poland near its Ukraine border came not from Russia but Zelensky’s Ukraine.
Mr. Zelensky has been screaming for NATO to act, now that a fellow member has been attacked, without apparently realizing that the missiles were fired (one presumes accidentally) by his own forces. The question is what does Zelensky want … a full scale conflict between NATO and Russia culminating in Armageddon? No wonder rumors are rife that Biden is fed up with Zelensky. Moreover, his military aid program for Ukraine is hardly likely to win the war.
Mr. Biden also has his own worries: the midterm elections have given control of the House to Republicans and a possible roadblock to Biden’s agenda. On the other hand, he should be thankful the Democrats look likely to hold the Senate, albeit with a razor-thin margin.
If the Republicans are blaming Donald Trump as a spoiler, he seems quite unfazed and has declared his candidacy for 2024. Will we again see a Biden — Trump rematch or will new blood offer the country a fresh start?
Meanwhile, COP27 the climate conference has finally concluded two days into overtime before everyone could agree on words to which they would be willing to affix a signature. Yes, playing with words while the earth burns, and a reminder that not much has changed in the two millennia since the apocryphal story of Nero singing while Rome burned.
Even if two days late, a climate agreement was finally signed on Sunday by nearly 200 countries. And more importantly, it reaffirmed their commitment to limit global mean temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
It presents an historic new funding arrangement that is designed to assist developing countries in coping with loss and damage from the inevitable impacts of climate change. It also boosts support in finance, technology and capacity building to address such consequences in the future.
Such a funding arrangement, often resisted by developed nations, is now in progress with an understanding to form a ‘transitional committee.’ Its first meeting has already been scheduled for March 2023.
In addition, significant progress on assistance in adaptation to improve resilience among the most vulnerable communities garnered pledges of more than $230 million.
Quite daunting is the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan considering that global transformation to a low-carbon economy is estimated to require $4 to 6 trillion, and will necessitate the engagement of governments, central and commercial banks, institutional and other investors, etc. If it all sounds like whistling past the graveyard, we will just have to wait and see.
To the south from all this heady dialogue at Sharm el-Sheikh, lies Qatar where the football World Cup is underway and climate problems are an eternity away — although they may be partly responsible for bringing to Qatar, from the Indian subcontinent and Africa and other poor countries, the laborers who built the stadium where the matches are being played. Exploited by contractors, they are a reminder of what can happen when workers unprotected by laws or unions are left to their mercy. Some 6500 plus have died since Qatar won the right to host the event.