Amidst the terrible news from Pakistan, there are other remarkable stories. I wish to bring attention to the following two articles from the NY Times of October 10th.
As Polar Ice Turns to Water, Dreams of Treasure Abound
The first article considers environmental and economical implications of the Arctic ice cap melting. This issue was touched at European Tribune a few times.
The second article is written by Kitty Kelley, the author of the book “The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty.” It is about the Executive Order 13233, signed by George W. Bush on November 1st, 2001.
The melting Arctic ice cap may offer striking opportunities: drastically shorter shipping routes, new oil fields and other natural resourses, new fisheries and tourist destinations. The meltic ice cap would also mean new troubles, in particular – border disputes.
Sheila Watt-Cloutier, the leader of a transnational Inuit group, put it this way:
As long as it’s ice, nobody cares except us, because we hunt and fish and travel on that ice. However, the minute it starts to thaw and becomes water, then the whole world is interested.
Signs of world’s interest are indeed getting abound. New research stations and icebreakers, port investments, development of natural gas fields, colloboration and disputes, interest from China and India… The Northwest passage between Europe and Asia atop Canada can be expected within 20 years with the present rate fo global warming. The Pentagon assesses viability of its weapons and navigational systems in the north. The lengthy NY Times article describes many aspects well.
Kitty Kelley’s article describes a lucid expression of the secretive character of Bush’s administration. The little known Executive Order 13233 allows a release of private papers of a former president only with the approval of both that former president (or his heirs) and the current one. Before the Executive Order, all papers, except those pertaining to national security, had to be made available 12 years after a president left office. Bush did the paperwork just in time to protect Reagan’s papers. Bill Clinton objected the order and wanted his files open, but the Bush administration denies the access. The Order can be reversed by a future president, Congress’ legislation or court’s decision.
Unless one of these efforts succeeds, George W. Bush and his father can see to it that their administrations pass into history without examination. Their rationales for waging wars in the Middle East will go unchallenged. There will be no chance to weigh the arguments that led the administration to condone torture by our armed forces. The problems of federal agencies entrusted with public welfare during times of national disaster – 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina – will be unaddressed. Details on no-bid contracts awarded to politically connected corporations like Halliburton will escape scrutiny, as will the president’s role in Environmental Protection Agency’s policies on water and air polluters.
[Crossposted at European Tribune.]