From Africa to Asia and Latin America, the era of climate wars has begun. Extreme weather is breeding banditry, humanitarian crisis, and state failure. In Tropic of Chaos, investigative journalist Christian Parenti travels along the front lines of this gathering catastrophe - the belt of economically and politically battered postcolonial nations and war zones girding the planet's mid-latitudes. Here he finds failed states amid climatic disasters. But he also reveals the unsettling presence of Western military forces and explains how they see an opportunity in the crisis to prepare for open-ended global counterinsurgency.
Parenti argues that this incipient "climate fascism" - a political hardening of wealthy states - is bound to fail. The struggling states of the developing world cannot be allowed to collapse, as they will take other nations down as well. Instead, we must work to meet the challenge of climate-driven violence with a very different set of sustainable economic and development policies.
If you could sum up Tropic of Chaos in three words, what would they be?
Open your eyes.
Any additional comments?
This book's topic is critical for anyone who is not deluded enough to think they and their children/grandchildren can live in a protective bubble regardless of that happens to the rest of the world.
The book exposes the convergence of climate change with previous trends of economic imperialism and Cold War arms/violence. Thus, this book primarily frames the issue of climate-induced poverty, migration, and xenophobia in the political theater.
At first glance I might prefer more analysis on the economic side, but I do appreciate the author's argument that the #1 priority is to curtail greenhouse emissions and not wait for any drastic restructuring the world's socioeconomic structure. However you frame it though, both are connected.
For more environmental details, try "Eaarth" by Bill McKibben
A great read/listen on free market/austerity consequences to public health: "The Body Economic"
For more economics:
"Capital in the Twenty-First Century" (Piketty)
"All the Presidents' Bankers" (Prins)
"The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap" (Taibbi)
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
An insightful perspective into the future by examining some of the lessons of the past and origins of regional conflicts.
Falls close to conspiracy theory sometimes, but overall a great audio book. Really complete picture of the relation between conflict and climate change.
What did you like best about this story?
I don't agree with all the views expressed by the author, but the book is very good overall. Some parts require some patience, because the points explained at one part may not seem immediately relevant to the whole idea of climate change, but the questions brought up by the author are worth discussion.
Any additional comments?
I think there were some minor pronunciation errors by the narrator, but overall, I think the narrator did a great job of engaging the reader.
Outlines clearly the reality of climate related violence that is already affecting populations in the global South. The climate crisis interacts with the legacy of cold war militarism and neoliberal economic restructuring to create what Parenti calls the "catastrophic convergence". The emerging response of wealthy nations most responsible for global warming is open-ended counter-insurgency, militarised borders and a failure to set and implement appropriate renewable energy goals.