Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Want to help Yemen? Leave the car at home...

I'm still looking for offers to host a Bill Mallonee gig. But I've also been thinking about Yemen and Thomas Friedman in between completing another chapter of the book.

There was a summit on Yemen in London today, featuring the foreign ministers of a number of interested states wringing their hands about what to do for this failing state.

Friedman knows what to do. Go green. His argument brilliantly links global weirding, petro-dictatorships and the war on terror. His argument is that our dependence on oil makes us dependent on the good will of those who sell us the oil and skews our foreign policy as a result.

Indeed he argues that every time we fill our tanks, we donate money to Al Quaida. So if we want to reduce the threat of militant islamism, we need to reduce our dependency on Middle Eastern oil and the only way we can do that is to 'go green', generate our electricity using renewable resources and innovate in the area electric vehicles. This does not just make climate sense. It's also the only sensible anti-terror policy.

Now, you need to read Friedman's argument because there's a ton of statistics and good sense that is missing from my stripped down version of it. And, of course, such a thing couldn't happen overnight. But it has to start or Yemen will just be the latest not the last failing state we have to hold a conference about.

Theologically I reckon his ability to link things that the media and our politicians generally don't link, is very important and suggestive. And is something we should be doing at church rather more than we're prone to.

With that in mind, St Arbuck's this coming Sunday is thinking about 'why vote?' the first of a number of gatherings this year that will have a political focus and feel. come along if you're passing Starbucks in the Market Square in Bromley at 2:30pm on Sunday.


Anonymous said...

From what I understand most of the new battery technology for electric cars etc comes from China, as well as the necessary rare earth metals. (You can read about it here: link

So logically we would just be shifting our foreign policy from one weird regime to another.

Would it not be better to use business, diplomacy and trade to make a difference?

I don't know the answer, but I reckon it's a lot more complicated than the argument you've outlined.

simon said...

Yeah, it is far more complex and to do justice to Friedman's 30+ page argument, you'd need to read his chapter.
I find the linkage suggestive, I think, because it's rare to find someone prepared to engage in joined-up thinking about the issues the world faces.
No technology is untainted, is it?
thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

Anonymous said...

One wonders whether Friedman's perspective might just be skewed by his tribal loyalties...

When the church begins tackling the problem of militant Zionism we might get somewhere.