Vladimir Putin is the current President of the Russian Federation. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, privately owned Russian-based multinational corporations, including producers of petroleum, natural gas, and metal have merged to form a state-sponsored oligarchy in Russia headed by Mr. Putin. An oligarchy is a structure within a country in which power resides within a small number of people. Throughout history, oligarchies have commonly been tyrannical, relying on public obedience and oppression in order to exist. Mr. Putin appears to fit this mold, suspected of punishing and even assassinating journalists and political adversaries who have challenged his point of view. Having muzzled Russia’s print and broadcast media, Putin has recently focused his energies on the Internet where some of his critics have tried to challenge his control of information. Reporters Without Borders ranked Russia 148 in its 2013 list of 179 countries in terms of freedom of the press. It particularly criticized Russia for the crackdown on the political opposition and the failure of the authorities to pursue the criminals (probably Putin’s henchmen) who have murdered journalists. Freedom House ranks Russian media as “not free,” indicating that basic safeguards and guarantees for journalists and media enterprises are absent.
While Mr. Putin’s brutal tactics may have their desired effect at home, on the world’s stage his main problem is that the democracies of the world tend to see him for what he has become – an aspiring brutal dictator. Therefore, the democracies of the world have been hesitant to form alliances with him just as they were with Adolf Hitler in the 1930’s. Therefore, upon observing the recent Presidential Election in the USA, Mr. Putin was understandably concerned that Hillary Clinton, who as the Secretary of State of the most powerful democracy of the world had voiced her concern over Mr. Putin’s dictatorial methods, might win that election. Thus, when Donald Trump entered the scene, praising Mr. Putin for this “strong leadership”, the stage was set for what has subsequently happened.
It now appears that Mr. Putin helped Mr. Trump win the US Presidential election of 2016 by his administration’s skillful use of the internet; that is, by hacking into the email and information systems of the USA and leaking selected information and misinformation concerning Mrs. Clinton into to the public domain. Both our CIA and FBI have concluded that this did indeed happen. Thus, Mr. Trump now owes Mr. Putin bigtime for that assistance.
And there is much more. Mr. Trump has now chosen Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon-Mobil, to be our Secretary of State when and if Mr. Trump takes office in January. Why did Mr. Trump make this specific choice for Secretary of State, one might ask. Turns out, Mr. Tillerson is also very highly regarded by Mr. Putin – whose country granted him the “Order of Friendship Award” in 2011, Russia’s highest honor given annually to a foreigner. And why did Mr. Putin select Mr. Tillerson for this award? Undoubtedly that is because after he became CEO, Exxon bet billions on Russia’s vast but notoriously-elusive oil resources on a bold partnership with the Russian oil company known as Rosneft. This now enormous, state-owned oil company was patched together using the assets acquired in the state-run auctions of the assets of other private oil companies all orchestrated by Mr. Putin’s oligarchy. The legality of these acquisitions, such as the one known as the “Yukos Affair”, was questioned at both the national and international levels. Thus, Mr. Tillerson’s formation of this partnership between Exxon-Mobile and Rosneft gave needed legitimacy to the Russian state-owned company and helped dilute the stench created by the thefts perpetrated in its formation.
So what does all of this have to do with the subject of climate change? Is it not obvious that none of the three persons listed in the title of this post will give a rat’s behind about effective and real action against climate change? Only CEO Tillerson has said that he believes mankind is causing global warming but then also says that scientists do not yet know what the magnitude of that warming will be (while, in fact, most scientists agree that with business as usual, the magnitude of future warming will be incompatible with existing civilizations). In short, Mr. Tillerson is also a denier of the scientific consensus on this topic offering only a more nuanced, but still fatal point of view. In short he is a BS artist seeking to prolong the use and development of gas and oil for as long as possible. For a more complete description of Tillerson’s climate con, see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elliott-negin/secretary-of-state-nomine_b_13713292.html. The CEO of Exxon knows what’s ahead for mankind if fossil fuels continue to be found and used. He and his investors simply want to make as much money as they can in the meantime. Delay action and spread doubt on the reality of climate change – that is their motto.
Same old, same old: all too often, corporations make the profits and leave the public with the clean-up. That is, we privatize the profits and socialize the losses – with the additional caveat that in this case “the mess” left behind is possibly unmanageable. In addition, Mr. Trump’s other selections to his cabinet will make sure that our regulatory branches of government, such as the EPA, are emasculated. Because Mr. Trump does not either care about or even recognize the myriad messes he is leaving behind, I hope our Electoral College will recognize and perform its constitutionally allowed prerogative on Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. If they don’t and it looks like they won’t, I fear that we will have two dates in December that will live in infamy.