In 2013, ExxonMobil CEO and future secretary of state Rex Tillerson — the man who called the president who would fire him a “moron” — summed up our world with eerie accuracy in a single question. Speaking of climate change and ExxonMobil’s role in producing carbon emissions, he asked that company’s shareholders, “What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?” What he clearly meant was: “What good is it to save the planet if ExxonMobil and its shareholders suffer?” On that, if not the moron comment, President Trump continues to agree with Tillerson (and his administration has acted accordingly).
Given the future that seems to be in store for us, our children, and our grandchildren, there may, in fact, be no more important news than this: a president elected by almost half of American voters is ensuring that ExxonMobil, its shareholders, and he himself won’t suffer, even if civilization does. Still, the most essential news on that very subject — carbon emissions rising at a startling clip, the oceans warming with unexpected rapidity, insect and other populations being decimated, the planet’s great masses of ice melting down, temperatures at record levels globally, Australia broiling, you name it — is easy enough to miss these days.
Faced with an ego the size of the Ritz, the mainstream media deluges us, as TomDispatchregular Andrew Bacevich makes clear today, with Donald J. Trump and his doings. Everything else, no matter how crucial, takes second (third? fourth?) place to that. President Trump’s overblown self-image and over-the-moon sense of vanity might be the world’s least-well-kept secret. Otherwise, why would Poland’s president have promoted the idea of an American military base in his country by preemptively dubbing that future post “Fort Trump” on a visit to the White House? Of course, you don’t have to live in Poland to sense what we’re dealing with. You just have to watch the talking heads of cable news to know that never has an ego been stroked this way (even by those who loathe the man) to the obliteration of so much else.
After all, given our obsession with DJT, how much attention has the most inspirational and timely movement of our century gotten? I’m thinking about the arrival of the “climate kids” to tell us that our “house” is quite literally “on fire.” Let Andrew Bacevich, then, plunge you deep into TrumpWorld, as he considers how news about war, American-style, has, like climate change, gone remarkably unnoticed and unattended in the world of Fort Trump.