Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Why We Should Give Ukraine Free Wind Turbines (and Why We Won't)

Wind turbine, MA Military Reservation, Cape Cod
Russia holds much of its sway over Ukraine and other nations in Eastern Europe because it's a major supplier of natural gas for electricity and home heating.

We're spending $682 billion on fighter jets, bombs, and tanks that are virtually worthless in this situation and $75 billion more on spying that as The Rachel Maddow Show reports failed to warn us this crisis was coming.

What if instead we spent just $500 billion on that stuff that's not helping us and spent the other $250 billion on hiring Americans to build wind turbines, then giving them to Ukraine and other vulnerable nations in the region below cost or free? What if, instead of sending troops, we sent workers to install them? Ukraine already has a burgeoning wind energy industry and has the potential to get 100% of its electricity from wind, solar and biomass energy.

Our current enemy's muscle is reduced, our current allies' power grows. And unlike military aid, if those roles ever flip, Ukraine can't use those wind turbines to kill us.

I know it would never actually happen, because clean energy is silly and threatening to start World War III is serious. But it would be nice if Washington could look at the situation a little more strategically than Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. The Iron Sheik. Do we punch 'em or hit 'em with the 2x4???

But just like Duggan and the Sheik would go to war in front of the fans then go off and get wasted together after the show, the US and Russia are motivated by the same polluting, climate-disrupting energy interests: Russia is #1 in the world in gas reserves, the US #6. The US is #1 in the world in coal reserves, Russia #2.

If we helped one nation break its addiction to polluting fuels, what's to stop all of them from doing it? What's to stop our own citizens from questioning our energy choices?

Better go back to talking about how Ukraine (and Iraq before that) are really about FREEEDOM and not at all about protecting the wealth and power of our dominant industries and the people who control them. The second one doesn't sound worth dying for.

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