I've never met Mr. Bolton, and I don't know his motivations. However, I do regularly read about his expressed opinions, which I've always found abhorrent until now. From what I can tell, he's of the opinion that projecting US military might around the world (primarily for the benefit of our corporate interests) is almost always the right thing to do, regardless of the cost in lives, reputation, or precious "taxpayer dollars". This article here is one that appears to be representative of his latest thoughts.
So how exactly did I fall in love with Mr. Bolton? Allow me to explain...
Depending upon where we set the "baseline" temperature for measuring climate change, we're now at about 1.5 degrees C above the pre-industrial global temperature, a feat achieved by cranking our atmospheric CO2 from 280 up to the present 413ppm. Our current global temperature is also being *reduced* by the effects of global dimming -- that being the shading effects of jet contrails and particulates from fires and industrial activity around the world. After 9/11, when air traffic over the US was halted, a 1.1 degree (C) rise in temperature was observed, due to the loss of the shade from contrails alone. Considering that industrial activity -- and air travel in particular -- must stop if we're to have a fighting chance of controlling our carbon emissions, you could conclude that our measured 1.5 degree increase is actually 2.6 degrees as soon as we get our affairs in order.
It's long been argued that a two degree (C) rise in temperature is the absolute limit for continued human existence. It's not that two degrees itself is the problem, however. The problem is that two degrees is a "tipping point", beyond which various feedback loops kick in to create uncontrolled temperature increases that would soon kill most complex forms of life. NASA scientist James Hansen thinks two degrees is well above the safe limit for triggering the feedback loops which we will be unable to control. Based upon the feedback loops we're already seeing triggered at 1.5 degrees (like this or this or this one), I'd have to say he's correct.
To sum it up, we're already losing control at 1.5 degrees, and we've already got a minimum of 2.6 degrees baked into our future. Things aren't looking good, to say the least. Suffice it to say that we need to stop all fossil fuel extraction asap, and additionally find new ways to sequester carbon, pronto!
Considering these facts, I'm sure everyone is completely on-board with eliminating the use of fossil fuels. We'll park our cars permanently, and walk to work (assuming our job can exist without fossil fuel use). We'll stop heating our homes and businesses. We'll give up fossil fueled electricity, stop maintaining roads with asphalt or concrete, and never again use anything made with metals mined/smelted/transported with fossil fuels. We'll no longer run diesel tractors, semi trucks, or shop at grocery stores supplied by these devices.
Does this sound likely? No, I don't think so either. It should be clear by now that we're never going to voluntarily skip down the one remaining path that *might* not end in human extinction.
But alas, this is no reason for despair. There are other ways to get there!
If you've been paying attention, you may have noticed that the global economy started to stumble a bit around 1980, when per-capita energy peaked. The economic outlook stumbled a bit harder shortly after conventional (i.e. affordable) oil production peaked around 2006. Within the last few years, we've witnessed what now appear to be peaks in the production of coal, concrete, diesel fuel, and quite possibly global GDP. Chinese industrial production is sputtering, and stock markets are again swooning in ways reminiscent of 2007/2008.
Industrial civilization, it would seem, is growing weak and frail, as energy sources become more difficult to extract. It's having trouble growing, which means that it will soon have trouble servicing the debt that has filled in as life-support for countries around the globe over the last few decades. Just a push is all it needs to go over the edge from which it cannot possibly recover.
That push, it turns out, is where John Bolton comes in.
As I see it, our choices amount to 1) maintenance of the status quo for as long as possible -- which results in a 100% chance of human extinction, or 2) the immediate cessation of industrial activity, which may give us a 5% chance of continued survival if we're lucky. A 5% chance isn't a great option, but it certainly looks like our best option. At this late stage in the survival game, we'll probably also require some sort of divine intervention for survival to remain a possibility. Maybe a few super-volcano eruptions combined with a dramatic loss of solar activity can tip global temps back into the safety zone, perhaps with the aid of space-unicorns sprinkling us all with magic rainbow fairy dust.
When resources grow scarce as they are now doing globally, humans have a long established habit of fighting over them. Thus, Bolton's warmongering ways are probably all but inevitable, and appear to be the most likely route to reaching option 2 (i.e. 5% chance of survival). If Johnny gets his gun, of course, there could be some unpleasant side effects, but maybe the magic rainbow fairy dust will neutralize those. We can never say for certain exactly what the future holds for us, so don't knock the unicorn possibility, eh?
I suspect that some of you may remain unconvinced of John Bolton's great merits despite my detailed argument in support of them. If that's the case, I have only this to offer...
Pause from your daily grind, and take the time to stop and smell the roses which still surround us. They won't be blooming here forever.