I’m sure this is a Good Thing

The Pentagon looks toward the Enemy of the Future, which is obviously crowds of unhappy protesters:

A US Department of Defense (DoD) research programme is funding universities to model the dynamics, risks and tipping points for large-scale civil unrest across the world, under the supervision of various US military agencies. The multi-million dollar programme is designed to develop immediate and long-term “warfighter-relevant insights” for senior officials and decision makers in “the defense policy community,” and to inform policy implemented by “combatant commands.”

Launched in 2008 – the year of the global banking crisis – the DoD ‘Minerva Research Initiative’ partners with universities “to improve DoD’s basic understanding of the social, cultural, behavioral, and political forces that shape regions of the world of strategic importance to the US.”

Minerva apparently used to study things like why some disaffected people choose to become terrorists while others stick to non-violent protest movements (which admittedly seems like something worth getting a handle on), but here they’re just studying the non-violent folks, who apparently somehow “support” the violent ones.

The thing is, we’re undoubtedly going to see a rise in civil unrest around the world in the years to come, because of climate change. Hungry people tend to take to the streets to seek remedies for their hunger, and if you don’t buy that I’d suggest asking some Syrian rebels (not the fundamentalist kind, but the ones who were out protesting before Assad escalated it into a war) why they were protesting Assad’s government and see what they say. Or ask some Egyptian folks, if Papa Sisi will allow it, whether Tahrir had anything to do with, say, higher food prices. But if our government is spending more time planning for the civil unrest caused by climate change and environmental protests than it is trying to mitigate the effect that climate change itself is having and will have on all of us, then that seems fairly chilling to me.


One thought on “I’m sure this is a Good Thing

  1. The hairy armpit brigade over at the Daily Kos is up in arms over the MIC coopting the universities to develop faster ways to shoot the dirty hippies down like dogs, but then they see the Sun rising in the East as yet more proof that the NSA has cracked their laptops to watch them masturbating in the bathrooms.

    Me, I can’t get too excited: the military is always first to go/last to know when affairs head south and the white middle classes suddenly realize that they want men with guns to protect their lawn furniture. Just like the Navy is a leading institutional sponsor of climate change research, to stay one step ahead of the global trouble spots they are tasked to patrol, it’s only reasonable that we try to understand group behavior and the contexts in which people turn violent.

    As an amusing side note, I went to the eye doc this morning and ran across another Dr Robert L Bell. What are the chances in a one cow college town?

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