The whole calamitous mess in Iraq belongs to the same large order of ideas as the environmental question: the mismanagement of the world.
The year we’ve left behind was dominated by a couple of large changes of mind: Global warming was finally accepted as real, leaving those in denial sputtering, and the war in Iraq was understood for the irretrievable catastrophe that it is.
That it took such titanic struggles, in both cases, to have the obvious accepted as obvious is hardly a good sign; but here we are, theoretically trying to move ahead.
And the question that will dominate from here on, in both cases, is: What’s the next step?
With regard to the environment, the next step is to get our stories together, the economic one and the environmental one, so that economic growth is not blindly pursued on the one hand while environmental measures are seen as something apart.
For example, the first test of whether the Harper government is serious, with its brand new environment minister, is whether it cuts the tax incentives to oil companies for oil sands development.