it is almost always a mistake for heads of state to undertake the details of a negotiation. They are then obliged to master specifics normally handled bu their foreign offices and are deflected onto subjects more appropriate to their subordinates, while being kept from issues only heads of states can resolve. Since no one without a well-developed ego reaches the highest office, compromise is difficult and deadlocks are dangerous. With the domestic positions of the interlocutors so often dependent on at least the semblance of success, negotiations more often concentrate on obscuring differences than they do on dealing with the essence of a problem.Graced by the likes of Leonardo diCaprio, Daryl Hannah and Helena Christensen, Copenhagen 2009 has barely limped past the finishing tape despite the supporters of both Gordon Brown and Barack Obama claiming that their man struggled alone to achieve a compromise against the odds. Labour snob-for-hire Polly Toynbee captured the air of frustration with ordinary people whom the Establishment has gone out of its way to gag:
Most leaders in Copenhagen were out ahead of their people. Most understand the crisis better than those they represent, promising more sacrifice than their citizens are yet ready to accept – while no doubt praying for some miraculous technological escape.Sudanese diplomat Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping spoke for the G77 group of the corrupt régimes of developing countries who had brought their begging-bowls to the Baltic when he asked what Obama would tell his daughters about his part in abandoning their Kenyan relatives, then developed the tired old theme comparing of climate-change "deniers" to scum who say that the Holocaust never happened by saying that Copenhagen spelled "incineration" for Africa and was comparable to the Nazis "sending six million Jews into the furnace". (Sweden's chief negotiator Anders Turesson called the reference "utterly despicable" - maybe the country's still ashamed of its politicians' initial apathy towards the Aftonbladet blood libel scandal.)
Shortly before the conference began, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown had a swipe at people who believe the hard science showing that changes in climate are not predominantly due to the actions of humankind, calling us "flat earthers", and the attacks have not let up. In Lord Christopher Monckton's case the attack was not metaphorical; as reported in the tap, the anthropogenic climate-change sceptic had the correct paperwork to enter the conference but was excluded, then was assaulted by a Danish policeman despite having followed St John's Ambulance recommendations to keep his hands in his pockets; he had turned his back and was walking away when he was knocked unconscious.
Other attacks are more insidious. The First Post's resident psychoanalyst, Coline Covington, spoke of Sarah Palin, as a typical climate change "denier", as having the sort of narcissism seen in small children; displaying her membership of the Richard Dawkins school of rhetoric, she sets up her straw man at the start of the article by talking about Nick Griffin, leader of the neo-nazi BNP. She says, referring to Palin and by implication to many of us, "Climate change threatens our narcissistic omnipotence. Deniers do not want anyone else telling them they can't drive large cars or run two refrigerators...This is a mentality resembling the narcissism of small children who want to hold onto their illusion of omnipotence and control over mother."
What Covington is referring to is more than the sexually-deviant scribblings of Sigmund Freud that imprisoned many children in their abusers' houses by interpreting their reports as libidinous fantasies; she's talking about narcissistic personality disorder, in a disappointing confirmation of the hostility of many psychiatric professionals towards people with personality disorders, and their over-readiness to inflict the diagnostic sentence upon people of whom they disapprove.
Copenhagen has failed, and that's disappointing because, for opposition against the thermofascists to turn to an effective resistance movement, we need to know exactly what we're resisting. The reason it's failed is precisely as Kissinger identified, that there were too many powerful egos with long memories at the conference.
Case in point: there will be consequences for Obama's humiliating China for not meeting Kyoto targets in the presence of that country's Prime Minister: had he watched Li Yu's 2007 Dam Street (Hong Yan) he would have learned the lesson you can find in the most basic internet guide for doing business with Chinese people - "Never allow your protagonist to lose face, and try not to lose face yourself." Heads of state like Britain's Gordon Brown, the US's Barack Obama and India's Manmohan Singh would have done better to send their foreign ministers or, even better, senior diplomats. Is Henry Kissinger still working?