EDITORIAL: The green dictatorship

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Last week’s Copenhagen summit surrendered all pretense to significance when it turned into a showcase for dictators’ attempts to greenwash their bloody regimes. Granting the spotlight to the tyrannical trio of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez so they could express their profound concern for Mother Earth is like asking former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and his prostitute Ashley Dupre to propound upon the state of marriage.

Mr. Mugabe used the opportunity to blame global warming for the deaths of millions of his subjects. No doubt his country turned from food exporter to famine because of coal electric plants in Idaho. Of course, driving thousands of farmers from their land, rejecting modern farming methods, confiscating his people’s wealth and turning his nation into a police state have little to do with Zimbabwean poverty.

“When we spew hazardous emissions for selfish, consumptionist ends, in the process threatening land masses and atmospheric space of smaller and weaker nations, are we not guilty of gross human rights violations?” Mr. Mugabe asked. In case you didn’t recognize him, that’s the good dictator, the campaigner for human rights and pollution control.

In Mr. Ahmadinejad’s case, he unsurprisingly pushed an agenda of spreading nuclear technology to all nations. In a slight oversight, the misunderstood Iranian president failed to mention his desperate hurry to create a nuclear arsenal. No matter, the good Mr. Ahmadinejad is about saving the environment with a profound commitment to disarmament. “Would it not be better that part of the military funds of some countries be dedicated to improving the welfare of people and reducing pollution?” pleaded the green Iranian dictator.

That’s rather an ironic color choice, as Mr. Ahmadinejad recently stole elections from an opposition party using green as its signature campaign color.

Not to be left out is Mr. Chavez as representative of a nation feverishly arming for war with its neighbors, nationalizing whole industries and silencing the opposition press. He believes, “The cause of all this disastrous situation is the destructive capitalist system. … Capitalism is the road to hell.” No doubt the tanks Mr. Chavez is buying from Russia will come with efficient hybrid engines and will be used only to demand that neighboring countries tighten fuel-efficiency standards. Those TV stations he shut down must have refused to use clean and responsible solar energy.

Such deep concern for Western capitalism, consumerism and militarism didn’t keep the dictators from joining other less developed nations with their hand out for a $100 billion bribe to be financed by that awful capitalism. But these green dictators have more in common than a desire for handouts. Iran and Venezuela, in particular, finance their oppressive governments with the export of oil. Now what was it that causes carbon emissions again? Fossil fuels, was it?

To call the eco-friendly posturing of Third World dictators a farce is to understate the scandal. That the audience greeted such self-serving insanity with applause and that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Obama sanctified the gathering with their presence exposes a dark side to the green agenda. Global-warming theology is not just a fraud; it attacks freedom and encourages dictatorship.

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