Warning: spoilers to follow.
This weekend, against my wife's better judgment, we went to see 2012, and it was everything its fans and critics said it would be: grandiose in ambition, ludicrous in conception, and technically wondrous in execution.
There are obviously a lot of silly things going on in the movie, not least the idea that you could keep such a thing as the imminent destruction of the planet secret from all but a handful of people, even while you are auctioning off golden parachutes. A fatal flaw of the film that as far as I know has gone unremarked upon, however, is its strange conception of global governance.
For one thing, it's ridiculous to think that the moribund G-8 would be the preferred international forum in which to hash out doomsday planning. And yet, we get Danny Glover as the U.S. president, leaning on his thoughtful Russian and Italian colleagues to help plan for the end of the world. China, though it builds and hosts the giant, arc-like ships that are supposed to save the chosen few from disaster, isn't a G-8 member and therefore this particular nuclear-armed fifth of humanity doesn't appear to get a seat at the big-boys' table.
Then there's India. Despite the fact that an Indian scientist nobly informs his American colleague of his (admittedly far-fetched) findings about how the sun's surging neutrinos are destabilizing the Earth's core, rather than keeping the knowledge to himself, nobody comes to rescue the poor bastard and his family when the meltdown begins. Instead, we are treated to a painful scene of him about to be swamped by a 50-foot tsunami, resignedly informing Washington's top geologist of his plight and the flood's unexpectedly rapid advance, before the line goes dead. And again, since India is not a G-8 member, his compatriots, representing another fifth or so of the Earth's population, don't seem to be on any of the arcs or involved in the discussions about their use.
So, suspending disbelief about the film's premise, here's a question for everyone: What is the proper forum for secret doomsday planning? The G-20? The U.N. Security Council? The P5+1 or the EU3+3? Every country for itself? Mssrs. Drezner and Walt, I'm counting on you to chime in here.
UPDATE: Drezner obliges! Go read.
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