Part 11. Climate and Energy Series: A Reader Responds Jamie,
In response to Friday’s letter (Wrong Focus), my view is that we can handle both. Terrorism doesn’t require all our attention and resources all the time, and virtually all decisions and deployments have downsides and unintended consequences, requiring considerable forethought. Our overall geopolitics needs some long-term antidotal efforts right now – particularly in what we are trying to achieve in Paris, as climate change issues already significantly affect our geopolitics. Climate change is upon us and will increasingly exacerbate geopolitics. Even Syria has a serious climate component.* It would be a shame to allow our short-term concerns to derail the Paris conference. I say, if not now, when, on climate change?
All that said, I believe we can, should and probably right now are upgrading our efforts against ISIS. Also, of course, we need to be highly attentive to how we address Putin’s pouting and power plays, but he started his provocative behavior quite long ago, and though the risks may feel higher right now, his aggression was only going to get worse, and at least he is now thinking twice. (I do think an aggressive response to Syria’s crossing the red line might have helped, but again there were serious potential downsides.)
As for the violence here at home, obtuse people in the Republican Party are standing in the way of the only obvious remedial answers. The only good thing to come of it is that, hopefully, the bankruptcy of their positions will become increasingly obvious. Voting against restrictions on gun purchase for people on terror watch lists? I hope the American voters find that a very hard sell.