Archive for the ‘foreign affairs’ Category
Relative to it all.
There has been a lot going on that I’ve wanted to discuss here on TRC, but things have been kind of busy. As a result, here is our first “rundown” of stories of interest, starting with the most significant story of the past week.
The Kepler Satellite has sent home its planet finding report. Results: Kepler found 1,235 potential planets! Of those, 54 new planets are expected to be within the habitable zone, meaning based on their size they are an approximate distance from their star that they could (possible maybe) support life. Over the next several years, Keplers “planets” will be analyzed, and approximately %80 will remain under planet classification (if the general average of planet discovery holds up). The past few weeks have been an exciting time in space exploration, a pursuit I support and have long defended in the face of, say, budget cuts.
Things are getting terrible in Egypt. It’s striking how quickly a movement can move from success to danger. Reading daily about the Egypt developments has become a terrifying experience. The situation seems to be going from bad to worse. I don’t have anything else to add to this.
And finally, it always behooves whatever blog I am partaking in at the time to chime in on the global warming chatter of the day. This time Bill O’Reilly, noticing that there has been an awful lot of snow this winter, and having just survived the SNOWPOCALYPSE!!!!! wondered why New York had turned in to the tundra. He put in a call to Al Gore, apparently, to discuss it. So Mr. Gore responded via his blog, and stated very plainly that snowier winters have always been a part of the global warming diagnosis. “Scientists have been warning for at least two decades that global warming could make snowstorms more severe. Snow has two simple ingredients: cold and moisture. Warmer air collects moisture like a sponge until it hits a patch of cold air.” This is really very simple science–warm air (let’ say over the Pacific) holds more moisture, more moisture in the air creates more precipitation–so in true journalistic fashion Politico has a debate over whether Al Gore is correct. Because science is always up for debate amongst political pundits.
Relative to: The New Start Treaty, and Obama’s Agenda.
As much as Mitch McConnell and other GOPers have said their primary senate intentions are to make Mr. Obama a one-term president, it seems they just can’t keep the President down, even amidst a lame-duck session that was supposed to allow no victories for Democrats before the new Republicans arrived in DC. On the heels of the repeal of DADT, today it looks likely that the New Start Treaty will pass before the end of the year (day?), renewing and updating the nuclear arms treaty that has existed with US, Russia, and others for decades.
Last time this subject appeared at TRC, we stated that there is only one correct answer when it comes to dealing with nuclear weapons. Though Lamar Alexander may represent the wrong answer–“the United States would be left with enough nuclear firepower “to blow anyone to kingdom come”–not passing the New Start treaty is definitely a step away from the right answer with nukes. New Start is not the perfect way to manage such destructive capability, and blowing others to kingdom come is exactly the problem. But we’ll take it for now, because for now, it is better than having no treaty at all, and letting nuclear weapons fall off the radar.
Finally, the GOP would be advised to notice how President Obama–whose presidency has been marked by slow, thoughtful, deliberate work on serious, long-term issues–has continued doing what he does best (and which drives liberals mad). Despite the historic elections, and the swinging of the nation back to the Republicans, and the failing economy and etc. etc. etc., the President has managed to continue to achieve legislative priorities by winning over Republican votes. Despite the damnedest efforts of GOP.
The President has taken a clear hit by losing his House Majority, slimming his Senate Majority, and losing his popularity at home. Thus, he will likely turn his attentions abroad, where Presidents often make their lasting marks, to Foreign Policy. He has successfully negotiated a new non-proliferation treaty with Russia and signed it earlier this year. It now awaits ratification by the US Congress.
For goodness sakes, congress, ratify the treaty! For political gain you will allow the world to be without a nuclear arms treaty? Hopefully it is just John Kyl and his pals that don’t want to see this come about immediately. A vote is likely to be held this year. We’re talking about nuclear weapons; not domestic budgets and tax codes. There is only one right thing to do when nuclear weapons are involved.