For more information on Michael Shellenberger, please visit www.tedxberlin.de. Michael Shellenberger is co-founder and Senior Fellow at the Breakthrough Institute, where he was president from 2003 to 2015, and a co-author of the Ecomodernist Manifesto.
Over the last decade, Michael and his colleagues have constructed a new paradigm that views prosperity, cheap energy and nuclear power as the keys to environmental progress. A book he co-wrote (with Ted Nordhaus) in 2007, Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism
to the Politics of Possibility, was called by Wired magazine “the best thing to happen to environmentalism since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring,” while Time Magazine called him a “hero of the environment.” In the 1990s, he helped protect the last signi cant groves of old-growth redwoods still in private hands and bring about labor improvements to Nike factories in Asia. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedxNuclear energy is the only practical alternative that we have to destroying the environment with oil and coal.-Ansel Adams, 1983 (14 min)
Former national-security adviser Mike Flynn and others within the White House ignored repeated legal and ethical warnings as they pushed early in President Trump’s tenure a plan to build dozens of nuclear-power reactors in Saudi Arabia, according to a report released Tuesday by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
The report describes how Mr. Flynn and Derek Harvey, whom Mr. Flynn brought to the National Security Council staff to oversee Middle East affairs, worked closely on the plan with a group of retired U.S. generals and admirals who had formed a private company to promote it.
Despite the warnings from career White House staff—and an order by the NSC’s top lawyer to stand down—the White House officials and their private-sector allies worked to place the idea on Mr. Trump’s agenda during a phone call with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, and to be discussed during the U.S. president’s May 2017 trip to Riyadh, his first overseas trip as president, the report says.
The plan for U.S. companies to build nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia, part of an ambitious “Middle East Marshall Plan,” was billed by advocates as a way to revive the moribund U.S. nuclear industry, create jobs and reassert American influence in the region.
But one unnamed senior official quoted in the report derided the idea as “a scheme for these generals to make some money.”
another take is that it’s the Plaza Redux, meaning the 1988 real estate debacle in which Trump hastily purchased New York’s Plaza Hotel because it looked like an irresistible trophy, only to be forced to sell it at a loss a few years later as part of a brutal debt restructuring.
.. “Like Reagan, he seems to sense that the nuclear technicalities matter less than the political relationship.”
.. First, Trump isn’t Reagan.
- Reagan generally acted in concert with allies. Trump brazenly acts against them.
- Reagan’s negotiation method: “Trust but verify.” Trump’s self-declared method: “My touch, my feel.”
- Reagan refused to give in to Soviet demands that he abandon the Strategic Defense Initiative. Trump surrendered immediately to Pyongyang’s long-held insistence that the U.S. suspend military exercises with South Korea while getting nothing in return.
- Reagan’s aim was to topple Communist Party rule in Moscow. Trump’s is to preserve it in Pyongyang.
Second, Kim isn’t Gorbachev.
- Gorbachev was born into a family that suffered acutely the horrors of Stalinism. Kim was born into a family that starved its own people.
- Gorbachev rose through the ranks as a technocrat with no background in the regime’s security apparatus. Kim consolidated his rule by murdering his uncle, half brother and various ministers, among other unfortunates.
- Gorbachev came to office intent on easing political repression at home and defusing tensions with the West. Kim spent his first six years doing precisely the opposite.
The planned summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is one of the most anticipated bilateral engagements of the twenty-first century. But as Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations notes, the optimism, while warranted, should not overshadow the hard work that remains.