Timothy Snyder Speaks, ep. 10: Pompeo or Pompeii? Climate Security is National Security

Pompeo is an interesting figure here
because Mike Pompeo who as I’m sure you
know has been the head of the CIA and is
now going to be confirmed probably to be
Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo comes into existence as part
of the energy industry when he becomes a
politician when he runs for office as a
congressman from Kansas his campaign is
funded by the Koch brothers and by other
energy lobbies to the tune of 1.1
million dollars and duly elected he
proposes that climate change is not real
when he’s confirmed as CIA director he
says that it’s a terrible mistake to say
that climate change is a problem for the
national security of the United States
however if we just look at his career a
little bit and if we look at the actual
challenges that he’ll have to confront
were the challenges that are in front of
us now we can see at a deeper level
how-how-how his his his own life shows
how false the position is so Lebanon for
example Mike Pompeo made his name by
criticizing Hillary Clinton on Lebanon
why was there a crisis in Lebanon why
was there an Arab Spring in the first
place because of the droughts because of
the droughts which created the bread
lines which created the riots
why were there droughts because of
climate change
Syria is a problem which mr. Trump can’t
wish away and which mr. Pompeo can’t
wish away why is there a problem in
Syria there are many reasons one of them
a horrifying dictator one of them is the
presence of the Russian army but one of
the root causes is that drought in Syria
destroyed what was once called the
Fertile Crescent leading to mass
migration to cities leading to civil
unrest which was one of the conditions
of the Civil War now why does this
matter because Libya and Syria are the
kinds of things which mr. Trump and mr.
Pompeo talk about and we’ll have to talk
about and the main way that US policy
could actually make a difference in
these parts of the world and in the
Muslim world generally is by having a
policy on climate change you see there’s
this odd coincidence which is that the
crescent of the world where more than a
billion Muslims live is also the place
where climate change is having the
greatest effect the fastest if one were
serious about unrest in the Muslim world
if one were really worried about
terrorism coming from the Muslim world
one would then then one would then
insist on having a policy about climate
if you think about foreign policy
as entertainment you’ll just let the
individual crises come you’ll drop a
bomb you’ll launch a missile you move on
to the next thing if you’re really
thinking about the Muslim world if
you’re really thinking about Muslim
terrorism as a growing threat then you
would think about climate change
the thing is climate change makes fake
problems real your your little
entertainment number becomes the real
world if you don’t address climate
change with policy Mexico is another
example right now it’s entirely
entertainment but if we continue to
desertified Mexico with climate change
there really will be waves of migrants
from the south if we continue to
desertified Mexico
Mexico City can
collapse as groundwater reserves are
taken out from under it and then there
really will be mass migration from
to the United States do you want
to head that off if you do then you have
to be in favor of a serious policy on
climate change now the relationship
between climate change and national
security is actually even more direct
than that so who are our rivals in the
world now who are the countries that are
in the headlines
Russia in China let’s imagine that you
think that Russia is an adversary
what’s imagine that you think that
Russia does things that are not in the
national security interest the United
States what’s the most effective policy
the most effective policy would be to
develop renewable energies because the
Russian regime and every regime like it
depends precisely on the world being in
a carbon economy you get past the carbon
economy there will not be a Putin led
oligarchy or regime in Russia China the
Chinese like everybody else know that
climate change is real the Chinese
unlike us are devoting a great deal of
state investment to renewable energy
precisely with the goal of being the
people who developed the technology
which get us around this Bend into a new
energy economy is that a technological
competition that we want to lose the
only way to maintain some kind of parity
technological parity with China is to
acknowledge a real problem and then to
invest in the real solutions but it gets
even more direct than that so let’s say
you’re not concerned about these
long-term things but say you just think
are our armed forces can run out to
various spots in the world and solve
whatever problem arises okay if you want
to send the US Armed Forces out to the
world to solve various problems where do
they leave from they leave from a naval
base in Norfolk Virginia what’s the
problem with the Naval Base in Norfolk
the rising tides the rise of sea level
because of global warming and the
melting of ice and the north and south
our own major Naval Base in Norfolk
Virginia will soon not be functional who
is saying that the United States Navy is
saying that right so even if you think
that these long-term things don’t matter
and the national security is just a
matter of sending soldiers and sailors
out to hot spots in the world we’re not
going to be able to do that unless we
get our minds around climate change so
in all these ways real national security
the things that we should really be
afraid of as opposed to the
entertainment industry around national
injustice national security the things
that were made to be anxious about day
after day real national security depends
thinking about everybody in the country
the country is a whole the country’s
future and that means caring about
climate change so if we if this whole
thing isn’t just a joke right this whole
thing isn’t just a performance by paid
lobbyists if the next Secretary of State
is really going to be someone who cares
about national security which one would
think would be the basic Job Description
it has to start with climate change
that’s that’s what the real national
security interest the United States are
going to have to do with thanks

Trump Tweets Lengthy Attack on F.B.I. Over Inquiry Into Possible Aid to Russia

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Saturday unleashed an extended assault on the F.B.I. and the special counsel’s investigation, knitting together a comprehensive alternative story in which he had been framed by disgraced “losers” at the bureau’s highest levels.

In a two-hour span starting at 7 a.m., the president made a series of false claims on Twitter about his adversaries and the events surrounding the inquiry. He was responding to a report in The New York Times that, after he fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director in 2017, the bureau began investigating whether the president had acted on behalf of Russia.

In his tweets,

  • the president accused Hillary Clinton, without evidence, of breaking the law by lying to the F.B.I. He claimed that
  • Mr. Comey was corrupt and best friends with the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.
  • He said Mr. Mueller was employing a team of Democrats — another misleading assertion — bent on taking him down.

Individually, the president’s claims were familiar. But as the special counsel’s inquiry edges ever closer to him, Democrats vow a blizzard of investigations of their own and the government shutdown reaches record lengths, Mr. Trump compiled all the threads of the conspiracy theory he has pushed for many months in an effort to discredit the investigation.

Mr. Trump accused the F.B.I. of opening “for no reason” and “with no proof” an investigation in 2017 into whether he had been working against American interests on behalf of Russia, painting his own actions toward Russia as actually “FAR tougher” than those of his predecessors.

The Times article, published Friday evening, reported that law enforcement officials became so alarmed by Mr. Trump’s behavior surrounding his firing of Mr. Comey that they took the explosive step of opening a counterintelligence investigation against him.

Naming several of the bureau’s now-departed top officials, including Mr. Comey and his deputy, Andrew G. McCabe, Mr. Trump said the F.B.I. had “tried to do a number on your President,” accusing the “losers” of essentially fabricating a case. “Part of the Witch Hunt,” he wrote — referring dismissively to the investigation now being overseen by Mr. Mueller.

At the time he was fired in May 2017, Mr. Comey had been leading the F.B.I.’s investigation into Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election, and the officials believed that his removal, in hindering the inquiry, posed a possible threat to national security. Their decision to open the case was informed, in part, by two instances in which Mr. Trump tied the firing to the Russia investigation.

The inquiry they opened had two aspects, including both the newly disclosed counterintelligence element and a criminal element that has long been publicly known: whether the firing constituted obstruction of justice.

When Mr. Mueller was appointed days later, he took over the joint inquiry as part of his larger investigation of Russia’s action in 2016 and whether anyone on the Trump campaign conspired with Moscow. It is not clear whether he is still pursuing the counterintelligence matter, and no public evidence has emerged that Mr. Trump himself secretly conspired with the Russian government or took directions from it.

Mr. Trump indicated on Saturday that he had not known of the existence of the counterintelligence investigation before the Times article, and he did not dispute the newspaper’s reporting.

But he made clear that he viewed any such inquiry as illegitimate from the start. He presented it, without evidence, as part of a vast, yearslong conspiracy to undo his presidency.

In the tweets, Mr. Trump defended his decision to fire Mr. Comey — “a total sleaze!” — at length, accusing the former director of overseeing a “rigged & botched” investigation of Mrs. Clinton, and leading the agency into “complete turmoil.” Democrats and Republicans alike wanted Mr. Comey removed, he said.

“My firing of James Comey was a great day for America,” Mr. Trump wrote. “He was a Crooked Cop.”