23 March 2017   2 comments

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change plots out a path to limit global temperature increases due to human activity to no more than 2°C, and aspires to a 1.5°C increase.  The objective is incredibly important, but few are aware of the necessary steps to meet it.  The Agreement calls for dramatic decreases in CO2 emissions, changes in land use from agriculture to reforestation, and as-yet untested technologies for removing CO2 from the atmosphere.  The chart below gives an idea of when these three steps need to be realized.  Given how dramatic these steps are, it is hard to explain why policy makers are not moving more aggressively to protect the global environment.


US President Trump issued a draft executive order last January that would reduce US contributions to the UN by 40%.  Such a significant cut would cripple most of the UN’s activities and it is difficult to imagine other countries picking up the slack.  It is also not clear how such a cutback would serve US national interests given that US interests would abide even in the absence of a UN presence.  The most immediate effect would be to mute the American voice in global affairs.

The US military has a truly global presence with troops deployed in 177 countries.  In many respects, much of this global presence is symbolic but it requires 800 military bases abroad and requires very large sums of money to maintain.  There are no real competitors to the US in terms of global reach;  most other countries are genuinely regional powers.


Chart: U.S. Military Personnel Deployments by Country

Posted March 23, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

2 responses to “23 March 2017

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  1. I’ve long been an admirer of the U.S. security forces, although I know very little about the responsibility of different divisions. I noticed though that unlike divisions like the CIA or the FBI, military doesn’t get mentioned as often in public media such as literatures and movies as part of the secrecy services. I don’t know why is that so but I think any division would be just as admirable if it’s contributing critically to the overall security forces.Am I right?


    • The American military is the bedrock of American security, much more so than the intelligence services. I have a tremendous respect for the US military–it has conducted itself very well despite being given some impossible missions.


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