12 December 2017   Leave a comment

French President Macron delivered a very somber speech to the delegates at the One Planet Summit, predicting that some of the delegates “in 50, 60 or 100 years, won’t have countries to govern” because climate change will have wiped some of them off the map.  There were few US officials at the summit, but there were many Americans who occupy former posts in the US government and many American business leaders, all of whom suggested that support for the summit’s objectives remain strong in many important US constituencies.  The Los Angeles Times also indicated that some countries were willing to compensate for the US absence:

“Macron awarded 18 climate scientists, most of them based in the U.S., multimillion-euro grants to relocate to France for the rest of Trump’s term. The ‘Make Our Planet Great Again’ grants are part of Macron’s efforts to counter Trump on the climate change front. Macron announced a contest for the projects in June, hours after Trump declared he would withdraw the U.S. from the climate accord.”

US scientists indicated that many of them are concerned that their work will not be supported by the current US government and were grateful to France for its support. Unfortunately, the global efforts to combat climate change still fall short of the necessary objectives, and that “of the 32 countries responsible for about 80% of greenhouse gas emissions, 24 had set insufficient targets, and the majority of them would not achieve even those.”


Russia has declared victory in Syria and announced that most, but not all, Russian forces will be leaving the country.  Russian President Putin then left Syria to visit Egypt and Turkey to discuss future military collaboration and weapons sales.  While the US still has a very strong presence in the Middle East, there is little question that Russia has regained a strong foothold in the region, reminiscent of its former active role in the 1950s and 1960s.   US President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will create additional space for Russian influence in many Arab states which will find it more difficult to accept the US’s role as an active opponent of Palestinian aspirations.  The Pew Research Centerpolling evidence which supports the idea that Russia has gained greater influence in the Middle East has .


The Council on Foreign Relations conducts an annual poll of US government officials and foreign policy experts about their concerns for the upcoming year.  The report for 2018, “Preventive Priorities Survey: 2018”,  is a handy-dandy catalog of things to worry about over the next year. Paul Stares, the director of CFR’s Center for Preventive Action, which produces the annual survey has an interesting insight into the most worrisome issue for next year:

“The U.S. is now the most unpredictable actor in the world today, and that has caused profound unease. You used to be able to pretty much put the U.S. to one side and hold it constant, and look at the world and consider where the biggest sources of unpredictability, insecurity are. Now you have to include the U.S. in that. … No one has high confidence how we [Americans] would react in any given situation, given how people assess this president.”

I find it hard to disagree with that assessment.

Posted December 12, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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