So far most of the critical discussion about Chuck Hagel for SecDef is that he said mean things about homosexuals, or is hostile to Israel, if not in fact anti-Semitic. So far I’m curious that people on the Left in particular are forgetting Hagel’s key role in derailing the egregious Kyoto Protocol in its infancy. He was the key person behind the “Byrd-Hagel” resolution in the Senate in 1997 denouncing the Kyoto treaty in the draft form that existed at the time. The Byrd-Hagel resolution was essentially a missile aimed at the Clinton administration that said Don’t even think of bringing this crap treaty to the Senate if it doesn’t include India and China. It passed by a vote of 97 – 0; think of who was included in that vote for this to happen—such prominent “climate deniers” as Babs Boxer and John Kerry.
Al Gore went off to Kyoto at the 11th hour to beg for some kind of fig leaf he could take back to the Senate, but was sent packing with no concession at all. (The Chinese, I am told by permanent State Department staff who were in the room, were especially blunt, asking Gore: “We don’t understand you Americans. Do you expect us to be poor forever?”) The rest, as they say, is history. As we noted here the other day, the Kyoto farce is now dead in everything but name only.
I wonder what Al Gore thinks of this nomination? (He’s probably too busy counting his new Arab oil millions. Heh.) I wonder if the environmentalists will say something cross about Hagel. Not everyone on the Left has forgotten this. The Daily Kos Kids have their knickers bunched up at least:
But it’s important to consider his entire career in making such a choice — including Hagel’s fierce and tragically successful efforts to kill the Kyoto climate treaty in the U.S. Senate.
Hagel was a Congressional observer in Kyoto during the negotiations over the landmark climate change treaty in 1997. His position on Kyoto was never ambiguous: “We will kill this if the president signs it.” Or as he put it a few years later, in over-the-top language in support of the Bush administration’s limp approach to the issue:
“The Kyoto Protocol would have eliminated millions of jobs in America. It would have driven our economy downward. It would have eliminated opportunities for investment, such as clean energy technology, in developing countries. It would have driven a stake through any hope of prosperity for America. . .”
Is all of this disqualifying? . . . The U.S Defense Department has a larger environmental footprint than any organization on the planet. It also must, to be truly strategic and forward-looking, incorporate climate change into all of its planning. . .
Will Defense Secretary Hagel rein in these efforts as getting ahead of the “free market”? Will he kill efforts to incorporate climate change in DOD strategic planning because the science is “uncertain”? Will he be a voice in White House debates to continue the tradition to which he has so substantially contributed, of the US doing nothing but delay, delay, delay getting serious about this global threat?
All of these questions need to be asked, both by those considering Hagel’s nomination, and those who may be asked to approve it. Because we cannot afford any more delay in tackling climate change, and anyone who counsels such must be simply and completely pushed out of the way.
This could be more fun than I thought. If liberal Senators don’t ask about this, I hope some Republicans will, just for the discomfort it will cause on the Left.