Day: November 24, 2020

Background Briefing: November 24, 2020


Biden’s Signal that Climate Change is a National Security Issue

We begin with the choice of former Secretary of State John Kerry to be Biden’s special envoy on climate change as well as a member of his National Security Council in a clear signal that the incoming administration sees climate change as a national security issue. Joining us is Jody Freeman, the Archibald Cox Professor at Harvard Law School and the founding director of the Law School’s Environmental Law and Policy Program and the author with Michael Gerrard of Global Climate Change and U.S. Law who also served as Counselor for Energy and Climate Change in the Obama White House. We discuss the daunting challenge to make up for the lost Trump years given we are fast approaching the point of no return is addressing global warming before it is too late, and the need to repair the international damage from the U.S. walking away from the Paris Accords which John Kerry helped negotiate.


Is the Pullout From the Open Skies Treaty Trump’s Parting Gift to Putin?

Then we look into what could be a parting gift to Putin as Trump formalizes the U.S. pullout from the Open Skies Treaty with the added insult of tying Biden’s hands by destroying the aircraft used to fly over foreign countries to detect preparations for war and violations of arms control treaties. Kingston Reif, the Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy at the Arms Control Association, where his work focuses on nuclear disarmament, deterrence, and arms control, joins us to discuss the folly of tearing up treaties as we shoot ourselves in the foot to punish Russia.


Could Biden Set a New Course With Russia?

Then finally we assess the possibility that Biden will not necessarily follow the punitive policies toward Russia enacted by Obama or the mixed signals from Trump but instead could set a new course of diplomatic engagement with Putin. Joining us is Matthew Rojansky, the director of the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Center who is an expert on U.S. relations with the states of the former Soviet Union, especially Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova and has advised governments and intergovernmental organizations on conflict resolution and efforts to enhance shared security.  He joins us to discuss his op-ed at CNN, “Joe Biden’s oncoming headache over Vladimir Putin.”