The President has a large agenda in the final year of his office, yet much of it is beyond reach, for example, doing anything about ISIS problem in the Middle East, nor dealing with Russia’s intentions in Ukraine, nor defusing a nuclear-armed North Korea. Therefore, he aims to make climate change his chief international pursuit.

1. President’s new top priority: climate change

2. An aggressive stance on climate change

Buoyed by the success of his nuclear deal with Iran, President Barack Obama is preparing to move aggressively on other long-delayed priorities, including a major climate change summit this winter and his elusive quest to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

The National Security Council’s directorate of strategic planning has been quietly building an agenda of action items for the closing year of Obama’s presidency, in a White House that sees its work as far from complete, administration officials say.

“We have no intention of resting on our laurels,” said one senior administration official. “We have an ambitious foreign policy agenda that we’ll continue to pursue aggressively throughout the remainder of [the] fourth quarter of the administration.”

An international climate summit kicks off at the end of November in Paris, where Obama hopes to find agreement on meaningful new limits on carbon gases.

“The last 16 months actually can be very important not only for this president’s legacy, but for setting up the next president’s administration,” said Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who is close to Obama foreign policy officials.

And although the White House been working on a new plan to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, a key promise from Obama’s 2008 campaign, it has been bedeviled by old obstacles, including political resistance to the transfer of detainees from Cuba onto U.S. soil.

Katulis said he does not expect Obama to take aggressive new steps in the Middle East, where top officials remain deeply skeptical about their ability to shape events constructively.

“After seven years, you get a sense they understand that the lesson is that things are easier said than done,” Katulis said, citing two failed efforts to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. via Politico

 

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