I Spit My Last Breath at Thee


Apparently, John Bolton isn’t the only one who didn’t get the message that he’s irrelevant.
Harlan Watson, chief climate negotiator under the Bush Administration, is up to his old tricks. This time, he’s not just distorting science — he’s misrepresenting Barack Obama, dismissing prospects for progress, and ignoring the tone of his own boss, all in an official diplomatic capacity representing the United States of America.
According to a friend who’s in Poznan, Poland for this year’s conference on the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, Watson told the press that Obama’s position on getting out in front of developing countries on climate change is identical to Bush’s. He said that Obama has been “silent” on the international dimensions of climate climate change. He proclaimed that there would be no Congressional action “anytime soon.” Finally, Watson generally derided the prospects for international agreement, saying consensus on long-term targets and baseline years won’t be forthcoming.
All this despite insistence from his boss, Under Secretary of State Paula Dobriansky, that the current team plans to politely defer everything important to the next administration. Watson, who was first installed at ExxonMobil’s request, doesn’t seem to care.
Fortunately, Watson’s destructive comments are falling on deaf ears. So far, America’s partners are going right on ahead with negotiations, plodding towards an agreement for the next emissions reduction commitment period and discussing how to make the existing regime work.
This is a big week in Poznan — negotiators are cobbling together the framework for the “long term vision,” which may contain a global emissions goal for the principals to negotiate next week. I understand that Ban-Ki Moon is also scheduled to appear. But in the meanwhile, a loose cannon is firing. Hopefully the damage can be controlled.
Stay tuned — more to come.
— Scott Paul


9 comments on “I Spit My Last Breath at Thee

  1. dano says:

    Reading this post I remembered the recent video of Bush at a big international summit meeting when he walked out on stage to join the other leaders and nobody shook his hand. I would assume Watson gets the same treatment even if he hadn’t made statements like this.


  2. kotzabasis says:

    Scott Paul in his assessment of Obama’s position on climate change will be found to be completely wrong, and Harlan Watson’s press statement will be fully justified.
    The Rudd government in Australia with its nominally strong position on climate change is already watering down this position. Penny Wong, the Minister of Climate Change who attended the Poznan Conference on her return to Australia is already hinting at a weakening of the government’s projections of emissions reduction. And the Obama administration will also do the same.
    It’s Scott Paul who will be “irrelevant” and not John Bolton, the Moby Dick of American politics.


  3. Scott Paul says:

    When I wrote this post I definitely had Montalban’s voice in my
    head, but the quote is originally from Moby Dick.


  4. YY says:

    Speaking of N Korea, they should keep Chris Hill on as he seems competent and serious.


  5. Steven jackson says:

    John Bolton, irrelevant?
    What has W. christopher done in Nkorea that amounts to a damn?
    The Nkoreans play him like a fiddle and he assumes the position willingly.
    Just like it ever was. If you can’t fix it hide it behind technicalities. Obfuscate the facts and hope it goes away. John Bolton did not ignore the facts and became inconvienient.
    The Nkoreans could not play him so they played chicken. Thus the failed nuclear tests and all the other hubris that upset the little state department minds who run scurrying like little cockroaches trying to appease, so as not to be squashed by their beauracracies appointed apparaticeks, who are the pawns of the politically correct in washington.
    Do I make myself scathingly clear?
    It is to laugh.


  6. ToddinHB says:

    About that title… isn’t that a quote from Ricardo Montalban (as Khan) in Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan?


  7. Cato says:

    As long as reactionaries go unpunished for their misdeeds, they will continue to engage in them. They damn near managed to bring the whole world down around our ears (two losing land wars in Asia and a financial crisis worse than anything since the Great Depression) and virtually everyone of them will walk away without a scratch, wealthy, and still welcomed in academia, think tanks, and government. What motive do they have for NOT engaging in behavior like Watson’s? The answer is that they know they can act with impunity because their opponents are submissive punks. Letting Joe Lieberman go without even a slap on the wrist is a perfect example of this. You advocating for corrupt apparatchiks like Grover Norquist and war criminals like Colin Powell is yet another. Washington specifically and the nation at large generally is primarily run by a corrupt, dysfunctional caste of highly-educated, highly paid people who all have their collective heads up their asses and care for nothing but preserving the power and influence of that caste. Until we learn to disregard them, or even more positively actively castigate and excoriate them, chances for progress are slight.


  8. Bil says:

    EXCELLENT Title Steve! May I steal it for my first book? With
    Oh what a beautiful day, Obama fires ALL Bush-appointed fund-
    raisers, I mean Ambassadors!


  9. JohnH says:

    Thanks for pointing out the direct link between Watson and Exxon. Unfortunately, voices like Watson’s and the neo-conmen will not be silenced for long, because immense wealth backs them.
    The only way that we’ll have a return sane policies is to expose the military-energy-media complex. Then the American people can force already bought politicians to change their stripes and return the country to a more purely capitalist system–one without enormous concentration of wealth and power.


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