International Relations

Last week was a busy week in international politics, triggered by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s backward-looking speech on foreign affairs and human rights and capped with the White House conference on climate change.

Ahmadinejad’s speeches at the UN and Columbia University were filled with outlandish interpretations of world history, erroneous claims of Western aggression, and weak defenses of his terrible record on human rights and terrorist financing. His remark that there are no homosexuals in Iran was just one example of his backwards and delusional image of himself and his government’s role in the world.At least through this event the American public was able to see for itself what kind of danger this reckless man poses to the free countries of the world.

In a positive step for our country and for international relations, President Bush and other White House officials have started to move the ball forward on a real and important issue – climate change. Moving past the Kyoto Protocol, which 95 Senators (on both sides of the aisle) opposed, the Bush Administration is now looking for common ground on curbing emissions from the major industrial nations. I am particularly glad to see the message from the conference that we can take reasonable steps to curb emissions while still promoting economic development – the two goals of growth and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive. The White House conference was a positive development in the ongoing, international deliberation on this issue and I am hopeful that this group of world leaders will follow the meeting with actionable policies to make a difference in improving the environment around the globe.