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John McCain Cites Islamic State As Bigger Threat Than Climate Change

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told host Bob Schieffer on Face The Nation, the Sunday political talk show on CBS, that President Barack Obama needs to focus on the Islamic State rather than climate change.

McCain responded to a question by Schieffer on what the Obama administration could do after the fall of Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria to ISIS. He advocated for a “robust strategy” as the current one was not working:

We need to have a strategy. There is no strategy. And anybody that says that there is, I would like to hear what it is, because it certainly isn`t apparent now, and right now we are seeing these horrible — reports are now in Palmyra they`re executing people and leaving their bodies in the streets.

Meanwhile, the president of the United States is saying that the biggest enemy we have is climate change.

McCain’s reference to climate change stems from what President Obama told graduates of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on May 20 when it came to the America’s security:

Denying it, or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. It undermines the readiness of our forces.

Criticism of the Obama administration on facing ISIS by McCain is not new as, on May 21, he called the loss of Ramadi “a significant defeat” when speaking on the Senate Armed Services Committee. McCain is the chairman of the committee.

The White House admitted the fall of Ramadi was a “setback.” Yet White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters the loss of the city is a part of the “back-and-forth” military campaign.

Interestingly, when President Obama addressed the graduates on May 20, he cited Syria, a country suffering from a civil war, as an example where climate change affected the security of the nation:

Understand, climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world.  Yet what we also know is that severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram.  It’s now believed that drought and crop failures and high food prices helped fuel the early unrest in Syria, which descended into civil war in the heart of the Middle East.  So, increasingly, our military and our combatant commands, our services—including the Coast Guard—will need to factor climate change into plans and operations, because you need to be ready.

McCain, in his criticisms, does not address how climate change or extremism can be connected. Although, it is fair to say they certainly are.

The Pentagon released a report early last year highlighting how global warming could be a “threat multiplier” to potential conflicts around the world:

Climate change may exacerbate water scarcity and lead to sharp increases in food costs. The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world. These effects are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions – conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.

Aside from Syria, the bloody conflict in Darfur is an example where climate change was a cause of the turmoil where at least 300,000 people have died.

In the early 2000s, the killings waged by the Sudan government originated due to reduced crop yields, which in turn were caused by increasing desertification and reduced rainfall as found in a report by the United Nations.

It would be a mistake to assume the Islamic State and climate change are mutually exclusive. Whether any of this will be understood by lawmakers like Sen. McCain remains to be seen.

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Brandon Jordan

Brandon Jordan

Brandon Jordan is a freelance journalist in Queens, NY and written for publications such as The Nation, In These Times, Truthout and more.

  • bsbafflesbrains

    McCain would change his position completely if he and Lockheed could figure out a way to bomb climate change. McCain is now the answer to the question…When Cheney got a new heart what did they do with the old one??

  • ThingsComeUndone

    Is it just me or did McCain suddenly get hooked on appearing on tv after he ran for President? What is sad is the only way he gets on tv is arguing Obama is not Right enough about everything and this makes McCain look racist, or maybe he was always racist and losing to Obama just set him off?

  • http://blogdredd.blogspot.com/ Dredd Blog

    The military cannot defend against it (Why The Military Can’t Defend Against The Invasion).

  • Shutter

    Haven’t we seen this before? LIke every four years?

    ‘Tis the season of meaningless babble, explosively ridiculous and unprovable statements and the Mad March of the Morons tripping down the Disinformation Highway.

    Pointless bullshit intended to divert the gullible.

  • bsbafflesbrains

    It was also about that time Cheney got his heart transplant…just sayin. 🙂

  • ThingsComeUndone

    “McCain responded to a question by Schieffer on what the Obama administration could do after the fall of Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria to ISIS. He advocated for a “robust strategy” as the current one was not working:

    We need to have a strategy. There is no strategy. And anybody that says that there is, I would like to hear what it is, because it certainly isn`t apparent now, and right now we are seeing these horrible”

    Anyone else wish Obama would grow a pair and just tell Mccain off. Strategy fine here is a strategy we will raise taxes on the rich to 90% just like we did in WW2 and spend half that money on the troops the other half rebuilding America so when the war is over the troops have jobs. Next countries that win wars put their best in the front lines Genghis Khan lost his son to war, Alexander the Great his boyfriend Hephaestion if McCain, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney’s kids and the Bush twins were all on the front lines the troops would have the best of everything and our enemies in Iraq would know that if one of them were killed America WOULD follow up with everything we had. You win wars by fighting like you MEAN it not like lets do it on the cheap someone else’s kid can fight the war and someone else can pay for the war.

  • ThingsComeUndone

    “1978 – Heart attack #1 (age 37)” “He smoked heavily from ages 17-37 and ” “2000-11 – Heart attack #4” http://www.doctorzebra.com/prez/a_cheney.htm

    There is another more recent link I can dig up that says Dick had a 5th heart attack interesting thing note the time line Dick is the only guy I ever heard of who had 3 or 4 heart attacks after he quit smoking. The more recently you Smoked would lower your place on the organ transplant list I think so I think he lied about quitting smoking after the first heart attack. Either that or every smoker will wonder why bother quitting smoking if you keep having heart attacks after you quit?

  • ThingsComeUndone

    “It would be a mistake to assume the Islamic State and climate change are mutually exclusive. Whether any of this will be understood by lawmakers like Sen. McCain remains to be seen.” McCain and everyone in Washington proved over the last 10+? years they don’t know how to win a war….so why should we trust their opinions on science? Does anyone in Washington have a degree in Science ?

  • ThingsComeUndone

    I’ll believe ISIS is a threat to America when McCain is willing to pay more taxes to defeat ISIS. Same goes with the National Debt

  • jo6pac

    He most of forgotten these are his close friends he’s talking about.

    http://rt.com/news/220079-mccain-syria-visit-illegal/

  • bsbafflesbrains

    Taxpayer funded “close friends” are all McCain has these days. Best not to be his friend me thinks.

  • starrynight

    fuck you john, you had integrity with global warming. you don’t give a shit about your children’s future. resign for the future of the planet

  • starrynight

    resign. go drink blue moon from your wife’s estate. you are not a person of integrity

  • starrynight

    they own you

  • starrynight

    johnny is insane. here’s johnny

  • starrynight

    we are getting there. there will be a time for you to have to explain what you were thinking

  • starrynight

    your deep your deeply etched brow doesn’t cut it

  • Sally

    I’ve noticed they aren’t whining about the national debt any longer…

  • Bluedot

    Didn’t I just read that hundreds of people died in India from the heat. Not to worry, just bad heat spell.

  • Bluedot

    McCain was also one of those brilliant strategists who wanted to arm the moderates in Syria to go get Assad. Turned into IS.

  • stella blue

    Teddy Roosevelt had three sons in WW1. Two were injured and one was killed. Roosevelt tried to enlist, but they said he was too old. He wanted to get the rough riders back together. He was 60 years old.

  • sisterlauren

    And wasn’t all of that completely predictable?

  • jane24

    Lol!

  • ronbo

    Yet our bought-and-paid-for media gives him a podium to spout nonsense and ignores his prior errors.

  • FoonTheElder

    John McCain is a clueless politician whose career should have ended when he led the Keating S&L scandal 25 years ago.

  • Best

    Military Industrial Complex