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I asked our team to pause for family time this week before kids return to school. The homepage is updated daily. The Digest returns on Monday, August 2. —Mark Alexander

Aug. 15, 2014

The World Is Burning, Kerry Says, but the Problem Is the Weather

The secretary of weather doesn’t worry about world chaos, he worries about warming.

Secretary of State John Kerry wants us to believe that, with America facing resurgent terrorist networks in the Middle East, a porous southern border awash with illegal immigrants, and Russian expansionism, the worst threat on our radar is the weather.

“Climate change is here now. It’s happening, happening all over the world,” Kerry warned in a speech at the East-West Center in Hawaii after his return from a recent Asia trip, his sixth in 18 months as secretary. Climate change is “the biggest challenge of all that we face right now.”

Really? Bigger than ISIL committing genocide in Iraq and on the verge of toppling its government? Bigger than the deadly Ebola outbreak in Africa? Bigger than Russia’s attempts to rebuild its former Soviet empire in Eurasia? Bigger than Israel’s struggle with Hamas? Kerry’s priorities are bizarrely skewed.

The secretary of weather did speak briefly about America’s so-called pivot toward Asia, attempting to reassure those in attendance that the continent remains a priority of American foreign policy despite the chaos in the Middle East. Then his record skipped right back to his favorite topic, noting that climate change was a key area where the U.S. and China can work together. “No two nations can have a greater impact of influence on this debate or this challenge than China and the United States,” he said, noting his discussion of fuel efficiency standards and carbon reduction with Chinese officials.

The Chinese must have thought Kerry quite the summer daisy. They’ve been spending gobs of money to revitalize their military in recent years, while steadily putting military and political pressure on Taiwan and provoking territorial tussles with Japan. They also continue to manipulate their currency on the open market. But all John Kerry wants to talk about is deforestation. If that’s what’s foremost on the American secretary of state’s mind, it’s little wonder the U.S. is losing respect overseas.

This burst of hot air isn’t Kerry’s first. Going back to February, he referred to climate change as “another weapon of mass destruction, perhaps even the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.” And throughout his tenure, he has trumpeted the line so popular with climateers the world over: “The science is unequivocal.” Except it’s not.

Science is about debate, research and discovery. Once someone starts insisting there is no need for further research, or that the science is “settled,” they are no longer acting in the name of science. They are acting in the name of politics and are as close-minded as they accuse their opponents of being. While honest scientists may disagree with one another and debate their findings, they don’t call each other names and attempt to bully each other into submission.

Kerry’s overheated view of the world contrasts sharply with recently retired Defense Intelligence Agency chief Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. A 33-year Army veteran, Flynn served as DIA director for a rocky two years before being asked to leave a year earlier than expected this April. During his tenure, Flynn observed a reactionary policy on the part of the White House in which senior advisers were more prone to act based on news headlines than by trying to drill down to the root issues behind developing crises around the world.

In an exit interview with BreakingDefense.com, Flynn discussed the real issues of concern for the U.S. “We are in a period of prolonged societal conflict that is pretty unprecedented,” he said. “In 2004, there were 21 total Islamic terrorist groups spread out in 18 countries. Today, there are 41 Islamic terrorist groups spread out in 24 countries.” This inconvenient truth runs completely counter to the Obama administration’s claim that terrorism is on the wane, and it may speak volumes about why Flynn was asked to leave his post a year early.

Flynn spent several years interrogating terrorist suspects and studying intelligence on their attempts to gain weapons of mass destruction. He understands what a real threat to American national security is – and it isn’t the weather. “When asked if the terrorists were defeated, we had to say ‘no,’” he said. In fact, “Anyone who answers ‘yes’ … either doesn’t know what they are talking about, they are misinformed, or they are flat out lying.”

Or, like John Kerry, they have their heads in the clouds.

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