Friday, April 7, 2023


 While the Russia/Ukraine war dominates the news there are significant events occurring in other regions and in today's highly integrated world, these events have links to the Ukrainian conflict and to the related and larger power evolutions between Russia, China, and the United States.

For decades the U.S has had a positive relationship with two important though quite different nations in the volatile Middle East. Israel has survived four major conflicts with Arab states and a continuous conflict with Palestinian militias and terrorist groups, all with U.S. assistance. Israel is the only western style  democracy in the region. Its' highly efficient military, superior intelligence apparatus and thriving free market economy, serve as an important counter weight in an often unstable and conflictual neighborhood.  

Since the end of World War II and the rapid exploitation of the enormous crude oil reserves in the area of the Arabian peninsula, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been a key player in the politics of the region.  First granted diplomatic recognition by the U.S. in 1940, American oil companies stepped in to develop Saudi Arabia's oil when the Kingdom lacked the technical expertise and investment capital to do it internally.  Since then a mutually beneficial diplomatic, security and economic relationship has been a staple of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.  Saudi Arabia has been supportive during the Cold War years (1947-1991), and the post Iran revolution (1979) establishment of the anti-West Iranian  Islamic Republic. 

In spite of the long history of cooperation, the Kingdom has maintained a level of independence and occasional opposition to U.S. regional policies especially with relation to  U.S. support for Israel.  During the Arab/Israeli "Yom Kippur war" in 1973, U.S. support for Israel resulted in a Saudi led oil embargo on the U.S. which quadrupled oil prices and led President Jimmy Carter to declare that access to international oil markets was a "vital" U.S. security interest and the embargo was tantamount to economic warfare.  This episode, although occurring fifty years ago, is demonstrative of the cautious "fence sitting" need that the Saudi leadership has followed through the years do to its' position in a volatile region of Islamic fundamentalism, and ambitious authoritarian leaders. 

Saudia Arabia is home and "protector" of the two most important of Islam's holiest sites, Mecca, the birthplace of Islam's founder the Prophet Mohammed and the location of the Ka'ba', a small structure purported .to be a mosque built by Abraham, a foundational figure in the history of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The city of Medina, is Mohammed's  burial place.  

As such, although the Kingdom practices and enforces a fundamentalist approach to Islam, called Wahhabism and adherence to Koranic Shariah theocratic law, Saudi Arabia's friendly relationship with the U.S. and European states has created tensions with other fundamentalist Islamic groups in both of Islam's major sects, the Shi'a and Sunni theocracies. Iran, a Shi'a dominated nation, has been particularly hostile to the Saudi government and has been a regional rival since Iran's Islamic revolution. 

U.S. administrations have tried to keep Saudi Arabia and its' huge oil production and reserves out of the Soviet/Russian sphere of influence and protect it as a counter balance to Iran's regional ambitions.  Thus Saudi Arabia has been a major customer of  American made military equipment for many years.

Consequently, the U.S./Saudi relationship has been one of supporting mutual interests while realistically acknowledging and accepting as necessary, differences in culture and perceptions of regional threats and the proper responses to those threats. The diplomatic reality and context of U.S. relations with the Kingdom is that Saudi Arabia is not a constitutional democratic republic.  It is a hereditary, theocratic, autocratic monarchy. 

The U.S. Saudi relationship has suffered since the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign when then Democrat candidate Joe Biden promising to build "the most progressive administration since FDR" engaged in unrehearsed "shoot from the lip" one liners, first promising to "shut down the major American oil and gas companies" as part of his new environmental crusader image with the obvious implied threats to the international fossil fuel industry as whole which represents the majority of the Saudi national income.  Shortly after his election to President,  Biden decided to play the role of leading international critic of the Saudi regime. One issue was the Saudi Arabia's involvement in the civil war in Yemen which borders the Kingdom on the south.  The Saudi Air Force had been flying missions against the Houthi insurgents, a Shi'a client group of Iran trying to overthrow the Yemeni government. The war was devastating to the Yemeni civilian population but instead of assuming a diplomatic role of trying to sponsor negotiations to end the conflict Biden decided to take sides. The fact that the U.S. was supplying the weapons the Saudi Air Force was deploying became an issue for the American political Left which of course ignored the role of the insurgency in the war, or Saudi Arabia's security interests in the conflict on their border. President Biden declared:  "I would like to make it very clear, we are not going to in fact, sell more weapons to them (Saudi Arabia). "I will end the sale of materiel where they are going in and murdering children" 

Biden then decided to return to an incident in which a Saudi journalist who was a critic of the Saudi government was murdered in 2018,  The journalist, Jamal Kashoggi was a Saudi citizen, and political opinion contributor to regional journals and to the Washington Post. Kashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.  Because he had been a critic of the Saudi government it was generally assumed that Saudi officials were behind the murder. It was later reported in the U.S. that CIA officials had confirmed that theory.  For some reason, newly elected President Biden decided to make the incident a political cause celebre' and implied that the de facto head of the Saudi government, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmin had given the order for the assassination.  

The long history of Saudi/American cooperation then took a further plunge when Biden made series of politically arbitrary public statements that seemed not to be the product of any consultation with experienced State Department officials.  

"We are going to in fact make them pay the price and make them in fact the pariah that they are."

"There is very little social redeeming value in the present government in Saudi Arabia."  He then imposed sanctions on high ranking Saudi intelligence officials.

Mohammed bin Salman, at 37 years of age and the Crown Prince and son of the aging King  with essentially absolute powers, will be an important player in the critical Middle East region and in the world for future decades because of Saudi Arabia's dominant role in the OPEC-Plus 13 member oil cartel which produces 37% of the world's oil. President Bidens's extraordinary insults had demonstrated a kind of morally superior attitude and when speaking of the government of Saudi Arabia they were clearly directed at it's leader. Biden, if indeed he knew what he was doing, was speaking to his domestic progressive political core but has struck a serious blow to an eighty-three year cooperative relationship with an important ally. 

Biden quickly was forced to confront reality as oil prices soared with the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  Facing political opposition at the price of gasoline at the pump in the U.S. he naively  elected to make several phone calls to bin Salman to ask him to use his influence in OPEC to increase oil production in order to lower prices.  Understandably as the "pariah" and "murderer of children" and "lack of socially redeeming values " the Crown Prince and head of the Saudi government, refused to take the calls.  Biden then made an embarrassing trip "hat in hand" trip to Saudi Arabia in July, 2022 to personally ask for an increase in oil production and was summarily rebuffed.

The damaged relationship with Saudi Arabia has since had wider implications.  Saudi Arabia has not joined in the U.S. led economic sanctions program against Russia nor has it publicly condemned Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.  In March of this year, China brokered a return of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and its' long time foe Iran, giving China another step forward in its' influence in the region, as the U.S. role diminishes.

In April of this year Saudi Arabia led several key members of the OPEC Plus cartel in a surprise announcement to cut oil production in May, 2023, by 1.2 million barrels per day.  The Kingdom and Russia (the Plus in the cartel) will each cut production by half a million barrels per day to raise prices. In addition Saudi Arabia announced an agreement to supply refineries in China with 690 thousand barrels of oil per day.  

But the diplomacy challenged Biden wasn't through reducing the influence of the U.S. in the Middle East.   The new conservative government in Israel, the major ally of the U.S. in the region since its' creation as a state in 1948, announced significant changes in the Israeli judicial system which would give the conservative controlled parliament the Knesset, powers to appoint members of the Supreme Court and even to overrule Court decisions.  Such changes of course would if applied for the U.S. would upset the vital Constitutional "separation of powers" fundamental to U.S. democracy so they were a shocking proposal even in a democratic ally. The proposals did predictably stimulate significant public protests in Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has since delayed the planned changes but the issue remains a highly controversial possibility.  

President Biden, who claims to have known Netanyahu for decades, attempted to lecture him publicly about the "threat to democracy" he was imposing.  That of course is true as an independent judiciary is vital to the democratic process to avoid concentration of powers.  But the issue is an internal one and will be settled politically within the Israeli system. In parliamentary systems, Prime Ministers and their cabinets are much more vulnerable to dismissal than in the U.S. presidential system.  They need not be impeached and removed they simply need to lose support of a majority in the parliament and be subject to a vote of lack of "confidence" which would require a resignation or a new election.  That procedure has given Israel five elections in the last four years.  Biden's intervention and public judgements along with his terse statement that Netanyahu would not be invited to the White House in the "near term", did not help Netanyahu and he responded as would be expected by pointing out that Israel is a sovereign nation and governed by its' citizens and not outside nations.  A member of Netanyahu's cabinet made it even clearer when he stated that "Israel was not another star on the American flag."  Still, Biden seems personally offended by how Netanyahu and his far Right coalition government is running their nation.  Part of it might be the members of the government's outright hostility to the Palestinians in the Israeli controlled West Bank and the apparent complete loss of any possible negotiation for a Palestinian State in that territory.  That was President Obama's stated position when Biden was his Vice President and Netanyahu was also then the Prime Minister of Israel.  But with Biden's loss of influence with Saudi Arabia, a similar move by Israel away from the U.S. would be seriously damaging to U.S. interests.  Iran has not diminished its' hatred for the "Great Satan" U.S  and is still pursuing nuclear weapons.  Hamas, the terrorist local government of Gaza has not given up its' goal of "wiping Israel off the map", Hezbollah, the Iranian supported Shi'a terrorist militia which controls Lebanon and is intervening in support of Syria' dictator Assad in that country's civil war, and the remnants of the Islamic State terrorist group all remain major threats to the region.  The U.S needs Israel and Saudi Arabia as well as clearer heads in Washington. Unfortunately, if the current trends in play for the 2024 presidential election hold true and a replay of the 2020 election is in store, clearer heads will be in short supply no matter the outcome. 





Sunday, March 5, 2023


This February, 2023 the international media and some independent political groups took notice of the First anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, indeed some groups labeled rallies in support of Ukraine as "celebrations".  What would be cause for "celebration" could only be the fact that Ukraine's armed forces had successfully blocked the previously anticipated  quick victory and occupation of Ukraine's major cities by  numerically superior Russian forces. 

Much credit is deserved by the vigor and leadership of Ukraine's army but the rapid and significant dispatch of military aid to Ukraine by the U.S. and European allies was the essential component of the successful resistance up to date.

Now after one year of heavy fighting and what appears to be close to a prolonged stalemate in geographical control, voices in the U.S., still the primary donor of military equipment, are questioning the projection of the need for more billions of dollars in a "policy without a strategy" and a fundamental "lack of a threat to vital American interests" to justify it. 

While these criticisms as yet are coming from a relatively small group of conservative media figures and members of the more conservative wing of Republican Party in Congress, they will surely grow in the face of a prolonged continuation of hostilities and the prospect of continued significant costly military aid to Ukrainian forces. While some of the criticism is surely stimulated automatically by partisan political opposition, Biden opens the door with the grandiosity of his justification for the America's role in the conflict, describing it in terms of America's moral duty and responsibility for a kind of permanent post-cold war Pax Americana based on America's special "values" and enforced by world wide military superiority. This sounds more like proselytizing than policy and is the concept which underlaid the prolonged and unsuccessful wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with their failed democracy building efforts. Applying it now in relation to the Ukraine war deemphasizes the more basic political/security threats to the region which justify intervention. 

The criticisms, as described above while worthy of debate, ignore or reject the broader and more long-lasting consequences of an abandonment and collapse of Ukraine's independence and Russia's, under Putin's leadership, ability to upset the Post Cold War international security framework, especially as it relates to the entirety of Europe. America's vital security interests are tied to those of Europe, specifically by joint membership in NATO and indirectly by its' economic interdependence with the 27 members of the European Union, 21 of whom are also NATO members.

Critics of continued efforts to defeat Putin's expansionist and revanchist policies should first contemplate what the results would have been, and now would be, if the U.S. and its' European allies stood aside a year ago when the Russian invasion began.  What would be the threat level and political future of other of the former Soviet Republics, similarly at a significant military disadvantage with Russia?  The tiny Baltic nations of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia, former Soviet Republics like Ukraine and with borders on both Russia and Byelorussia, an authoritarian client state of Russia, would be indefensible without a full credible commitment by NATO, to which they belong but which would suffer from a lack of credibility if even non-NATO member Ukraine were allowed to fall to Russian aggression.  The threat and political instability would include larger Eastern European states like Poland, a NATO member, and Finland, long a Cold War neutral with a Russian border but now an EU member and NATO applicant along with Sweden who now see the new Russian expansionism as a genuine threat.

A new Cold War emphasized by the memories of the Soviet intrusion and suppression of the reformist movement in Czechoslovakia in 1948 and the similar intervention into Hungary's effort to democratize in 1956 would be the probable result.

The impact on other potential aggressors by a failure of U.S./European reaction to blatant aggression is difficult to predict with certainty, but China has clearly stated its' intention to force democratic/capitalist Taiwan into its' control and Iran, currently pursuing nuclear weapons state status, has pursued regional power aspirations in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen and remains a fundamentally hostile adversary to both Saudi Arabia and Israel. 

Of course, the U.S. is not operating as a solitary actor, although it is by far the largest contributor of both military and humanitarian aid.  Nonetheless, from a political point of view, it is important that there is near total support among European nations for the transfer of weapons to Ukraine.  The principal nations with the largest militaries and economies, UK, France, and Germany are all NATO members and contributors. This is an extraordinary level of unanimity in support of a major military intervention even without introduction of combat units and reliance on U.S. leadership is clearly a priority.

Nonetheless, from the security/strategy side, realistic expectations should be recognized. There is no realistic expectation that Ukraine can "win" this war in the conventional meaning of the term. Putin cannot accept defeat in military terms as that would erode his political support and end his status as leader of Russia.  The disparity in size of population and related military forces are simply too much in Putin's favor to provide a clear-cut military victory for Ukraine. The population of Russia is over 144 million and the current ground forces available to Putin number around 360,000 with another 300,000 in reserves; this, compared to Ukraine's population of 44.5 million and @ 242,000 active duty and reserve ground forces.  Putin also can, and has, utilized the military draft to replace and enhance his ground troops as needed.  Even though the Russian military so far in the conflict has demonstrated a lack of professionalism and effective leadership as well as poor tactical decision making, the sheer weight of numbers and Putin's willingness to callously sacrifice large numbers of undertrained troops, will deny a classic "defeat" and expulsion from all of Ukraine's territory.

The situation now is essentially predictable stalemate. Tactical victories and retreats swing back and forth.  Unable to secure large portions of Ukraine's territory, Putin seems to be planning a large-scale offensive sometime this Spring.  In the meantime, he has turned to what might be described as a "war of attrition" which focuses on destruction of domestic targets and infrastructure in hopes of demoralizing the populace and Ukraine's' government to the point of their seeking a negotiated settlement in Russia's favor.  Since there is yet no sign of that happening and if Ukraine successfully resists any major Spring offensive, the prospect of at least another year of conflict seems probable.  The question then remains as to how much pain either side is willing to accept before the willingness to negotiate a ceasefire and end the war seems like the only course left. Ukrainian President Zelensky remains defiant and is willing to fight on as long as he continues to receive the necessary military aid from the U.S and European nations.  

Thus, the final outcome whenever it comes, looks like an eventual series of difficult negotiations sponsored by a neutral party such as India.  Compromises will have to be made by both parties.  Zelensky's demand that Russia return control of all occupied territory is unrealistic and is intended to bolster his citizen's resolve to keep fighting.  He may as well be looking ahead and establishing a negotiating position from which he can make concessions to the inevitable without giving up anything beforehand.  It is almost a certainty the Putin will not return control of Crimea to Ukraine, a territory home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet, which was taken with little resistance from Ukraine in 2014.  The future of territories in southeast Ukraine currently under control or contested by Russian backed militias and falsely declared a self-governing territory by Putin are probably also likely to be candidates for permanent loss to Ukraine. Putin will have to be given enough to "declare victory" and withdraw to preserve his political status. Zelensky will have to be assured that the geographical and political integrity of most of Ukraine is guaranteed for the future.  Putin is also likely to demand that international economic sanctions imposed on Russia be eliminated.  Sanctioning countries led by the U.S. will have to require that sanctions be lifted in stages as Russia complies with all the negotiated terms of the peace agreement.

All of this scenario could fall apart with significant Russian military victories or significant reductions in aid to Ukraine's armed forces. Also, it is impossible to know what is in Putin's head; how many risks he is willing to take with escalation of the conflict, or with unexpected Russian domestic opposition to the war by influential civilians or alienated senior military officers.  He is the great unknown quantity in any resolution of the war.


Saturday, February 18, 2023


 The new balance of power in the U.S. Congress brought about by the 2022 mid-term elections giving the Republican Party a small majority, changes the previous framework for the numerous challenges facing the nation in the next two years of the Biden administration .   

Inflation and related supply chain shortages, the lingering and possible resurgence of the Covid pandemic, the debate and implementation of environmental policies, the continued need worldwide for fossil fuels while alternatives continue their projected decades long development and replacement strategies, the profound economic disruptions and international security concerns over the Russia/Ukraine war, Middle East conflict related to Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate, NATO expansion, the progression of a Cold War like relationship with China and it's expansionist policies in the  South China Sea and towards Taiwan are just some of the serious international challenges that impact the domestic welfare of the U.S.  

All of these issues will demand Presidential and Congressional scrutiny, and funding for some purposes.  With the nation and the Congress divided, the next two years will demand focus, hard work, cooperation, and leadership by both the President and congressional leaders of both parties.

Unfortunately, the difference between "politics" and "policy" influences the agendas and adds intensity to the existing partisan and ideological chasms that block progress on the vital issues.  While all "policies" are inherently political, not all "politics" reflect the acceptance of current political reality with respect to the creation of policy.  Thus, these issues, which are driven and exploited by media, many of which are identified as "social" or battles in the "culture war", have become distractions and conflicts on a personal level that punish political cooperation by legislators on the important policy requirements that can't be ignored.

A reality check is important on the political agenda and the more important issues currently in dispute. 

Perhaps the most divisive issue on a national level is access to abortion.  While settled law for fifty years under the protection of the 1973 Supreme Court's "Roe vs. Wade" decision.  The current Supreme Court's 6-3 majority overturned Roe and found that no Constitutional protection for the right to an abortion existed and that the issue should be decided by law on a state level. That is the new reality with respect to the issue.

 However, one non-state level remedy remains.  Since the Supreme Court found no constitutional protection, nor prohibition, of abortion, a federal protection for abortion could be passed as law by the Congress and signed by the President.  A federal prohibition of abortion could also be passed by Congress and the President.  However, once again political reality overcomes potential policy as the Republican controlled House of Representatives will never pass such protective legislation and a Democrat controlled Senate and White House will never pass prohibition. 

No amount of marches, protests, opinion pieces, or political grandstanding by politicians or activist groups on either side will change this. Thus the battle will be fought out in all fifty state legislatures and courts. Some states have already moved on this issue. The total result so far is a mix of standards, limitations and for some, all or no restrictions at all.  Ironically, what is essentially an irreconcilable conflict between religion and ideology on a personal level, has achieved a type of compromise on a national level as different state's,  when considered together, offer the whole range of abortion legislation. Until the political make up of the Congress and Presidency reflects a more unified position enabling federal law to decide the issue, the U.S. Congress and the President should move on and not let this single issue further obstruct the need for bipartisan federal policy cooperation on other major issues. 

Gun control:

Mass shootings across the country have heightened an existing sense of despair and insecurity making the issues of gun control a prominent political/policy debate.  This is not a new development as the debate rages after each deadly event, especially in the more heinous cases of school shootings, and then seems to retreat into the political background as the familiar pros and cons of possible responses are repeated.  

The reality of the situation is daunting but often ignored in the debates which have a prominent place on social media and various commentary venues.  First, gun "control" to some means significant reduction of numbers. However, most estimates of the number of guns in private hands exceed the entire three hundred and thirty-five million persons in the entire nation. Then there is the problem of not knowing who all these possessors of firearms are. Then of course there is the issue of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which Supreme Court majorities, past, and especially present, have interpreted, not without controversy, to deny most restrictions on ownership or transport i.e. "carry", of guns of most types. 

The best answer is to change the debate from what other smaller population nations with significantly different gun cultures have done with respect to confiscation, "buy backs", severe restrictions on ownership and severe restrictions on acquisition, and do what is possible through compromise no matter how imperfect in the views of either side. Criminal gun use comes in many forms and a "one size fits all" response is inappropriate. Federal law currently prohibits hand gun sales to anyone under twenty-one years of age. Since mass shootings at schools have been exclusively committed by young men who were students, former students or troubled  young individuals living in or near the school's community, and these shooters have seemed to favor the use of semi-automatic, large magazine "assault style" rifles, it would be a common sense policy to impose the same age restriction on the purchase of those types of weapons as hand guns.  There should be no expectation however, that such a restriction would have a significant impact on the number of other incidents in which these types of weapons are used. 

Banning the manufacture or sale of these types of rifles is a political challenge but not necessarily a political impossibility, as such a ban was passed before and lasted ten years before dying from a "sunset" provision.  The effects of the ban are a subject of partisan dispute.  But again, the reality facing current advocates is that there are an estimated eight hundred thousand to over a million such weapons already in private hands which would provide a legal secondary market or an illegal "black market" as the value of the weapons rose.

 Other tools such as "red flag" laws which seek to intervene in the possibility of a shooting by an unstable individual have proven to be inconsistently applied or effective.  A national standard for use by local law enforcement and judicial agencies should be both politically possible although since such procedures are preventive in nature their success is hard to verify. 

Most gun crime is carried out with handguns because they are less expensive and easier to transport unseen than rifles.  Most gun owners are not criminals making broad based gun restrictions politically difficult. Most violent crimes, but certainly not all, are carried out by individuals who have criminal records.  While possession of a gun by a former felon is illegal in most state jurisdictions, the penalties for violation are often "soft" or involve bond vs. incarceration. This apparently was the case in the recent mass shooting at Michigan State University. Sine there is a strong correlation between gun crimes and perpetrators of previous crimes with use of guns, heavy penalties involving incarceration for gun possession by former felons would have a positive impact on future gun crimes although anti-incarceration and "racial justice" activists would surely raise political opposition. There is no easy solution given the massive availability of guns throughout society. The problem will have to be addressed eventually by efforts of cultural change starting with America's youth, while finding compromise on policies on the edges of the problem. Simply making guns more expensive is not likely to deter mass shooters who in almost all cases are mentally challenged, suicidal, or expect to be apprehended and face life in prison. Making new gun sales more expensive at the gun store level will not make the criminal possession of weapons less likely since the vast numbers of guns already in private hands creates a permanent market. The principle of "Don't sacrifice the possible in pursuit of the perfect." applies.

Environmental policy:

The problem of global warming has largely become a debate between "deniers" and "end of world" extremists. Science based organizations see the problem as genuine in terms of human activity being a major contributor to global warming through fossil fuel emissions which will require technological changes over time, prominently including alternative energy sources.  The Paris climate accords of 2015 set a prescribed level for each of the signatories to make progress which combined had a goal of reducing global warming by 2 degrees Celsius "in this century".  The mechanisms for achieving progress are voluntary. Biden administration policies with regard to the process have largely involved limiting oil and gas exploration on federal lands, withdrawing approval for new pipelines and providing financial incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles and insulation remodeling for buildings.

These policies have gotten far out ahead of the level of alternative energy available to replace the needs of fossil fuels which are used in the manufacture of numerous non-energy related products but most notably have contributed to rapid inflation in the costs of gasoline and utility bills.  The Biden administration reacting to the political effects of these issues has backtracked some with regard to the leasing of fossil fuel exploration sites and even attempting to urge the government of Saudi Arabia, the largest oil producer in the OPEC oil cartel, to increase oil production.

Unfortunately, Biden in an early campaign exercise at "virtue signaling" had promised to wipe out the oil industry and had labeled Saudi Arabia an international "pariah state" while personally implicating that nation's de facto head of government Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the assassination of a dissident Saudi opinion writer.  Needless to say Biden's subsequent "hat in hand" request was summarily dismissed.  Gasoline prices have currently rebounded from earlier declines to levels above $4.00 per gallon. Natural gas prices which are necessary for large regions of the nation for domestic heating and electricity production are still high.

Reality check:

The fact that the Paris climate agreement is couched in terms of improvements in global temperature increases "in this century" should make it obvious that the effort is both long term and "global" in nature.  Just by way of example of the immensity of the problem consider just the two largest population states, China and India. The combined populations of the two nations is over 2.8 billion or @ 35% of the total world's population now near 8 billion.

By the latest available statistics, China's "energy mix" is 60% coal based, 20% oil and 8% natural gas.     India's total energy needs, despite it's commitment to accept the goals of the Paris Agreement, are 44% coal, 25% oil, and 6% natural gas. India's electricity production alone, is 70% generated by coal.

Global figures for the year 2019 for electricity production were 63% fossil fuels, nuclear 10.4% and just 26.3% based on "renewables" with Europe and the U.S. contributing the most in the latter. Clearly, such efforts as banning natural gas stoves in California over minor leaks of methane gas or handwringing by adolescent  Green activists over tens of millions of cattle "burping" methane  is a pointless waste of time and attention to the broader and much more complex world wide issue.  A specific but multi-faceted, science based, organized strategy with international participation including a common sense long term transition plan from most fossil fuel energy sources and including the newest nuclear technology is imperative.

Meanwhile the attention of the "media" and the political demagoguery infused issues of transgender "rights", "social justice" versus academic instruction in public schools, police "reform", affirmative action and permissive crime control, dominate the political agendas of the federal and states legislative bodies. In the Congress time is being taken up investigating Hunter Biden's laptop, and trying to impeach the Secretary of Homeland Security for his failure even to acknowledge the illegal immigration crisis at the southern border.  Such and effort, no matter how much deserved,  is pure politics since a finding for removal in the Senate by the Democrat majority is an impossibility.    Similarly the effort to convince Biden to negotiate reductions in federal spending for cooperation in raising the federal debt limit is fraught with political grandstanding. Both of those goals deserve serious attention. Raising the national debt limit to avoid default on the government debt for money already appropriated is basic and unavoidable to maintain the value of the U.S. dollar and its use as the world's reserve currency. Over seven trillion dollars in U.S. government debt is held by foreign nations. Reducing future federal spending in the face of an annual deficit of close to 1.5 trillion dollars and the accumulated national debt of 31.563 trillion dollars or 120.37 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is not only reasonable but critical.  The prospects for the first are good because a U.S. monetary default is unthinkable.  The prospects for the latter are low since "spending" was the basic 2022 election strategy of the Biden administration and is likely to be the similar strategy for Biden's 2024 campaign. 

Thus in a world of divided government, extreme ideological polarization, "politics over policy" would seem to be the inevitable and unfortunate future. Only the threat by the electorate of a major personnel change in the legislatures at the state and federal level will have a chance at turning attention to policy and away from political posturing and divisiveness but with the media's preference for conflict and extremism for "news", the prospects are not good.