Opinion piece critisizes Obama’s role in Paris Accord

An opinion piece co-written by Associate Professor of Politics and Government Lamont Colucci was published on July 18 on The Washington Times website. This editorial, co-written by former CIA director R. James Woolsey, criticized former President Barack Obama and his actions with the Paris Accord.

“Subverting the role of the treaty in American diplomacy” goes over the United States’ history with both France and treaties and points out that the United States was careful about what treaties it agreed to, knowing any foreign policy could change how the United States is governed for many years to come.

In the context of this history, the authors find President Obama’s agreement to the Paris Accord unreasonable: “It is in this vein that we should reject President Obama’s penchant for actively subverting the treaty process and engaging in dangerous executive agreements that distort the constitutional requirements of Senate approval.”

Although this criticism is not of all swift actions that surpass the Senate. “Diplomacy is fluid and the expediency of any given time may require the president to utilize executive agreements to protect and promote American vital interests,” the authors write.

They argue that the Paris Accord, as well as Obama’s Iran Deal, were not protecting these vital American interests. These deals, also being long term, force the hand of future presidents, they argue, thus, more time and input would have been given to the decision. “If the Iran deal and the Paris Accords were as important as the previous administration claimed and were the lynchpin of the Obama diplomatic legacy, then why were they not crafted as treaties, sent to the Senate and by that action, allowed the constitutionally proper voice of the American people to be heard?”

“The Founders intended bad treaties to be defeated, and they intended that long-lasting diplomacy would be based on treaties and not fiat. Both the Paris Accords and the Iran deal should be required to pass the test for treaties: They commit multiple presidential administrations, they are multigenerational, and they will require America to be a credible partner, even if others are not.”

The authors argue that the Paris Accord was not President Obama acting in the interest of the American people, but instead putting politics first. “All that the Obama administration achieved did not enhance American interests, but was a series of calculated moves to shore up the administration’s political base.”

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Lamont Colucci