Treaty Semantics, Senate Politics and the Paris Climate Talks

By Hawkings, David | News Sentinel, December 13, 2015 | Go to article overview

Treaty Semantics, Senate Politics and the Paris Climate Talks


Hawkings, David, News Sentinel


WASHINGTON -- In the simple world of civics class, the president gets to make treaties and they're binding on the United States when two out of three senators say so.

In today's complex political world, that's almost never how it plays out. Beyond baked-in partisanship and steep distrust of whoever occupies the White House lies this obstacle to Senate ratification of any international agreement: The protection of American sovereignty is among the most basic conservative objectives.

That helps explain why 2010 was the last time two-thirds of senators lined up to approve a treaty, and why the Obama administration now wants to make sure no foreign policy agreements get labeled with "the T word." This year's Iran nuclear agreement would have had zero chance had it been written as a treaty; the same would be true for any document produced at the environmental summit in Paris. (The 54 Republican votes are a score more than what's necessary to guarantee Senate rejection of any treaty.)

All those realities leave Barack Obama to rely on his own robust view of a president's foreign policymaking powers to advance his climate agenda.

This makes much of the rest of the world wary of any American commitment to combating climate change.

Many of the other 190 nations in the Paris talks want a legally binding and globally enforceable treaty document instead of promises (especially by a president a year from the time he exits office) about how the United Sates will do its part to combat global climate change.

While the administration says there will be "legal force" behind whatever agreement it makes, "There's no consensus on what those words really mean, or how that will work, or who will decide which parts of any agreement are legally binding and which are not," says Frank E. Loy, the chief climate negotiator in the final three years of the Clinton administration.

That vagueness can be a virtue, he said in an interview, if the end result is simultaneously satisfying to a skeptical world and irreversible by an antagonistic Congress. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Treaty Semantics, Senate Politics and the Paris Climate Talks
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.