Obama’s Oslo Speech and Climate Change

Dec 11, 2009

Dan Drezner encourages us to analyze what he said for references to policy prescriptions from IR theories. Steve Walt tells us let’s focus not on what he said but on what he does. I’m with those who would focus on what he didn’t say as an indicator of what he might or might not do. (Not to be contrarian, but hey.)

Namely, with the Copenhagen summit at hand, I’d have liked to see more than just a passing reference to the relationship between the environment and war, and the fact that mitigating the impacts of climate change will be one of our most urgent security problems in the next century. How do readers interpret the relative marginalization of climate issues in the speech?

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Charli Carpenter is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She is the author of 'Innocent Women and Children': Gender, Norms and the Protection of Civilians (Ashgate, 2006), Forgetting Children Born of War: Setting the Human Rights
Agenda in Bosnia and Beyond (Columbia, 2010), and ‘Lost’ Causes: Agenda-Setting in Global Issue Networks and the Shaping of Human Security (Cornell, 2014). Her main research interests include national security ethics, the protection of civilians, the laws of war, global agenda-setting, gender and political violence, humanitarian affairs, the role of information technology in human security, and the gap between intentions and outcomes among advocates of human security.