Secretary of State and Vietnam War veteran John Kerry was back in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta on Sunday to vow cooperation on climate change and warn China about the environmental effects of building dams upriver.
Kerry spoke in personal terms about his history in the Mekong River region — where he commanded a gunboat over four decades ago — while warning of imperiled fisheries and rising seas dumping more salt water into the “rice basket of the world.”
“It is obviously amazing for me to be here today. Decades ago, on these very waters, I was one of many who witnessed the difficult period in our shared history,” Kerry said in remarks during his visit to the Ca Mau province in Mekong River delta, according to a State Department transcript.
He added that “now we are talking about the future” and what climate change means for a region where “millions of people work, live and supply food for millions of other people around the world.”
“The entire planet is impacted by what happens here. This is one of the two or three most potentially impacted areas in the world with respect to the effects of climate change,” Kerry said.
He touted U.S. collaboration with Vietnam on environmental protection and green energy in the region.
Kerry announced that the U.S. is providing an initial $17 million through USAID’s Vietnam Forest and Deltas Program to help communities “reverse environmental degradation” and adapt to climate change.
Kerry also found time to warn China about Mekong River dam projects that could damage regions downstream, noting it’s “vital that we avoid dramatic changes” in water flow and sediment levels.
China has built a number of dams and is planning more, and Chinese companies are involved in projects in the other nations along the river.
“There are several countries that get the waters of the Mekong before Vietnam, but they all share the benefits of these important waters,” Kerry said.
“And no one country has a right to deprive another country of the livelihood and the ecosystem and its capacity for life itself that comes with that river. That river is a global asset, a treasure that belongs to the region,” he said.
Kerry’s speech is part of a wider diplomatic visit to Southeast Asia.
- 1 Hillary Clinton Will Win the Nomination, But Then What?
- 2 Bernie Sanders Is a Loud, Stubborn Socialist. Republicans Like Him Anyway.
- 3 How Politics Breaks Our Brains, and How We Can Put Them Back Together
- 4 The Pen, Phone, and Stray Voltage
- 5 Divided GOP Ponders Way Forward on Criminal Justice Reform
What We're Following See More »
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.