At Saturday’s Democratic presidential debate in Des Moines, self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders was asked a question that should have been easy to answer, coming as it did a day after 126 innocent people were brutally murdered in Paris.
Actually, the question was couched in a manner so as to give the Vermont senator an opportunity to revisit and recant an earlier answer to a related question. “In the previous debate,” the moderator asked, “you said the greatest threat to national security was climate change. Do you still believe that?”
Sanders’s answer began with a simple reaffirmation. “Absolutely,” he said. But then he proceeded to take his claim in an anticipated direction:
In fact, climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism. And if we do not get our act together and listen to what the scientists say, you’re going to see countries all over the world — this is what the CIA says. They’re going to be struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops and you’re going to see all kinds of international conflict.
Here is a video of the Q & A:
The invocation of the name CIA was probably a reference to a July 2015 memo by the Department of Defense that began:
Global climate change will aggravate problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership and weak political institutions that threaten stability in a number of countries.
The word terrorism per se never appears in the memo, making Sanders’s claim a reach at best. But more importantly, the whole effort to link the ambitions of ISIS to poverty and the like (think Marie Harf) was discredited long ago. That hasn’t stopped passionate liberals from continuing to blame all the world’s ills on global warming, but maybe Sanders would be well advised to check recent polls that show that climate change is a low-priority item among American voters.