It always amazes me when I see President Clinton complaining about President Bush's "withdrawal" from Kyoto. The fact is that the legal situation remains exactly the same under Bush as it did under Clinton. In 1997, the Senate voted 95-0 against ratifying any treaty negotiated at Kyoto that (1) did not also set emissions limits on
developing countries; and (2) that “would result in serious harm to the
economy of the United States.” Yet when the Kyoto negotiations faltered, Al Gore as leader of the American delegation agreed to a treaty that did exactly that. President Clinton therefore declined to send the Treaty to the Senate for ratification in the sure knowledge that it would be defeated heavily, damaging the reputation of both him and his Vice-President. President Bush has merely continued that Clintonian policy, in recognition of the Senate's stated position.
As it happens, there is no legal or Constitutional provision forbidding the Senate from debating whether or not to ratify a signed treaty, merely a procedural nicety that the President should transmit it to the Senate (and if the situation is so grave, one would expect the Senate to ignore niceties). Yet the political reality is that the Senate would likely continue to adhere to the principles behind that 1997 resolution, even if not unanimously this time.
So, President Clinton is blaming President Bush for contributing to anti-Americanism for continuing his own policy! The brass neck involved in that claim is quite astonishing. Now, insofar as stating inaccurately that Bush has withdrawn from Kyoto in itself contributes to anti-Americanism, in that it blames the current President uniquely for something unpopular in the world that is not his unique responsibility, it might just be possible that President Clinton is stirring up anti-Americanism for his own partisan political ends. And if there was ever something that could be called reprehensible, that is it.
-- Iain Murray