Here’s an interesting story from The Washington Post about what key Obama administration officials and would-be officials make of potential openings to Iran,
Here’s an interesting story from The Washington Post about what key Obama administration officials and would-be officials make of potential openings to Iran, notwithstanding Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s demand for a U.S. “apology” for past crimes. The article quotes a recent paper by Dennis Ross, who hasn’t yet been officially announced as the State Department’s special envoy to Iran, as favoring back-channel outreach at first:
Ross said the United States should ask the Iranian representative during the private talks to explain how his government sees U.S. goals toward Iran and how Iran thinks the United States perceives Iranian goals. The purpose of this dialogue, he wrote, is to “find a way to show the Iranians that we are prepared to listen and to try to understand Iranian concerns and respond to them, but ultimately no progress can be made if our concerns cannot also be understood and addressed.”
Others, including counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, prefer a direct and more dovish approach. (Yeah, that’s right, that Brennan.) But here’s my question. What sense does it make to have Ross be a special envoy to … just one country?
The other special envoys, Richard Holbrooke and George Mitchell, have numerous countries within their portfolios. When the government special envoy positions deal with single countries with which it doesn’t have diplomatic relations, it typically creates posts for specific issues, like human rights in North Korea, for instance. I know, I know, the Tehran embassy wasn’t built in a day, but it still seems like Ross’ would-be billet is an odd bureaucratic entity.
It’s also one that raises questions about how any special envoy sees the job. Is there a specific goal, like compliance with the Non Proliferation Treaty, or even normalized U.S.-Iran relations? Or is it to simply see what can be yielded through outreach, if anything? Where will the envoy talk with the Iranians — Iran, the United States, or a third country? It would be nice to have some clarity here.
Giffords shooting leads nation to introspection and political finger wagging
In the wake of the shooting in Arizona this weekend that critically injured Rep.
EPA Administrator Addresses Concerns About Oil Spill Waste Management
At a hearing of the national oil spill commission today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed concerns about waste disposal from
E-Verify Mandate Begins Today
The Obama administration today begins implementation of a new mandate to require all federal contractors to check the legal status of their employees to confirm
EPA administrator defends allowing Florida to write its own water pollution rules
The EPA seal (Pic via sentryjournal.com) The Environmental Protection Agency has come under fire for its decision to allow the state of Florida to write its own water pollution rules (known as “numeric nutrient criteria”). EPA Regional Administrator Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming is now firing back, writing that the Agency commends the state Department of Environmental Protection for its draft of a proposed standard. A host of environmental groups filed suit in 2008, seeking to compel the EPA to implement a strict set of water pollution standards in Florida, arguing that the state was in violation of the Clean Water Act.
EPA administrator fires back at critics in op-ed
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (Pic by USACEpublicaffairs, via Flickr) EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson penned a new op-ed for the Los Angeles Times , criticizing House Republicans desperately seeking to undermine the authority of the agency they have dubbed a “job killer.” Arguing that the environment affects red states and blue states alike, Jackson writes that “it is time for House Republicans to stop politicizing our air and water.” As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Jackson has faced harsh criticism from House Republicans and GOP presidential candidates who say the agency’s regulations are an undue burden on businesses that have to cut jobs simply to comply with clean water and air rules. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann has pledged to end the EPA if she takes office. “Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws,” writes Jackson.
EPA administrator says federal nutrient criteria is a ‘myth’
In testimony given late last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that false accusations about her agency’s numeric nutrient criteria to govern Florida waterways are proving to be a detriment to their implementation. # Testifying before the House Agriculture Committee, Jackson said her agency’s work was often “mischaracterized” and addressed several myths surrounding its work
EPA announces hold on nutrient standards if Florida can come up with own criteria
The EPA announced today that it is now prepared to withdraw a portion of its proposed numeric nutrient criteria (a set of standards governing water pollution in inland waters) and delay the portion related to estuarine waters, to allow the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop its own criteria. # From a statement released by the EPA earlier today: # EPA recognizes that states have the primary role in establishing and implementing water quality standards for their waters. Therefore, EPA is prepared to withdraw the federal inland standards and delay the estuarine standards if FDEP adopts, and EPA approves, their own protective and scientifically sound numeric standards
EPA Analysis Says Climate Bill’s Cost for Households Would Be ‘Modest’
All the attention on the energy front today is going to the BP spill, but the Environmental Protection Agency quietly released its long-anticipated analysis of
EPA and California Near Deal on Fuel Efficiency Standards
Two weeks ago, the Obama administration raised fuel efficiency standards by an average of two miles per gallon -- a modest change that disappointed some