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Rand Paul Should Check With the Pentagon Before He Slams Hillary Clinton

Mike Stone, Getty Images

On Friday, Rand Paul suggested he knows more about international security than a certain former Secretary of State. Paul thought Hillary Clinton’s strong remarks on the threats of climate change—which came during her speech at the National Clean Energy Summit in Nevada—suggested an ignorance about America’s true key threats.

“For her to be out there saying that the biggest threat to our safety and to our well-being is climate change, I think, goes to the heart of the matter or whether or not she has the wisdom to lead the country, which I think it’s obvious that she doesn’t,” Paul said on Fox News. He also said, “I don’t think we really want a commander-in-chief who’s battling climate change instead of terrorism.”

He missed the point that climate change, terrorism, and global stability are all related. Clinton’s point was that climate change and its impacts are “the most consequential, urgent, sweeping collection of challenges we face. No matter what deniers say.” And she’s completely right about that.

You don’t have to take my word for it, or hers. The Pentagon agrees, too. It warned in its Quadrennial Defense Review that the effects of climate change “are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions—conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.”

Again, the Kentucky Senator might have heard this directly from a Department of Defense official in July, when Daniel Chiu with the Defense Department discussed climate change with a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on international development:

The effects of the changing climate affect the full range of Department activities, including plans, operations, training, infrastructure, acquisition, and longer-term investments. By taking a proactive, flexible approach to assessment, analysis, and adaptation, the Department can keep pace with the impacts of changing climate patterns, minimize effects on the Department, and continue to protect our national security interests.

Paul happens to be a member of that subcommittee. I don’t know if he attended that day, but he could benefit from listening closely.