Reykjavik: The impeachment case that is being prepared against Donald Trump got a face in Reykjavik this weekend. US Energy Minister Rick Perry was on the podium during the Arctic Circle conference. He is one of the people who have been subpoenaed in the American Ukraine-scandal.
Just like the boss himself, Donald Trump, Rick Perry denies any illegal doing. He now has until 18 October to present documents and evidence highlighting his contact with Ukrainian authorities.
He asked Trump to contact Ukraine
There is nevertheless one thing the man on the podium during the Arctic Circle admitted about the same time as the Democrats in the USA subpoenaed him: He urged Donald Trump to contact Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky. At least three times.
Though absolutely not, he says, to urge a Ukrainian investigation of Trump’s political opponent Joe Biden, which is the core of the scandal now shaking the American society.
There was not much to indicate that it was a troubled man who stood on the podium in the beautiful Harpa concert hall in the Icelandic capital.
Rather the contrary.
As the only politician to receive such treatment, Rick Perry was sheltered from troublesome questions from the audience. Instead, he was taken off stage in the very moment he finished reading his prepared script. No one, neither we of the press nor others, were to trouble the Arctic harmony with troublesome questions about ever-emerging new facts and shocking revelations surrounding Donald Trump and his administration.
Security politics in the Arctic Council
There are, nevertheless, a series of things that one may ponder following Rick Perry’s performance.
One of the main concerns of the Arctic Council is the American insistence on bringing security politics into the Arctic cooperation body. Several Arctic prime ministers and foreign ministers clearly warn against accepting this development. The inarguable success of the Arctic Council rests on security policy tensions between the East and the West to be left outside this forum.
Rick Perry did not mention that in his talk.
Climate is the main issue during every meeting about the Arctic. The American president, Donald Trump, is one out of rather few Heads of State who deny that climate changes are man-made. And with a president who denies this, the American efforts against climate changes are continually downscaled.
The American Energy Minister did not mention this in his speech either.
The USA rapidly changing
The third main point, one on which Rick Perry spent a lot of time, is a brand-new political development in Alaska. The Trump administration quickly privatizes Alaska’s wilderness to the benefit of large-scale exploration of oil and gas resources. This is, if not from where Rick Perry stands, most controversial, to say the least.
This development and change is barely mentioned in national US media. Journalists over there are more than busy already following Donald Trump’s never-ending Twitter account. We see the same development in the American health and social care systems. An increasing number of people fall out of the system, but it receives a minimum of attention.
The American part of the Arctic, what makes the USA an Arctic state, Alaska, is changed without debate.
We were not allowed to discuss any of this with Rick Perry.
He disappeared off stage as fast as he had appeared.
The fear that the USA under the Trump administration will put the Arctic Council in a hopeless position and that global temperatures will continue to rise because the USA does not see the problem, nevertheless, does not disappear on its own.
The treat about impeachment does not appear to soften Trump’s aggressive behavior.
Rather the contrary.
On Saturday night, those who follow High North News on Twitter could notice that another American, former Secretary of State John Kerry of the Obama administration, received the Arctic Circle Award 2019. He received the award for his engagement for the climate.
- To say that something is impossible is not a fact – it is an opinion. The fight against climate changes is inevitable, he said when accepting the award.
In this manner, the change in American policy became very clear at the conference.
From John Kerry and Barrack Obama to Rick Perry and Donald Trump in less than 48 hours.