We don’t seem to be able to solve many problems these days with our divided, dysfunctional government, but by George we finally found somebody with a plan to figure out what to do with Secretary of State John Kerry. We’re sending him to the bottom of the world. (Free Beacon)
After announcing that Secretary of State John Kerry will be traveling to Antarctica, State Department spokesman John Kirby was grilled over why Kerry was traveling there and the trip’s cost to taxpayers.
Kerry will travel to a research station at the South Pole in a trip that begins Monday.
Kirby said the foreign minister of New Zealand would not be accompanying Kerry when asked by reporters. Flights to the South Pole normally stop in New Zealand first. Reporters then asked what the diplomatic purpose of the visit is. Kirby said the reason is climate change.
Here’s the Free Beacon video of the State Department spokesman John Kirby (who really should win some sort of award for surviving months of the roughest news cycles in the nation’s history) seeming rather ill informed about Kerry’s plans or the costs involved.
All joking aside, there were some obvious questions about this trip which the State Department should have been prepared for before they announced it. First of all and probably most on point is the question of… why? Why is the Secretary of State being sent not just to McMurdo Station on the tip of Ross Island (a much easier and cheaper place to reach) but to the actual South Pole research facility? That’s a fairly hazardous trip at the best of times and I seriously doubt Kerry is going there to conduct any ice core experiments on his own. Is there actually anything going on in that barren location which he couldn’t find out about via a satellite video conference or an in person meeting in Washington with scientists recently returned from their shifts there?
Those questions tie in with the cost to the taxpayers. For your average American citizen to just make it to the coast, either by cruise ship or a flight out of New Zealand, you’re looking at a bill in the twelve to fifteen thousand dollar range per person. And that doesn’t even take into account the additional expense and logistical difficulty of making it all the way to the pole, assuming you can even get permission to go. What sort of costs go into sending the Secretary of state, his staff and security detail to that frozen wilderness? Swinging back to the previous point, those costs should be balanced against whatever excuse they’ve come up with to make the journey a requirement for the nation.
The real explanation, absent something better coming out of the State Department, is that this is nothing more than a very expensive photo op for Kerry. He has no need to be there for any scientific or policy reason, but this is clearly designed to promote climate change “awareness” and dredge up support for the non-ratified Paris climate treaty. If you need a quick layman’s translation of that it simply means a massive carbon tax and hugely expensive executive mandates for more renewable energy which doesn’t currently exist in economically feasible forms. But it sounds great in an election year, so away we go.
Here’s a compromise solution which should make everyone happy. The government should be ready to split the difference and tighten their belts on all cost issues with a $20T debt hanging over our heads. What say we have the taxpayers fund the trip but only for a one way ticket? Then the Kerry – Heinz empire can either pay for the trip back or he can simply stay there and learn to speak penguin.