Judging by the reaction from peers in media, you might think Maria Bartiromo said something incorrect on Sunday when she noted, “Some people have told me over the weekend that they feel that at the end of the day this administration does not see Putin as the enemy, they see him as a partner on many issues.”
It’s hardly a stretch to imagine someone mentioning that to Bartiromo because it’s true. Viewers who watched the full clip would have heard Bartiromo specifically cite climate change and the Iran nuclear deal as the issues in question when she made the statement on Fox News’s ”Sunday Morning Futures.”
This entire article in The Wrap, which basically calls Bartiromo an “idiot” in its headline, doesn’t even bother to mention she was talking about climate and Iran, let alone provide the facts that substantiate her point. The same goes for this article in The Daily Beast (they quote Sen. Lindsey Graham saying as much but not Bartiromo) and this one in Mediaite. But the people making those claims to Bartiromo are objectively correct.
You can disagree on whether those partnerships are improper. You can even disagree on whether Bartiromo raising the issue was improper. You can’t disagree on the facts.
Relaying the administration’s environmental strategy last month, climate envoy John Kerry “said the crisis between Russia and Ukraine made him concerned about issues such as the principles of international law and respect for borders,” according to Reuters.
“I am concerned in terms of the climate efforts that a war is the last thing you need with respect to a united effort to try to deal with the climate challenge,” Kerry reportedly told the outlet, adding, “Obviously we hope that we can compartmentalize, but it’s just made that much more difficult without any question.”
“I hope President Putin will help us to stay on track with respect to what we need to do for the climate,” Kerry said in February.
Bartiromo’s sources are clearly concerned with that explicit plan to compartmentalize—to treat Putin as a “partner” on climate change even while he wages war on another sovereign country.
On Iran, again, the Biden administration is openly working with Russia to salvage their attempt at restoring the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. It’s fair to describe Russia as a partner in the ongoing negotiations, given that we’re working to secure a compromise with them right now that would save the deal. Russia is critical to the administration’s goal.
Again, this is while Russia is waging a war on Ukraine and while the rest of the world is trying to handle the escalation without provoking a nuclear battle. The nuclear era makes for strange bedfellows, lest we forget the lessons of the past.
If all of this sounds crazy, that’s because it is. Bartiromo’s sources are not wrong to suggest the administration currently sees Putin as a “partner” on those two issues, nor is it insane to see why those people would be concerned by it. If the administration is currently trying to negotiate a massive deal and it needs Russia to compromise, of course it’s fair to wonder whether their interests in one case are affecting their interests in another.
The same goes for our negotiations on climate. Asked last fall about how the United States balances China’s human rights abuses with the need to compromise on climate, Kerry himself said, “Life is always full of tough choices,” adding, “Yes, we have issues, a number of different issues, but first and foremost, this planet must be protected.” That reflects a deeply foolish mentality and it seems to be one Kerry is applying to Russia as well.
Again, whether or not you agree with the wisdom of these decisions, the administration is openly continuing to treat Russia as a “partner” on climate and Iran. Not only was Bartiromo well within the bounds of reason to cite her sources on the matter, she was hit with patronizing attacks from other journalists who seem to have no idea what they’re talking about.