VP Harris Says 'Our Democracy' and 'Climate Crisis' Are Biggest Threat To National Security

VP Harris Says 'Our Democracy' and 'Climate Crisis' Are Biggest Threat To National Security

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
December 27, 2021

Vice President Kamala Harris revealed that she believes "our democracy" and "climate crisis" was the biggest emerging threats to national security confronting the United States.

During the interview with "Face the Nation," CBS News host Margaret Brennan asked Harris what she sees as the "biggest national security challenge confronting the U.S." that also keeps her up at night worrying. ​

"Frankly, one of them is our democracy. And that I can talk about because that's not classified. There is,​ I think, no question in the minds of people who are foreign policy experts that the year 2021 is not the year 2000," Harris said in a pre-recorded interview with Brennan, which aired on Sunday.

"I think there's so much about foreign and domestic policy that, for example, was guided and prioritized based on Sept 11, 2001. And we are embarking on a new era where the threats to our nation take many forms, including the threat of autocracies taking over and having outsized influence around the world," Harris added.

Harris clarifies her original "democracy" remark, stating her point was "obviously" about the "need to fight for the integrity of our democracy" in regards to the climate crisis.

The vice president doesn't explain how she thinks climate change is a national security threat. Rather, Harris rambles that the climate threat "strengthen[s] our relationship" with U.S. allies who also believe in the same "values and priorities" regarding global warming.

In the wide-ranging interview where she raised eyebrows and made several headlines, Harris praised President Biden for the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan but refused to take any responsibility for the debacle surrounding the chaotic pullout. Instead, the vice president blamed the Trump administration for inking the Doha agreement with the Taliban that she claimed Biden was abiding by it.

"I fully supported the president's decision to after what was taking on the fact of being an endless war, of pulling American troops out, and I think it's really important to remember that the previous administration negotiated a deal with the Taliban, did not invite the Afghan government to be at the table, and negotiated a deal that required and promised as part of an agreement that we would pull out by the end of May," Harris said.

"So we were saddled with that responsibility based on an agreement between the United States and the Taliban," Harris continued.

"We made the decision that if we were to break the agreement, it would have been a whole other situation, and right now, I strongly believe that had we broken that agreement, we would be talking about the war in Afghanistan and American troops in Afghanistan, and we're not talking about that. I don't regret that," the vice president added.

Harris was pressed about her lack of response regarding concerns about Afghan females who are now under the Taliban's repressive regime. At that time, Harris faced multiple criticisms over her muted response during the Afghan debacle, most notably laughing off questions about Americans still stuck in Afghanistan.

"One of our big issues in terms of any conversations with the Taliban is exactly this point, which is the condition, the status and the treatment of women and girls, including for girls, access to education, not to mention our concern about counterterrorism and what we need to do in terms of that threat," Harris said, noting the Biden administration is "working through the United Nations" to bypass the Taliban in "supporting women and girls."

During the interview, Harris fired back at Democrats who claimed she's being "set up to fail" by the Biden White House.

"No, I don't believe I'm being set up to fail," Harris responded.

"I'm vice president of the United States. Anything that I handle is because it's a tough issue, and it couldn't be handled at some other level. And there are a lot of big, tough issues that need to be addressed. And it has actually been part of my lifelong career to deal with tough issues, and this is no different," she added.

When asked what she thinks has been the "biggest failure" being vice president so far in her first year, Harris proclaimed her lack of not getting out of Washington D.C. as much.

"To not get out of D.C. more," Harris joked while laughing simultaneously.

Ironically, Harris has traveled quite a lot over the past 11 months, both domestically and internationally. Domestically, Harris traveled across the country, both to stump for Democratic candidates or to sell Biden administration spending agenda.

Meanwhile, Harris' international trips included visits to Guatemala and Mexico in June to discuss the "root causes" of the migrant crisis; stops in Vietnam, Singapore, and Japan in August; and most recently, a trip to Paris in November to mend its relationship after France was left out of a U.S.-U.K.-Australia deal.

Mona Salama

Mona Salama

Mona Salama is a political reporter for The Floridian covering Congress, the White House and Congressional elections.

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