Nomination of Wxtransit for Secretary of State
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  Nomination of Wxtransit for Secretary of State
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Blair
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« on: September 08, 2021, 04:15:08 PM »

Wxtransit has been nominated by the President to be the new Secretary of State.

I’ll allow an opening statement and then move onto questions. My hope is that this will take 72 hours but we’ll see how the session goes.
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wxtransit
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2021, 08:44:14 PM »
« Edited: September 08, 2021, 08:49:02 PM by wxtransit »

Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

Distinguished Senators,

First, I want to thank the President for this opportunity and I'm honored to be able to address the Senate floor for consideration of my nomination.

I don't think it's a stretch to say that the State Department, and really the whole nation, is at a major crossroads. Amidst a rising China committing human rights abuses, democracy in increasing peril across the world, and our nation going through a major activity slump, this era of the game will be one that defines Atlasia's history for (in-game) generations.

My approach as Secretary of State, as I mentioned during my first confirmation hearing, is to seek diplomacy before all else. I do not consider myself to be a war hawk, and I want to see all disputes resolved peacefully if possible. However, I recognize the need that in some unfortunate circumstances, sanctions or (at last resort) even military action may be needed. Let it be known that I will never act rashly in any circumstance where such actions are necessary, but if the President and I are in accord and such actions appear prudent, then I will take whatever actions necessary to secure the interests of our nation, its people, and our allies.

While I want my State Department, if confirmed, to focus on every issue that comes before us and to have a well-rounded outlook on diplomatic actions, the President and I agreed that China should be a priority for our diplomacy. If confirmed, I want to address China's rising influence through a multi-pronged effort.

My stance on China is that we must act intentionally and wisely. First, we must enrich our relationships with our established allies in Asia and Oceania (such as Japan, South Korea, and Australia, to name a few), and we should also seek out new strategic partnerships (with countries such as India), which will be a goal of a State Department headed by me. Second, we must counter China's rising influence in South America and Africa, full stop. Those regions have been neglected by previous State Departments to our detriment, and China's rising influence in those areas has allowed them to amass a large amount of soft power. For example, a State Department led by me would seek to expand the Atlasia-Subsaharan Free Trade Agreement and work to broker new partnerships in the region similar to the Agreement, along with a general diplomatic offensive. Third, we must consider sanctions against China's recent human rights abuses and actions in Hong Kong and throughout the nation. We must also support Taiwan to ensure the nation will not go the unfortunate way of Hong Kong. However, we must also attempt to use our provocations towards China wisely. I am fully in support of holding the Chinese government to account, and a State Department led by me would not let the horrific actions of the government to go unchecked. We must, however, balance these provocations with diplomacy with the Chinese government. This nature will be a guiding philosophy of diplomacy conducted under a State Department led by me.

Other focuses of a State Department headed by me will be to work with the new Paflagonian government to promote democracy in that region. Obviously, a Schmid victory would be the least ideal outcome of the election, but Atlasia will strive to work with whoever is elected to prevent democratic backsliding. Similarly, the State Department will await the Israeli election results but will strive to engage further with that region as well once the next government has been determined. Nicaragua, Peru, and other nations are similarly on my diplomatic radar, but there has frankly not been enough news on those fronts that I feel warrants a full description like I had laid out for China. A State Department led by me will keep a watchful eye on those nations, seek peaceful and diplomatic solutions (without use of force), and consider sanctions or strategic use of foreign aid when necessary.

On a related note, to properly serve out my time in the State Department, I will need an active Game Moderator. When reseraching for this position to brief myself on the current state of Atlasian diplomacy, I noticed the inactivity of the Citizen's Dispatch -- something that will be a problem for my administration if I am confirmed. I have great respect for the current GM office and the GM himself, who I consider a good friend of mine, but it has become apparent that a prolonged period of inactivity has allowed foreign policy to take a back burner in Atlasian politics. I want to bring foreign policy back to the forefront.

I fully understand not being able to be active 24/7 -- in fact I am only on this game on average an hour per day -- but activity, particularly during this era of the game, is crucial. I want to rejuvinate the State Department and use my platform to generate at least some interest back in the game, but to do so, I will need to get regular input from the GM's office and an NSC (which is not as much a concern of mine as active officials can be appointed). Additionally, as activity is crucial, I think it is necessary to address my activity during my last tenure in the State Department, which I will be the first to assess as middling. I will point to my last tenure in the Senate as an example of my current activity -- perhaps not online 24/7, but I strive to get on the forum at least once a day, and I was present for almost every vote -- and my hope is that my more recent examples can dissuade any concerns about my past tenure. Furthermore, my philosophy in the office will be vastly different than my first tenure. As I recognize the dire state of the game, I want to use my position to do the most good I can. By bringing foreign policy back to the forefront of Atlasia, I hope that at least a few people can be more engaged with the game, and as such, I want to set an example of activity in the office.

As the President said in the last confirmation hearing for Secretary of State, this time will be a turning point for both Atlasian diplomacy and the game as a whole. Through my actions in the office, I will strive to live up to that high expectation and do everything in my power to make sure both move in the right direction in any way I can.
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2021, 09:23:29 PM »

Offering my full backing to this qualified nominee and also open to his stated concerns about the GM position. I do think we are at a crossroads here and now. I'm looking forward to Senate input but I am on board with doing whatever it might take to some breathe some life back into this game.
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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2021, 02:04:17 AM »

In light of our own recent efforts to deal with the water crisis here at home in Atlasia's Southwest, what is going to be the state departments approach to similar water related crises abroad? The two that come to mind (both involving China in some form) would be the situation with IIRC China threatening to restrict water flow into India and a similar situation in NE Africa with Ethiopa and Egypt? Both of these could result in major conflicts if the situation gets out hand and in both cases,  China is opposite sides of our geopolitical "friends" in the region.

Also, in game we have taken a much tougher stand against Saudi Arabia than RL. Will this policy be continued and what feedback from the GM (assuming such can be obtained obviously) would affect that decision either way?

Lastly, hinging on the post I made in the Audit bill, in a worst case scenario where GM activity is not present, what measures are possible to work around this to provide at least something resembling an active foreign policy? Granted this would be a horrendously inopportune way to function in an office such as this, but in the present situation it must be at least considered.
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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2021, 01:06:52 PM »

considering the promises made and not kept by the previous SoS on activity, and the importance of the job, how confident are you in saying that you can be and remain active?
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wxtransit
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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2021, 03:29:53 PM »

In light of our own recent efforts to deal with the water crisis here at home in Atlasia's Southwest, what is going to be the state departments approach to similar water related crises abroad? The two that come to mind (both involving China in some form) would be the situation with IIRC China threatening to restrict water flow into India and a similar situation in NE Africa with Ethiopa and Egypt? Both of these could result in major conflicts if the situation gets out hand and in both cases,  China is opposite sides of our geopolitical "friends" in the region.

As Bruhg mentioned in his own confirmation hearing, India serves as an important check on China, which presents an important dilemma for the situation you discussed above. As I mentioned in my opening statement, a State Department led by me will seek peaceful diplomatic solutions to every conflict, including the two water crises you mentioned in your question. You are absolutely correct, however, that such a situation could escalate to a major conflict, potentially given that India and China are major powers. Similarly, the situation between Ethiopia and Egypt could also become a "proxy" battle between larger powers as well. Given all these factors, a State Department led by me will seek to navigate both situations wisely, and prevent conflict from happening in the first place if at all possible.

To address the India-China potential water conflict, there are few obvious easy options available to help India preserve the integrity of its water sources from either damming or pollution from upstream (Tibet, controlled by China). However, a State Department led by me will still first act to head off conflict by providing solutions to India and neutralizing China's ability to create a chokehold on the Indian people as much as possible. My State Department would first seek to aid India in helping to extract more water from its domestic rivers and rainwater, along with potentially investing in desalination plants. Additionally, our State Department could also aid India and the greater region by assisting in the creation of intergovernmental cooperation of countries affected by rivers coming from the Tibetan plateau. Such cooperation would allow India to have increased ability to stand against China alongside other affected countries, increasing the leverage of the entire region and potentially deterring China from conflict in some form. Similarly, considering the Ethiopian-Egyptian water conflict, there are few easy options at hand. In the case of both Egypt and Ethiopia, nationalism is far more at play as well, creating a toxic dynamic that is not disposed to reconciliation or cooperation. Particularly of concern is the fact that Ethiopia has essentially acted unilaterally by building the dam while negotiations were strained due to online nationalist conflicts. However, even in this circumstance, we must seek a peaceful diplomatic resolution. One ace up Atlasia's sleeve in this particular situation is the fact that we provide significant foreign aid to both Ethiopia and Egypt. We must continue to attempt to hold talks between the two countries, but we we also have leverage over both and must be willing to consider using it as a method of arriving at a solution without conflict.

In sum, the approach of a State Department led by me will be to seek solutions to problems instead of running headfirst into conflicts. These water conflicts present an opportunity for such a philosophy.

Quote
Also, in game we have taken a much tougher stand against Saudi Arabia than RL. Will this policy be continued and what feedback from the GM (assuming such can be obtained obviously) would affect that decision either way?

Yes, this policy will be continued. Saudi Arabia's list of human rights abuses -- particularly their mass execution of gay citizens and abuses which have directly affected Atlasian citizens, in the case of the use of the death penalty -- must not go unchecked, and though it is true that Saudi Arabia is an important regional power, at present, Atlasia's needs for an ally in the region (such as SA is for America in RL) are far outweighed by the reality on the ground. Obviously, any feedback from the GM will be thoroughly considered by the State Department, but unless the government at least took responsibility for those actions and showed demonstrable effort to prevent those aforementioned events from happening again (along with curtailing some of the nation's other human rights abuses), I do not at present see an opportunity for a detente.

This question certainly ties into my remarks about finding new allies to counter China, however, considering Saudi Arabia's history, our willingness to rekindle a relationship with their government is very slim. Other regional powers, such as the UAE -- who is, despite a bit of a rocky recent past, still one of our allies -- will first be considered in our diplomatic offensive.

Quote
Lastly, hinging on the post I made in the Audit bill, in a worst case scenario where GM activity is not present, what measures are possible to work around this to provide at least something resembling an active foreign policy? Granted this would be a horrendously inopportune way to function in an office such as this, but in the present situation it must be at least considered.

I would fully agree that my ability, if confirmed, to enact the sort of sweeping change to the State Department would be hampered by an inactive GM office. However, I will fully assure the Senate that no matter the conditions surrounding this game, I will do the job that has been set before me if I am confirmed. If it truly gets to the point where there is very little contact from the GM on requests I make on behalf of the State Department, I will still continue to take diplomatic actions -- such as issuing sanctions, delivering speeches, or taking other diplomatic measures with respect to previously published articles in the Citizen's Dispatch. Furthermore, I will continue to coordinate such actions with the President and the NSC and continue to remain in close contact with both, potentially holding meetings to review previously mentioned events from the GM's office if need be so that Atlasian diplomatic personnel remain prepared for every eventuality. While I may not have feedback from the Game Engine on such actions, I believe that the State Department cannot go quiet during this crucial period. I will do everything in my power to prevent such a fate.

considering the promises made and not kept by the previous SoS on activity, and the importance of the job, how confident are you in saying that you can be and remain active?

I will point to my recent activity as Senator and Vice-Chair of the DA as an example of my current activity levels. Particularly during this severe slump in activity, it is extremely important for all officeholders, including the Secretary of State, to set a standard of activity. In addition, foreign policy, in my opinion, is a vastly unexplored avenue in rekindling interest in this game. Both of these natures of the Secretary of State are not lost on me. As such, I am highly confident that I will be able to remain active in the State Department.
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Pericles
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« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2021, 04:54:47 PM »

How will the nominee work towards an equitable distribution of vaccines globally, while protecting Atlasians, to protect us against the emergence of dangerous new variants?
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2021, 04:59:11 PM »

To the nominee:

1. How will you handle the situations that arise in Eastern Europe particularly with the Russian Federation's ambition to influence the Baltics and control prominent seaports?

2. What is your stance on climate change? How will you help facilitate international agreements regarding that?
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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2021, 05:40:59 PM »

I believe that a key aim of our foreign policy should be combating authoritarianism wherever it may arise. In keeping with that, I appreciate the nominees’ statements on policy towards China and Saudi Arabia. However, I would also like to know what his stance and approach will be towards hostile authoritarian states such as North Korea and Iran.
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« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2021, 06:17:36 PM »

I would like to ask the nominee's position on Israel and Palestine. Pending election results from the GM, we do not yet know who the Israeli Prime Minister is. However, I would like to know your general attitude regarding this conflict, if you support an independent Palestine, and if you and the administration would endorse a Senate resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood.
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« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2021, 06:24:39 PM »

Point of inquiry to anyone who would know or remember: where does Atlasia currently stand in regard to Iraq and Afghanistan? I don't recall this ever being addressed post-reset, but if we are still at war in these countries, we absolutely need to deliberate safe and responsible withdrawal, in conjunction with our NATO allies, and a functioning State Department would be key to that.
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« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2021, 08:45:11 PM »

Another question for the nominee: has the nominee and the administration discussed our policy towards Guantanamo Bay? If confirmed, will you prioritize normalizing relations with Cuba and closing the prison if not fully relinquishing the territory to the Cuban government?
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« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2021, 08:54:28 PM »

What steps do you think Atlasia should take to resolve the Cyprus dispute?
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« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2021, 12:20:55 AM »

Urgent matters for the nominee to react to; Israel has reelected Prime Minister Gantz and China looks poised to invade Taiwan.

The Citizen’s Dispatch
Volume VIII Part 1


China poised for war as world awaits Atlasian reaction


Quote
A blockade has been established around Taiwan as Chinese ships have taken control of the waters around the island free from Atlasian influence, and military analysts are considering a land invasion "likely" within the next few weeks. However, many say that gauging initial reactions from the Atlasian administration is key before China decides whether to engage in a war that, while winnable, would pose a greater threat to the nation than anything since the War four years ago.

Power in Taipei has been going on and off, but other cyberattacks have mostly stopped occurring. Before determining what will happen, it is necessary to evaluate the actions and responses from Atlasian authorities, within the next two weeks.

"The dragon will fly before October", a statement by a Chinese official on Twitter read. "And many will flee from the fire, and the sun will rise in the East". The Tweet was accompanied by a video reportedly showing a military exercise in a replica of a Taiwanese port.

The Taiwanese government has prepared its defenses, but many countries are looking to Atlasia for confirmation of its commitment to defend the island. If that is given, a war is likely. If not, the prognosis for the Republic of China is grim.


Israeli elections returns Gantz government with an expanded majority, as Canada, Germany, and Paflagonia prepare to elect leaders


Quote
Israel has once again painted itself Blue and White, as Prime Minister Benny Gantz's governing coalition is returned to government with a clear majority of seats in the Knesset. Many analysts are also stunned at the Likud collapse and Labor resurgence: analysts have concluded that Gantz's fierce nationalist rhetoric helped fuel his party and coalition's rise, and fed Likud's collapse of their power base as they lose their decade-long leader Netanyahu.

Meanwhile, in Paflagonia, as reports of General von Kummerspeck's death were confirmed two weeks ago, the election is to be held on the 20th of this month. Polls show a very tight race between the three candidates: short descriptions on each can be found on Issue VI of the Citizen's Dispatch, but most polls have Gen. Narriman slightly ahead of Ms. Bauer and Mr. Schmidt in what is essentially a tight three-way race. International observers have deemed the electoral process as a peaceful and orderly one, but E-Day is still a week and a half away.

Canada and Germany also have quite interesting elections, as most analysts would agree they both seem poised to oust their governing parties (the Liberals and the CDU, respectively). Canada's Tories are leading by around 5% in most polls, fueled by the collapse of the People's Party and a Liberal campaign filled with missteps. In Germany, CDU leader Laschet has proven to be disappointing, as the SPD surges above the Christian Democrats in most polls.
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« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2021, 12:21:00 AM »

Finishing up the prepared remarks for my responses to the preceding questions. I will then respond to the Citizen's Dispatch update. If any corrections are needed in light of the update, I will clarify my prepared remarks as necessary.

Edit: Scott, you beat me by five seconds Tongue
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« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2021, 12:40:35 AM »

Atlasia will never abandon Taiwan as long as I am President. I will be keeping a close eye on developments concerning the Republic of China.
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« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2021, 02:12:55 AM »

How will the nominee work towards an equitable distribution of vaccines globally, while protecting Atlasians, to protect us against the emergence of dangerous new variants?

I personally feel that this question has not been addressed enough. We must ensure there is enough vaccine distribution to meet the needs of our nation, but it has become apparent that we now have a significant surplus of vaccines in Atlasia and many smaller nations are in desperate need of vaccines. I would be in support of donating a portion of our vaccine distribution to nations in need. We should not donate all of our supply, because as you noted, dangerous new variants could arise that endanger Atlasians, but we must recognize that we are a part of a large world and must not hoard an excess of vaccines. Based on a report by Brookings, we will have a vaccine supply of anywhere from 700 million doses to 1 billion doses having already taken into account enough doses for our entire population. We must keep some of that supply here in Atlasia, but I would support donating at least a quarter to a third of that total.

In fact, I see such a donation scheme as actually providing protection to Atlasia as a greater worldwide vaccination rate would reduce the chance of new dangerous variants arising.

To the nominee:

1. How will you handle the situations that arise in Eastern Europe particularly with the Russian Federation's ambition to influence the Baltics and control prominent seaports?

2. What is your stance on climate change? How will you help facilitate international agreements regarding that?


We must work to strengthen our ties with nations on the border with Russia or Belarus, such as the Baltic nations, as you mentioned, but also with other nations in the region such as Ukraine and with with strong allies in the region such as Poland. As I have mentioned before, in any conflict, a State Department led by me will seek to work towards peaceful resolutions, and a large part of that philosophy is diplomacy. We will first work to support our allies and bring them closer into our sphere of influence, as opposed to engaging in direct conflict with Russia. However, Russia certainly is no stranger to turning an ambition to influence into all out conflict, as they have with Crimea and the eastern regions of Ukraine. A State Department led by me would be under no illusion that Russia would magically not decide to assert its influence by force in regions such as the Baltic states, and as such, if conflict arises, we will stand behind our allies -- providing them support politically and monetarily. If necessary, we will consider moves such as re-establishing the construction of the missile defense complex in Poland or the Czech Republic, though such a move would likely be perceived by Russia as a direct confrontation so it would be somewhat of a Plan C or D. We will always seek solutions in peace before war, and if Atlasia can diplomatically pressure Russia in the event of a direct provocation through sanctions and by assembling a diplomatic coalition of support in the Baltic region and in surrounding areas, we will certainly explore those options first.

Additionally, as I mentioned Belarus, I wanted to give it a brief mention as well -- a State Department led by me will fully support the recent opposition-led protest movement and condemn Lukashenko's authoritarianism.

Finally, I fully accept the climatological fact of climate change. We must act to do our part and I believe that the Paris Accord, while a step in the right direction, does not go far enough to truly keep warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. A State Department led by me will make it a priority to broker new agreements that are more ambitious than the current objectives, possibly modeled off of the Paris Accord in a diplomatic sense. Atlasia has the ability to lead on this issue, and we should take the torch and run with it.

I believe that a key aim of our foreign policy should be combating authoritarianism wherever it may arise. In keeping with that, I appreciate the nominees’ statements on policy towards China and Saudi Arabia. However, I would also like to know what his stance and approach will be towards hostile authoritarian states such as North Korea and Iran.

Authoritarianism will never be welcome under a State Department administration led by me. North Korea and Iran are no exceptions to this policy, and as such we will employ sanctions and diplomatic pressure against those nations whenever necessary. Obviously, direct military confrontation is off the table, but we will not turn a blind eye to either of those two nations and the horrific actions they have inflicted upon their people.

I would like to ask the nominee's position on Israel and Palestine. Pending election results from the GM, we do not yet know who the Israeli Prime Minister is. However, I would like to know your general attitude regarding this conflict, if you support an independent Palestine, and if you and the administration would endorse a Senate resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood.

I am indeed in favor of a two-state solution to end the Israel-Palestine conflict. It is my opinion that both Israel and Palestine are distinct entities, and the cultural ground truth is that a one-state solution is not feasible nor desirable. We will work with the new Prime Minister, no matter their party, to try and broker new peace talks to try and create some real common ground between the two sides. I am under no illusion that such an effort would be an easy undertaking though, and fully recognize that any solution to the conflict will need a concerted effort, one I am willing to commit to. Finally, my State Department would endorse such a resolution.

Point of inquiry to anyone who would know or remember: where does Atlasia currently stand in regard to Iraq and Afghanistan? I don't recall this ever being addressed post-reset, but if we are still at war in these countries, we absolutely need to deliberate safe and responsible withdrawal, in conjunction with our NATO allies, and a functioning State Department would be key to that.

While I, like you, also do not know the answer to that question -- neither conflict came up in my research of GM publications, though of course I may have missed an entry -- I do want to drive in on your last point. My State Department would fully endorse and lead a responsible withdrawal from Afghanistan. Two points have become exceedingly clear: Atlasia must pull out of our longest war and bring our troops home, but we must do it in a way that is responsible and causes the least potential for a return to power for the Taliban. If the situation on the ground is anything close to RL, then we full well know that Afghanistan is in no state to be able to fend off Taliban insurgents by itself. As such, coordinating a solution (that does not put so much trust in the ability of the Afghan government to defend themselves without involving us further) with our NATO allies and coalition partners in the region will be a point of paramount importance for my State Department. I would not oppose a withdrawal from Iraq, though we would, like with Afghanistan, need to hammer out the logistics and ensure all loose ends are tied up with our partners and the Iraqi government.

Another question for the nominee: has the nominee and the administration discussed our policy towards Guantanamo Bay? If confirmed, will you prioritize normalizing relations with Cuba and closing the prison if not fully relinquishing the territory to the Cuban government?

While a State Department led by me will certainly explore the possibilities of thawing relations with Cuba, a ceding of Guantanamo will not be one of them. While I have not discussed this matter with the President, it does seem we are in agreement:
I am awaiting input from the Secretary of State as to what the best answer here is. The naval base seems to be a vital national security interest.
I fully acknowledge that severe human rights abuses have been committed at Guantanamo. However, it is not my belief that ceding the base is necessary to curtail such abuses. I am open to closing the prison on the complex, as it is clear that the status quo must not be maintained, but the base is a vital interest for Atlasia.

What steps do you think Atlasia should take to resolve the Cyprus dispute?

Polling has shown that there is deep distrust on both sides to accept an agreement from the other. A first major step, before any actual concrete measures are taken, must be to figure out ways to restore trust between the two sides. I am in favor of a bicommunal unified federation for Cyprus, however, such a measure would be unlikely to be accepted without a thawing of relations between the two sides. Much work must be done on the island before the Greek and Turkish Cypriots can come to a solution.
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« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2021, 02:26:32 AM »

My response to the Citizen's Dispatch update:

On Israel:
My stance has not changed. We will continue to seek a peaceful solution with the Gantz government. While his nationalist rhetoric may make seeking a solution more difficult, that will simply mean we may need to adjust our strategies, but not our goal. Both Israeli and Palestinian citizens deserve a resolution to this dispute.

On Paflagonia:
I will await with interest the final results. However, we will work with whoever is elected to ensure Paflagonia's transition to democracy continues.

On China:
We will not desert Taiwan. Full stop. What happened to Hong Kong was already horrific, let alone letting an island of 24 million people go from a thriving democracy to a puppet state (or just part of the PRC). Abandoning Taiwan is also simply a bad long-term strategy for Atlasia, as allowing Chinese influence to encroach further erodes our support in the region and gives China a bigger opening. What exactly Atlasia must to do ensure the security of Taiwan is better left for a discussion between the State Department, the Administration, and the NSC -- I do worry discussing exact strategies on the Senate floor may not be in the best interest for our national security as unlike our earlier scenarios this event is now an active conflict -- but I will say that if confirmed, while I will always continue to seek diplomatic options first and will continue to seek them in this situation, if such options, along with sanctions and other diplomatic measures, are exhausted, we will not abandon our commitment to protect Taiwan. We will support the Taiwanese people, the citizens of a free and independent Republic of China.
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« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2021, 08:05:33 AM »

Considering the urgency of the Taiwan situation, I think it is best to confirm the nominee post-haste. I believe he has already proven that he knows what he's doing, and has a record of recent activity that shows me that he will do his job.
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Buehler-Kotek Voter 🇺🇦
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« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2021, 09:05:05 AM »

Considering the urgency of the Taiwan situation, I think it is best to confirm the nominee post-haste. I believe he has already proven that he knows what he's doing, and has a record of recent activity that shows me that he will do his job.
Agreed. If the current question backlog is clear we should proceed to immediate vote.
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wxtransit
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« Reply #20 on: September 10, 2021, 09:30:43 AM »

Considering the urgency of the Taiwan situation, I think it is best to confirm the nominee post-haste. I believe he has already proven that he knows what he's doing, and has a record of recent activity that shows me that he will do his job.
Agreed. If the current question backlog is clear we should proceed to immediate vote.

I believe I have answered everyone's questions, if I missed anyone or if anyone desires extra clarification, please let me know.
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« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2021, 09:33:18 PM »

Let me apologize first of all for my tardiness, and in addition for inadvertently holding up the floor vote – I will motion for an immediate final vote as soon as the nominee responds satisfactorily – but having caught up on the rest of the hearing I want to say I greatly appreciate Transit’s forthrightness in setting out his overall vision and  answering the questions he’s been asked so far in great detail, especially with regard to the all-important PRC-ROC situation and the Guantanamo Bay issue.

I’d like to expand on Spark’s question. As we know, China (and, to a lesser but still-considerable extent, India) remain major consumers of fossil fuels and any comprehensive worldwide climate agreement will go nowhere without their full support. How would you balance the ongoing diplomatic situation, especially in regard to China, with this urgent matter, in the event that either nation refuses to fully cooperate in such an agreement?
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« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2021, 10:10:56 PM »

I am also satisfied with the nominee's thorough answers and I reiterate my confidence in wxtransit to transform the State Department as a key institution that has sadly been neglected by past Secretaries of State. I look forward to voting to confirm the nominee so that we can reestablish our National Security Council and set a comprehensive foreign policy.

I personally believe that withdrawal from our twenty-year wars should be one of the first priorities of the State Department and the NSC. I also anticipate working with the Israeli government to create a two-state solution, and using our status as a superpower to end the illegal settlements in Palestine. Peace must always be priority one, and we should not hesitate to challenge our allies if they are an affront to peace.
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wxtransit
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« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2021, 11:30:43 PM »

Let me apologize first of all for my tardiness, and in addition for inadvertently holding up the floor vote – I will motion for an immediate final vote as soon as the nominee responds satisfactorily – but having caught up on the rest of the hearing I want to say I greatly appreciate Transit’s forthrightness in setting out his overall vision and  answering the questions he’s been asked so far in great detail, especially with regard to the all-important PRC-ROC situation and the Guantanamo Bay issue.

I’d like to expand on Spark’s question. As we know, China (and, to a lesser but still-considerable extent, India) remain major consumers of fossil fuels and any comprehensive worldwide climate agreement will go nowhere without their full support. How would you balance the ongoing diplomatic situation, especially in regard to China, with this urgent matter, in the event that either nation refuses to fully cooperate in such an agreement?

This question is excellent, and one that I had considered addressing when responding to Spark's question but decided to refrain as I had already elaborated on the Baltic question. We cannot ignore the fact that the Atlasia is not the largest emitter of carbon dioxide on the planet -- according to data from the (RL) EPA, Atlasia (the US) emits half as much as China does, though we do emit about twice as much as India. (Sidebar, but the EU, Russia, and Japan are also significant emitters and must be focuses of any comprehensive climate plan as well.)

Obviously, even under normal circumstances, getting a country like China to follow actions taken by the Atlasian government with respect to the climate will already be difficult. Now that we have entered a period of heightened tensions, however, such a coordination of climate actions will now be a gargantuan feat. However, I do not believe that such an effort is impossible.

First, we must not use any inaction from other parties as a license to continue to emit. We must, under any circumstances, do our part to slow climate change, because as you noted even with a potential conflict in East Asia, the stakes are quite high with how fast our climate is warming. Second, I believe that even with a potential conflict, we must still continue to keep a dialogue open with China and try to find common ground if possible, as I do believe that ruling out such an option is still premature at the moment. However, I do consider myself a realist, not an idealist, and I can recognize the obvious pitfalls with that strategy given that we are now in a state of heightened tensions. Increasing international pressure on China through direct and indirect means would be the next best solution, particularly by promoting innovative technologies that are more efficient and cost effective than alternatives that currently emit high levels of carbon dioxide, and I do believe that such international pressure works (for example, Xi Jinping's committment for carbon neutrality in RL based off of such pressure). Worst case scenario, if China does ignore any overtures from our government about climate change, I will mention that an option is consider measures such as sanctions, though given our current situation I would consider such an alternative highly undesirable. As you mentioned, we must balance these multiple pressing diplomatic concerns, and while significant action on climate must be taken (and if I have not made it clear enough already, if confirmed, I will be a champion for this issue), we must also consider the real concerns of provoking China further during a very tough diplomatic situation, and sanctions might do just that.

I do not have the same level of concern for India. While it is entirely possible India will not be easy to convince either due to the fact that much of their industry, the lifeblood of their economy, is responsible for their carbon emissions, I do think that one-on-one talks with the Indian government and negotiations will be far more successful at getting real action on the climate front. Organizing such collaboration will be a priority for me, and I think such collaboration also provides Atlasia an opportunity to bring India closer into our orbit through the donation of ideas and assistance to help decrease their (and our) emissions and help both economies thrive.

Additionally, and this point ties in to my discussion about ending China's hegemony in the Global South with respect to the Belt and Road initiative, we must not discount the emissions that China indirectly creates through its heavy involvement in international construction of infrastructure (energy and otherwise). With this situation, I believe that Atlasian ingenuity must be allowed to flourish. Our nation is still far and away the innovation capital of the world, and we should use the resources at our disposal to present the Global South with a better, more environmentally friendly, and potentially even cheaper alternative to China's infrastructure efforts. Such an effort would help our nation considerably on multiple fronts, something I expanded in an earlier response.

I am also satisfied with the nominee's thorough answers and I reiterate my confidence in wxtransit to transform the State Department as a key institution that has sadly been neglected by past Secretaries of State. I look forward to voting to confirm the nominee so that we can reestablish our National Security Council and set a comprehensive foreign policy.

I personally believe that withdrawal from our twenty-year wars should be one of the first priorities of the State Department and the NSC. I also anticipate working with the Israeli government to create a two-state solution, and using our status as a superpower to end the illegal settlements in Palestine. Peace must always be priority one, and we should not hesitate to challenge our allies if they are an affront to peace.

To be honest, I did not know that we were operating without an NSC, which if the foreign policy front had been more active would have certainly been a major issue. Additionally, I fully agree not only that peace is our first priority, but we must keep our allies in check as well if need be. While not an epithet usually applied to foreign policy, I fully believe that good friends are the ones who point out flaws when necessary for the betterment of everyone. Such a statement certainly would ring true under a State Department headed by me.
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« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2021, 11:44:21 PM »

The NSC is essential to strategizing and formulating our foreign policy. Historically we've deliberated with the State Department on a private Discord server, with the SoS scheduling meetings for appointed members.
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