The US now stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Nicaragua and Syria against the rest of the world, thanks to the president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.
Brings to mind that old saw about the company you keep…
Truly it’s hard to fathom: Trump couldn’t find a way to abide a deal acceptable to our major trading partners, to our friends and enemies alike? America First? Baloney. We’re not first in environmental stewardship, that’s for sure. Yes, our industries are fairly clean, compared to many countries, but we nevertheless have been the top contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Hardly bragging rights.
An exceptional coalition, the likes of which is rarely seen, urged the president not to do this: Fortune 100 CEOs, environmentalists, nearly all scientific experts, nearly all nations, and many if not most of his advisors.
I guess on this if not on all issues, the president keeps his own counsel. Clearly this is not reliably a good thing. And it raises the question, why did he choose to make this decision?
On the strength of my post-doctoral work in armchair psychology, I am well equipped to wonder which was the more compelling consideration, in the president’s mind: keeping this particular campaign promise (he’s broken other promises) or the perverse delight of thumbing his nose at most of the world, in one simple (and stupid) gesture?
I find especially cynical Trump’s new promise to negotiate something better for both America and the global environment. Many heads of state have said very simply there is nothing to renegotiate. Of course we’ve no idea what Trump envisions; smart money says we’ll never know. Recall his pledge of a terrific health plan that covers everyone, is better, and costs less? I hope this is different. I doubt it will be.
Meanwhile — and ironically, given Trump’s posture as a candidate, when he often railed against the Chinese — he has handed the Chinese a useful wedge issue. In the wake of today’s announcement, the Chinese reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris protocols. Add to this the president’s oafish behavior with Europeans on his recent trip, where he went out of his way to demonstrate his lack of solidarity, and the upshot may be an unprecedented opening in Europe for the Chinese.
Especially in Germany. The president has gone out of his way to insult Germany. By not shaking Merkel’s hand. By saying the Germans were “bad” because of the cars they sell in the U. S. When in fact BMW makes tens of thousands of cars in South Carolina, and is a bigger exporter of American-made cars than any other car maker in America.
Ignorance! Or is it merely more mendacity?
With his decision on the Paris accord, Trump has insulted not just Germany, not just Europe, not just the majority of Americans who oppose this wrongheaded stunt, but the world. He’s said to the world, in effect, if it turns out there’s a problem, sure, I guess it’ll be our problem, too; but sorry, for now it’s all on you. We’re too busy making America great again, like with “clean coal.” What utter, shameful horse shit.
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