Friday, June 02, 2017

Trump's backing out of Paris agreement is just sad

Well, we all knew it was going to happen. President Trump has already reneged on so many election promises, he couldn't let one of this magnitude slip away too. But it still came as a slap in the face when Trump pulled the USA out of the Paris climate change agreement.
Well, technically, under the terms of the 2015 agreement, he can't actually do that until towards the end of his term. But yesterday he unequivocally expressed his intention to put America into an exclusive club, along with Nicaragua and Syria, as the only countries in the world unwilling to tackle the worldwide threat of climate change. Talk about "making America great again"...
Trump seems to think that Paris is just another deal that can be renegotiated in America's favour, just like all deals are infinitely renegotiable in his eyes. But the EU has made it more than clear that Paris is absolutely not renegotiable, and the rest of the world is moving on regardless of US unreliability and intransigence.
I could go on to rant about how most of corporate, political, municipal and scientific America has slammed the decision (with the glaring exception of most of Trump's closest Republican coterie), as has most of the rest of the world. I could describe how many states, municipalities and major companies have vowed to continue to pursue carbon-cutting policies regardless of the small-minded Mr. Trump's edicts. I could go on ad nauseam about how the decision was based on erroneous statistics and logic anyway. But the mainstream press has already done that, and  much better than I ever could. You can (and should) read it at your leisure.
I will just content myself with a personal reaction, albeit one that I believe will be shared by many. When I see Trump doing his best to dismantle one of the few structures and initiatives that has actually brought the counties of the world together over the last few years, my overwhelming feeling is sadness. Sadness for the world, sadness for the future, sadness for the majority of the American people, sadness for Barack Obama as he watches his legacy being undone, even sadness for Trump himself, as he becomes more and more of a ridiculous cartoon figure as time goes on.
Now, maybe he really does believe what he says, maybe he actually does love the working man as he claims (although forgive my skepticism about that). But hearing the tired old phrases be keeps trotting out for all occasions, contrary to expert opinion (not to mention the global Zeitgeist, my reaction lurches unpredictably between sadness and anger.
For a man whose catchphrase was (and apparently still is) "Make America Great Again", it is depressingly ironic that Donald Trump is currently presiding over a diminution in America's influence and prestige worldwide. It is increasingly difficult to take Trump and his beliefs seriously, and, increasingly, world leaders are just throwing up their hands in despair, and choosing to leave the USA out of their calculations. America is gradually alienating all its old allies and isolating itself, putting itself on a level with global pariahs like Syria and North Korea. Whoever thought that America could become an irrelevance in international politics, a mere afterthought!
If that's not sad, I don't know what is.

No comments: