TRUMP BEINGS RESIZING U.S. ROLE ON WORLD STAGE PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vision Africa Magazine   
Thursday, 12 October 2017 11:42

WASHINGTON  President Trump's decision to withdraw from the historic Parts climate accord is the most concrete sign yet that his “America first” approach to foreign policy has begun to disrupt the global order and ultimately could cede Washington's dominant role on the world stage to China.

 

For arguably the first time since Washington built a web of military, trade and diplomatic alliances from the ruins of World War II, and assumed sole super-power status after the Cold War, a president has thumbed his nose at virtually the entire world  allies and adversaries alike  to follow a go-it-alone strategy in international affairs.

 

Trump's recent overseas trip left bruised feelings in Europe, especially after he failed to acknowledge the portion of the NATO charter that declares an attack on one member is an attack on all.  It appeared a startling repudiation of staunch allies that involved the charter to back U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

 

But his retreat on climate change  even if the commitments in the 184-nation Parts accord were voluntary and the U.S already has cut emissions significantly thanks to shale gas technology and more efficient cars  clearly marks a new chapter in U.S. foreign policy, one likely to ripple around the world.

 

It could affect the U.S. ability to enter into other international agreements, from trade to security, for example, since previous U.S. administrations were deeply involved in negotiating the Paris accord  and the United States is the world's second-largest carbon emitter after China.

 

It already has sparked a backlash in Europe, where Germany's public international broadcaster, Deutche Welle, warned that Trump's unreliability is pushing Europe to “pivot to Asia”, especially China.

 

Trump's unpopularity is so widespread in Germany that both Chancellor Angela Merkel and her challenger Martin Schultz have used him as a punching bag in campaign rallies ahead of September elections.

 

“We are looking at a real weakening of the leadership and credibility of the United States in the world”, said R. Nicholas Burns, former U.S. ambassador to NATO under President George W. Bush, one of a chorus of critics frustrated by Trump's decision.

 

While Republicans largely backed the White House, Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, described “a shocking reversal of American global leadership”.

 

China, Russia, India and other countries “will move in short order to assume our spot at the head of the climate diplomacy table”, Cardin said,

 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who had pressed Trump to remain in the climate deal, sought Friday to downplay the impact of the decision  without quite defending it.

 

“I think it's important that everyone recognize the United States has a terrific record on reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions”, Tillerson, former chief executive of energy giant Exxon Mobil, said at the State Department.

 

“I don't think we're going to change our ongoing efforts to reduce those emissions in the future either, so hopefully people can keep it in perspective”, he added.

 

His predecessor, John F. Kerry, who saw the Paris deal through under President Obama, was less diplomatic.  He said Trump falsely characterized what the accord required, what it would achieve and who would benefit from it during his announcement on Thursday.

 

“This step does not make America first”, Kerry told “CBS Evening News”. “It makes America last”.

 

This is hardly the first White House to disagree with allies.  In the 1970s, President Nixon's envoys threw their weight around over a strong U.S. dollar at a time when some European currencies were weak.

 

And President George W. Bush refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, a United Nations-brokered climate change treaty that took effect in 2005.

 

Then-Secretary of State Colin Powell later acknowledged that it was “sobering” to see how the decision crippled other U.S. diplomatic efforts.

 

 

Culled from Los Angeles Times.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 October 2017 07:47
 

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