At what point do they start laughing at us?… I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not the citizens of Paris
In a White House Rose Garden speech on Thursday, President Donald Trump announced that the US would be withdrawing from the 2015 Paris Agreement signed by almost 200 countries to combat climate change.
Trump cited his reasons for the withdrawal as his duty to protect “America and its citizens” and went on to describe the accord as “disadvantageous to the US to the exclusive benefits of other countries”.
The President stressed that funding the UN Green Climate Fund is “costing the US a vast fortune” and will negotiate a deal with better conditions for the US.
Following the President’s announcement, the US will immediately cease implementation of non-binding accord provisions.
The US will “withdraw from the Paris climate accord, but begin negotiations to re-enter the Paris accord or a new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States”.
The US becomes the third nation to not be a part of the agreement, joining Nicaragua and Syria.
A hard knock for US diplomacy
Despite US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s efforts to convince the President to stay in the accord, Trump succeeded in keeping with the theme of his campaign, “America First.”
While this decision might be hailed as a courageous act by Trump fanatics, there are drastic diplomatic consequences for the US, following this naive move.
During his first foreign trip, while meeting with members of NATO and the G7, President Trump did little to cement relations with other world leaders.
During a NATO summit, Trump once again echoed a familiar rant from his campaign days; “NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations… This is not fair to the people and taxpayers of the United States. And many of these nations owe massive amounts of money from past years and not paying in those past years.”
It’s evident that the Trump administration have a clear desire to create a disintegration of relations with western European nations. Countries that were once strong US allies during the Obama administration have now been forced to review their partnerships with the US in response to Trump’s mild hostility.
The US foreign policy has thus begun shifting from a state of leadership to a state of isolationism.
President Trump’s cantankerous personality does not bode well in the world of warm diplomacy. His audacity to claim that the US would be willing to renegotiate the Paris Agreement exhibits overwhelming arrogance.
To expect all 194 nations to come together again to alter the agreement because one nation is simply not happy is atrociously naive.
Trump firstly needs to understand that while he is the President of the United States and also one of the most powerful leaders in the world, his brazen approach towards global politics is simply unnecessary.
While he thinks he is greater than what he really is, the President is still very much a fish in an incredibly large pond, and his relatively new entry in the global diplomatic world demands him to be rational, co-operative and understanding.
Trump’s knowledge on global affairs is tentatively limited. Therefore, it is expected of him to observe and collaborate before rushing to devastating decisions in order to immediately fulfill campaign promises that will make him to appear strong.
The US exit from the Paris Agreement is a signal to other leading nations that America is rejecting the future and scientific proof that has been continuously presented and accepted.
But, judging by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s words, “The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over,” and other nations will not wait for the US to wake up and join the party.
Other signatory nations of the accord will continue in their pursuit of combating climate change without the US, and could see themselves reaping in the economic rewards of clean energy while the US lingers far behind holding on to their vanishing coal resources.
This is a testing time for US diplomacy. And without a clear vision of retaining strong relations with other world leaders, the US could soon see themselves positioned as a undesired outsider like Russia.