Friday, June 2, 2017

#American isolationism is not new - #Trump #ClimateChange

By Rabba Naga
Hate him love him, Donald Trump is a bunch of guts! Taking on the global environmental lobby, a lobby of mega monies and huge multinational political clout is quite brave indeed. There is a lot being said about Trump abandoning world leadership, about China taking over the leadership etc. I will touch on the issue of the environment later, but first, the politics.
As of now, America has a public debt of almost 30 trillion dollars. It has been fighting its longest wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and it’s bleeding dry. Its industrial might has collapsed, looking at some of its cities you imagine you are in some Banana Republic.
Is America walking away or forced to walk away?
World domination and leadership is not a matter of WISH but MEANS. The collapse of the Soviet Union followed a 10-year war in Afghanistan. Of course, there were other long standing causes. But still, the collapse was fundamentally economic. Empires require money to sustain their imperialism. When the Soviet Union could not fund its satellite states and sustain its imperial power it became Russia and started rebuilding again. You now see a resurgent Moscow.
Can America sustain its global imperial expeditions in its current shape? I doubt it. After all, it is not the first time that America is adopting an isolationist posture. Its founding doctrine was actually isolationist. In fact, George Washington in his farewell speech warned America against involvement in European wars and politics.
Indeed, America was reluctant to venture out until Woodrow Wilson changed it when it got involved in world war 1. Even then, after world war 1, and aggravated by the great depression of the 1920s ans 30s, America went back to its isolationist policy until 1941 when Imperial Japan attacked Pearl Harbour and drew America into world war 11. Winston Churchill and other European leaders were quite uneasy with Roosevelt when he couldn’t intervene on their side when Nazi Germany was overrunning Europe.
Therefore, at the bottom of the Paris agreement, is the question of who will pick up the Cheque for the so-called climate bill. For instance, under the Paris agreement,100 billion dollars as climate cash per year is supposed to be paid from the rich countries to the poor ones by 2020. Some 62 billion dollars has already been paid and a third or more of this by America. The highlights I give here are not intended to minimise the urgency and dire consequences we face due to the adverse global impact of environmental degradation, but rather trying to show that the issue is more complex and anger alone, against Trump won’t solve it.
But, perhaps, my last point for now is, the $62 billion already paid out, what has it done? I hear a few solar panels in India, and Saudi Arabia, some wind station here and there, do these measures address the intended areas. From the Earth Summit in Rio to the Paris agreement of 2015, it is lip service and lopsided priorities. Perhaps that is why some just shrug off the Trump walkout.

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