Hillary Clinton’s campaign had a simple slogan, just like Trump’s campaign. It was “Stronger Together” and I’ve turned it to the negative, “Weaker Apart.” I am referring to actions by the Trump administration to breach or terminate any multinational agreement which it perceives is not in the best interest of the US. Trump likes to think of himself as this incredibly skilled negotiator who can be get better deals usually on a bilateral basis.
I don’t see a global approach to problems as an option, but rather as a necessity. We don’t solve nuclear proliferation, climate change or fair trade (Trump’s biggest concern) on our own. Unilateral sanctions on countries whom we have disagreements (Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, Iran, to name a few) are generally failures.
I commented before on how confused Trump’s policies were China, seeking their help in pressuring North Korea to denuclearize and simultaneously attacking them as a currency manipulator and promoting unfair trade practices. Secretary of State last visit to China, failed for exactly these reasons – see New York Times article.
Getting tough on Iran with new sanctions is also backfiring. It has created a sort of odd unity between EU leaders and Iran, that desperately wants to keep the Iran accords alive as this provides constant monitoring of Iran’s uranium enrichment sites. Meanwhile Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in an interview with CNN Fareed Zakaria, is not following Trump’s game plan of high level meetings to work out a new accord. He rightly says that the accord took years to reach, and was comprehensive covering uranium enrichment, reprocessing, monitoring and sanction relief. The International Atomic Energy Agency was given full access to Iran’s nuclear facilities and confirmed Iran has been in compliance. Zarif pointed out there is no sense in sitting down with the US to work out a new agreement, when they are presently in violation of the existing accord. Having the two leaders meet at this point, would just be a PR “photo shoot.”
Perhaps there is no area that is so clearly a global problem and costly to the US than climate change. The Paris Accords was, to most environmentalists, a weak plan as each government could set their own goals to reducing carbon emissions. But it was an incredible achievement, nevertheless to have each country acknowledge the need for positive action to reduce their carbon emissions. The proposed rollback of car mileage standards, means more gas will be consumed in each car, and more carbon emissions. Americans will foot the bill, not only paying more for gasoline but also in health related problems. This impacts around 25 million asthma suffers.
I have provided a link below on likely battle which will ensue over the EPA rules change on car emissions. US car emission standards will be lowered below California’s emission standard, setting off another court challenge. Republicans, who traditionally support the states in these issues, will suddenly now be on the side of Trump and his business friendly EPA. See links.
Global warming does not create hot weather, every day of the week. Instead, it makes extreme weather events more likely. The hurricanes may not be more frequent with global warming, but they are likely to be more laden with water, and have time to intensity. In time, storm surge will increase due to rising sea levels. The result is more flooding, the really destructive part of hurricanes in terms of human injury and death.
A comment from Christine Whitman, former EPA administrator under George W. Bush.
“There’s not an ideological push here, there’s just, ‘We’re going to do whatever industry wants, and if Obama did anything, it’s bad and we’ll undo it,’” Christine Todd Whitman, the EPA administrator under former President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2003, said in a phone interview. “I don’t think the president has thought through what used to be a basic principle of Republicans, and that’s states’ rights.”
Christine Whitman is a lifetime Republican, who recognizes the need for clean air and water is not a political matter.
The efforts of the Trump administration are not making America Great, it is giving in to polluters, and rejecting the international cooperative effort.
So. why are we weaker apart? Increase inflation due to trade wars with China, increase danger of a nuclear arms in Iran, as a result of our breaking the Accord, increase gas costs as we attempt to force Iran to the negotiating table, and sadly, more carbon emissions, which we will pay for with cars that get fewer miles to the gallon.
Not great, In the long term just dumb. Regaining our leadership role in the world might have a change in 2020, with a new leader.
Note: I believe I’ve correctly summarized their findings. The article is primarily on Atlantic hurricanes. Typhoon Mangkhut was a terrible storm, and the death count (~80) will likely increase as recovery efforts are underway. Many more people die after a typhoon or hurricane than during one.