America First, America Last
Donald Trump offered a string of absurd justifications of his decision yesterday to withdraw the United States from the international accord on climate change. Trump described himself “as someone who cares deeply about the environment,” when in fact he has done nothing at all during his time as President to support environmental causes, has taken every opportunity to remove restrictions on pollution, and has created a thicket of new bureaucratic obstructions to environmental protection. Trump howled in outrage that the climate accord “effectively blocks the development of clean coal in America,” when in fact there is no such thing as clean coal, outside of the public relations fantasies that have been churned out by the coal industry for the last 20 years.
Trump shouted into the microphone, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris! I promised I would exit or renegotiate any deal which fails to serve America’s interests.” Of course, the climate accord was not the creation of the French. It was negotiated by leaders from around the world, including representatives of the United States. The final agreement was signed in Paris, and thus was given the nickname “Paris accord”, but it’s not designed to represent the citizens of Paris. The climate accord is global, and it’s designed to benefit the entire planet. Trump’s twisted argument that the accord was designed to benefit Parisians made about as much sense as the Republican movement to dump French wine down the drain in order to ensure that George W. Bush’s rushed invasion of Iraq would go well.
Trump tried to sell the removal of the United States from the climate accord as an embodiment of his America First agenda. He summoned the image of environmental activists getting rich by stealing money from the United States, complaining about “global activists that have long sought to gain wealth at our country’s expense. They don’t put America first. I do, and I always will.”
Anyone who understands how anthropogenic global warming works grasps that it doesn’t make any sense to claim that the United States can put its own interests first by pulling out of the climate accord. It’s as ridiculous as if a child in a house on fire claimed that he would put his own interests first by refusing to help put out the fire. Climate change does not respect Trump’s obsession with borders.
If Donald Trump truly wanted to put America First, he would take a stand against Russian interference in America’s democracy. He would fire all of the aides in his White House who have been secretly meeting with Russians, rather than promoting and protecting them.
Instead, yesterday, the Trump Administration is working to give Russia parcels of land in Maryland and New York so that Russian spies can have headquarters in the USA to do their work without interference.
With every step he takes, Donald Trump puts himself first, and puts America last.