Thursday, June 1, 2017

Paris decision: Is Trump listening to liars?

Greg Sargent (Washington Post/Plum Line) anticipates what Trump may be poised to do about the Paris climate agreement: Trump is likely to pull out of the Paris climate deal. The rationale is based on lies.

Multiple news organizations are reporting that President Trump is expected to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord. Whether this ultimately comes to pass or not — some outlets are cautioning that a final decision has not been made — we do have a rough approximation of the reasons why he has entertained doing this up until this moment.

And these reasons are largely based on one sort of lie or another — some of them small, garden-variety, political hack-style lies, and others very profound lies with far-reaching significance.

For example consider Trump’s promise of more jobs if we screw over the environment and contribute to climate change.

Who believes Trump’s core supporters really care about the Paris accord? Yes, when Trump boasts about this at his next rally, they will let out a lusty cheer, because Trump told them that he tore up something with Obama’s name on it, and sent them cues that they should cheer him for it. (This is how these things work, the political scientists tell us.) But if he did not pull out, how many would even care or notice? Trump has failed to honor many of his economically “populist” promises — he’s slashing the safety net and has yet do anything meaningfully pro-worker on trade or infrastructure — and we’re supposed to believe the “populists” in the White House care about staying true to the economic agenda Trump ran on? Yeah, right. In fact, pulling out helps prop up one of the biggest lies Trump has told core supporters — that he is going to bring the coal industry roaring back.

… the “nationalist” case for pulling out of Paris … suggests international engagement is nothing more than a cause to believe national interests and sovereignty are being thrown to the lions in an “arena” where only the zero-sum struggle for advantage reigns. It does not allow space for recognition of what the Paris deal really is, which is constructive global engagement that serves America’s long term interests, as part of a system of mutually advantageous compromises. Ultimately, what’s really at grave risk here is a chance to reaffirm a reality-based view of the merits of international cooperation and diplomacy.

Those are my favorite lies. Check out Sargent’s column for more.

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