Donald Trump's decision to pull out of Paris Climate Agreement will create leadership vacuum, India should be wary of ramifications

With his 'US isolated' policy, Donald Trump is steering global politics into uncharted territory. His decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement will create a leadership vacuum in the world and India should be wary of the ramifications.

Trump, it is clear, is now ready to become what he had promised before the elections — a frog in the well — instead of the biggest shark in the world ocean that his job automatically entitles him to be. His decision to back out of the Paris deal that was signed by 194 countries of the world — only Syria and Nicaragua opted out — has conclusively proved that Trump can't look beyond petty interests. He is on his way to ensure the US loses its moral and political leadership of the world because of his myopic and puerile politics.

File image of US president Donald Trump. Reuters

File image of US president Donald Trump. Reuters

Trump's decision, as critics have pointed out, is based on questionable data and a shocking lack of concern for the environment. He has claimed the US would lose millions of jobs — 2.7 million by 2025, he assumes — because of the deal, not realising that the consequences of global warming would be much more disastrous and widespread. Also, as the The New York Times argues, he has failed to realise that the US economy will adapt to the changes and new regulations. Many companies have, in fact, argued that the market would open up and there would be more jobs.

Trump seems to be on his own trip of irrationality, insensitivity and faux-patriotism. While his own country would suffer the consequences of Trump's decision, the impact on the global order could be immense.

For one, nobody would now trust a country that is led by a whimsical president who comes up with illogical arguments to imperil the future of the planet. In his own backyard, Trump has been panned by politicians, environmentalists, CEOs like Tesla's Elon Musk and even the mayor of Pittsburgh, the city, Trump said he prefers over Paris. A president who doesn't command the respect of his own country is unlikely to get it from the rest of the world. And two, as he refuses to share the burden of the Third World in controlling global warming, competes with countries like India, the US would be reduced to a selfish entity with no moral, financial or political leverage. As Fareed Zakaria told CNN, the decision suggests the "US is retiring from global leadership."

Many experts had warned before the US elections that Trump will ensure the world becomes more vulnerable to Russian interference. His volte-face on the Paris Accord has ensured that even China and the European Union appear more magnanimous and responsible than the US and, thus, become more eligible to lead the world.

China's rise appears imminent with its firm commitment to the climate deal and its recent attempts to take its trade and financing to countries to its west with its plans to reopen the old Silk Route. Trump has ensured that China and the European Union work more closely on the accord to negate the impact of Trump's decision and position themselves as custodians of the environment.

India should be wary of the development. Already, Trump has given insights into his thinking by claiming his country can't be expected to cut down on carbon emissions while India and China continue to burn coal. (That is a fatuous argument considering that the US has been contributing to global warming for several decades while India is still a developing nation.) So, in a way, Trump considers India as one of the reasons behind his decision and, thus, an adversary.

China's rise in the geopolitical hierarchy would worry India because of the traditional rivalry between the two nations. China has been cosying up to Pakistan and several SAARC nations to pursue its 'String of Pearls' policy against India. Recently, India backed out of the Chinese One Border One Road summit, much to Beijing's chagrin. Obviously, ties between the two neighbours are strained.

If China manages to fill up the vacuum Trump seems so eager to create, India would have to reconsider its foreign policy in view of the rapidly changing global order.

Updated Date: Jun 02, 2017 16:50 PM

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