Skip to main content

March towards isolationism (hindu )

Trump’s hostile stance on key issues is changing the terms of diplomacy

It was a diplomatic double whammy by the U.S. last week when President Donald Trump virtually held the countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the Group of 7 industrialised states (G7) hostage. The President’s near-repudiation of NATO’s key principles at the Brussels meet and the Paris Climate Accord at Taormina, Italy is the clearest sign yet of the diametrically opposite pathways the U.S. and its European partners have been traversing of late. The big difference, of course, is that the U.S. under Mr. Trump insists on going it alone; while Europe now has no option but to find its own feet. The normally circumspect German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, did not conceal her utter disappointment over the deepening rift among the Western allies on her return from the summit in the Sicilian town. She even implored the constituents of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) to remain prepared for greater global engagement, given the uncertain future that lies ahead. Notwithstanding the divisions that surface frequently in transatlantic relations, the security umbrella under NATO has been an article of faith in Europe’s post-war partnership with Washington. But Mr. Trump refused last week to reaffirm a commitment to the mutual defence clause, a reassurance his counterparts had hoped would allay their apprehensions over the extent of U.S. isolationism. However, to their dismay, he upbraided them on their supposed failure to contribute to NATO’s finances.

Washington remained equally unyielding at Taormina, both on the commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to advance global trade. A mere reference in the final G7 communiqué, to the promotion of multilateralism, was the only concession the other Western allies could extract from the U.S. President. That was enough for diplomats to put a positive spin on their otherwise fruitless efforts to prevent Mr. Trump from walking away without a categorical endorsement of the 2015 Paris Accord. As the country responsible for the world’s second-largest volume of carbon dioxide emissions, the U.S.’s refusal to cooperate risks encouraging other countries to lower their own treaty obligations. Some of Mr. Trump’s advisers sense an opportunity for Washington to renegotiate more favourable terms by remaining within the accord. Mr. Trump himself has indicated that he may pull the U.S. out of it. Meanwhile, the Earth has registered the highest temperatures on record in the past three successive years, a trend which portends the dangers of global warming. The warming of the planet by more than half-a-degree Fahrenheit between 2013 and 2016 was the largest temperature increase in a three-year time span since temperatures began getting recorded in 1880. Of the 17 hottest years on record, 16 have occurred since 2000. So far, the anti-establishment mood of recent years has largely coalesced around the opposition to immigration and globalisation in national elections. Mr. Trump’s hostile stance in the two forums last week has placed it on a wider canvas.

×

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

SC asks Centre to strike a balance on Rohingya issue (.hindu)

Supreme Court orally indicates that the government should not deport Rohingya “now” as the Centre prevails over it to not record any such views in its formal order, citing “international ramifications”.

The Supreme Court on Friday came close to ordering the government not to deport the Rohingya.

It finally settled on merely observing that a balance should be struck between humanitarian concern for the community and the country's national security and economic interests.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions, one filed by persons within the Rohingya community, against a proposed move to deport over 40,000 Rohingya refugees. A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, began by orally indicating that the government should not deport Rohingya “now”, but the government prevailed on the court to not pass any formal order, citing “international ramifications”. With this, the status quo continues even though the court gave the community liberty to approach it in …

Khar’s experimentation with Himalayan nettle brings recognition (downtoearth)

Nature never fails to surprise us. In many parts of the world, natural resources are the only source of livelihood opportunities available to people. They can be in the form of wild shrubs like Daphne papyracea and Daphne bholua (paper plant) that are used to make paper or Gossypium spp (cotton) that forms the backbone of the textile industry.

Nothing can compete with the dynamism of biological resources. Recently, Girardinia diversifolia (Himalayan nettle), a fibre-yielding plant, has become an important livelihood option for people living in the remote mountainous villages of the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

There is a community in Khar, a hamlet in Darchula district in far-western Nepal, which produces fabrics from Himalayan nettle. The fabric and the things made from it are sold in local as well as national and international markets as high-end products.

A Himalayan nettle value chain development initiative implemented by the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiati…

India’s criminal wastage: over 10 million works under MGNREGA incomplete or abandoned (hindu)

In the last three and half years, the rate of work completion under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has drastically declined, leading to wastage of public money and leaving villages more prone to drought. This could also be a reason for people moving out of the programme.

At a time when more than one-third of India’s districts are reeling under a drought-like situation due to deficit rainfall, here comes another bad news. The works started under the MGNREGA—close to 80 per cent related to water conservation, irrigation and land development—are increasingly not being completed or in practice, abandoned.

Going by the data (as on October 12) in the Ministry of Rural Development’s website, which tracks progress of MGNREGA through a comprehensive MIS, 10.4 million works have not been completed since April 2014. In the last three and half years, 39.7 million works were started under the programme. Going by the stipulation under the programme, close to 7…