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Here’s how Europe is to blame for Donald Trump’s climate change pullout

US President Trump’s decision to pullout of the Paris Climate Change Treaty is simply the latest example of US unilateralist behaviour in which – eg. over the ABM Treaty and NATO’s eastward expansion – the Europeans have previously colluded.

Alexander Mercouris

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Following swiftly upon Donald Trump’s unhappy NATO and G7 summits in Europe, and Angela Merkel’s incendiary comment that Europe can no longer look to the US for protection, comes Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Change Treaty.

I accept the scientific consensus about climate change.  Accordingly I consider Trump’s decision to be a serious mistake.  I am at a loss however to understand the surprise.

It seems that Donald Trump has not always been consistent about the Climate Change Treaty.  However the previous Republican administration in the US – that of George W. Bush – was openly skeptical about climate change, and much of the Republican party also is.

In addition Donald Trump’s close connections to the US oil industry have become very clear since his election.  After all he has taken the unusual step of appointing Rex Tillerson, the former chief executive of Exxon-Mobil, to be his Secretary of State.

It seems that during the election Trump made his skepticism about the Climate Change Treaty clear, and given this stance and his outspoken support for the US oil and coal industries there is nothing surprising about his decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Change Treaty which he has announced today.

What this episode in fact shows is something which by now ought to be obvious, which is that the US can never be relied upon to stick by its commitments, and that no US administration feels itself bound by commitments made by its predecessors.

The most egregious example of this in recent years was the George W. Bush administration’s decision in 2002 to pull out of the ABM Treaty the US had agreed with the USSR in 1972 so that it could press ahead with its various anti ballistic missile projects, which despite the increasingly thin denials, have always been directed against China and Russia.

The Obama administration – whose Paris Climate Change Treaty Trump has now pulled out of – went along with this, and despite appearing to promise the Russians the contrary, also pressed ahead with the US’s anti ballistic missile projects, which are of a sort that the ABM Treaty once outlawed.

European governments – now so outraged by President Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Change Treaty – not only did not object to the George W. Bush administration’s decision to pull out of the ABM Treaty.  They have actively colluded in the profoundly destabilising and dangerous anti ballistic missile projects which the George W. Bush and Obama administrations have engaged in since that decision.

The US’s pullout of the ABM Treaty, and the collusion of European governments in that step, comes on top of the even grosser breach of the promise the US together with NATO’s European governments made to the USSR in 1989 and 1990, that in the event that the USSR agreed pulled its troops out of East Germany and agreed to German reunification there would be no expansion of NATO eastward beyond the borders of Germany.

Neither the Bill Clinton administration nor the George W. Bush administration have abided by that promise, and nor since then has any other US administration either.

European governments for their part have again happily colluded in this breach of promise.

If the US pulling out a treaty that it has signed and going back on a commitment it has made has now become so commonplace, why are the Europeans so angry and so surprised that it has again happened?

Some European leaders undoubtedly care about climate change, and large sections of the European public undoubtedly do.  However it is worth pointing out that the risk to humanity resulting from the US decisions to break the promise against NATO’s eastward expansion and to pull out of the ABM Treaty, are at least as great, and probably much greater, than the risks from the US pulling out of the Paris Climate Change Treaty, since they have greatly increased the risk of nuclear war.  Yet though the danger to humanity from nuclear war is at least as great as the danger from climate change – and probably much greater – European leaders and the European public never protested those decisions.

The key difference is of course that the promise not to expand NATO eastward was made to the Russians, and the ABM Treaty was agreed with the Russians.  European leaders, and the European public, care little about promises given to the Russians which are subsequently broken, or about treaties which are agreed with the Russians that the US subsequently pulls out of.  By contrast – as the reaction to the US pullout from the Paris Climate Change Treaty shows, they care a great deal about the US breaking promises and pulling out of treating it has made with them.

In my previous discussion about Donald Trump’s NATO summit I pointed out that what most upsets European leaders about Donald Trump’s attitude to NATO is that he doesn’t treat NATO and the Western alliance in general as a common ideological and geopolitical enterprise between the US and its European allies, but talks of it instead in transactional terms.

Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Change Treaty provokes European anger for the same reason.  It is one thing when the US breaks promises and pulls out of treaties it has made with the Russians.  For the Europeans it is quite another when the US breaks promises or pulls out of treaties it has made with themselves.  That is the US treating the Europeans like it – and they – treat the Russians, and the Europeans don’t like it at all.

For all the rage and the strong words today, no one should be in any doubt that following Donald Trump’s move the Paris Climate Change Treaty is dead.   As Russian President Putin is reported to have all but said today, without the US the Paris Climate Change Treaty is unworkable.   European leaders contemplating that fact might care to consider that by constantly colluding in US unilateral actions and breaches of promise around the world, they have helped to create the unilateralist mindset which has today resulted in the death of a treaty they care so much.

If the fact upsets them so much, then they should consider the upset such behaviour they have previously colluded in has done to others.

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BREXIT chaos, as May’s cabinet crumbles (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 18.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at the various scenarios now facing a crumbling May government, as the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is forcing cabinet members to resign in rapid succession. The weekend ahead is fraught with uncertainty for the UK and its position within, or outside, the European Union.

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If Theresa May’s ill-fated Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is eventually rejected this could trigger a vote of no confidence, snap elections or even a new referendum…

Here are six possible scenarios facing Theresa May and the UK (via The Guardian)

1 Parliament blocks Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement and political declarations

May faces an enormous task to win parliamentary approval, given that Labour, the SNP, the DUP and 51 Tories have said they will not vote for it.

If the remaining 27 EU member states sign off the draft agreement on 25 November, the government will have to win over MPs at a crucial vote in early December.

If May loses the vote, she has 21 days to put forward a new plan. If she wins, she is safe for now.

2 May withdraws the current draft agreement

The prime minister could decide that she will not get the draft agreement through parliament and could seek to renegotiate with the EU.

This would anger Tory backbenchers and Brussels and would be seen as a humiliation for her government. It might spark a leadership contest too.

3 Extend article 50

May could ask the European council to extend article 50, giving her more time to come up with a deal that could be passed by parliament – at present, the UK will leave on 29 March 2019.

Such a request would not necessarily be granted. Some EU governments are under pressure from populist parties to get the UK out of the EU as soon as possible.

4 Conservative MPs trigger a vote of no confidence in the prime minister

If Conservative MPs believe May is no longer fit for office, they could trigger a no-confidence vote.

Members of the European Research Group claim that Graham Brady, the chair of the powerful 1922 Committee, will receive the necessary 48 letters this week.

A vote could be held as soon as early next week. All Tory MPs would be asked to vote for or against their leader. If May wins, she cannot be challenged for at least 12 months. If she loses, there would be a leadership contest to decide who will become prime minister.

5 General election – three possible routes

If May fails to get support for the current deal, she could call a snap general election.

She would table a parliamentary vote for a general election that would have to be passed by two thirds of MPs. She would then set an election date, which could be by the end of January.

This is an unlikely option. May’s political credibility was severely damaged when she called a snap election in 2017, leading to the loss of the Conservative party’s majority.

Alternatively, a general election could be called if a simple majority of MPs vote that they have no confidence in the government. Seven Tory MPs, or all of the DUP MPs, would have to turn against the government for it to lose the vote, triggering a two-week cooling-off period. May would remain in office while MPs negotiate a new government.

Another route to a general election would be for the government to repeal or amend the Fixed-term Parliaments Act which creates a five-year period between general elections. A new act would have to be passed through both the Commons and the Lords – an unlikely scenario.

6 Second referendum

May could decide it is impossible to find a possible draft deal that will be approved by parliament and go for a people’s vote.

The meaningful vote could be amended to allow MPs to vote on whether the country holds a second referendum. It is unclear whether enough MPs would back a second referendum and May has ruled it out.

 

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Brexit Withdrawal Agreement may lead to Theresa May’s downfall (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou

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The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement has been published and as many predicted, including Nigel Farage, the document is leading to the collapse of Theresa May’s government.

During an interview with iTV’s Piers Morgan, remain’s Alistair Campell and leave’s Nigel Farage, were calling May’s Brexit deal a complete disaster.

Via iTV

Alastair Campbell: “This doesn’t do remotely what was offered…what is the point”

“Parliament is at an impasse”

“We have to go back to the people” …”remain has to be on the ballot paper”

Nigel Farage:

“This is the worst deal in history. We are giving away in excess of 40B pounds in return for precisely nothing. Trapped still inside the European Union’s rulebook.

“Nothing has been achieved.”

“In any negotiation in life…the other side need to know that you are serious about walking away.”

“What monsieur Barnier knew from day one, is that at no point did Theresa May intend to walk away.”

“Fundamental matter of trust to the electors of our country and those who govern us.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, and why the deal is a full on victory for the European Union and a document of subjugation for the United Kingdom.

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Coming in at 585 pages, the draft agreement will be closely scrutinized over the coming days but here are some of the highlights as outlined by Zerohedge

  • UK and EU to use the best endeavours to supersede Ireland protocol by 2020
  • UK can request extension of the transition period any time before July 1st, 2020
  • EU, UK See Level-Playing Field Measures in Future Relationship
  • Transition period may be extended once up to date yet to be specified in the text
  • EU and UK shall establish single customs territory and Northern Ireland is in same customs territory as Great Britain

The future relationship document is less than seven pages long. It says the U.K. and EU are seeking a free-trade area with cooperation on customs and rules: “Comprehensive arrangements creating a free trade area combining deep regulatory and customs cooperation, underpinned by provisions ensuring a level playing field for open and fair competition.”

The wording might raise concerns among Brexiters who don’t want regulatory cooperation and the measures on fair competition could amount to shackling the U.K. to EU rules.

As Bloomberg’s Emma Ross-Thomas writes, “There’s a clear sense in the documents that we’re heading for a customs union in all but name. Firstly via the Irish backstop, and then via the future relationship.”

Separately, a government summary of the draft agreement suggests role for parliament in deciding whether to extend the transition or to move in to the backstop.

But perhaps most importantly, regarding the controversial issue of the Irish border, the future relationship document says both sides aim to replace the so-called backstop – the thorniest issue in the negotiations – with a “subsequent agreement that establishes alternative arrangements for ensuring the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland on a permanent footing.”

On this topic, recall that the U.K.’s fear was of being locked into the backstop arrangement indefinitely in the absence of a broader trade deal. The draft agreement includes a review process to try to give reassurance that the backstop would never be needed. Basically, the U.K. could choose to seek an extension to the transition period – where rules stay the same as they are currently – or opt to trigger the backstop conditions. In fact, as Bloomberg notes, the word “backstop,” which has been a sticking point over the Irish border for weeks, is mentioned only once in the text.

As Bloomberg further adds, the withdrawal agreement makes clear that the U.K. will remain in a single customs area with the EU until there’s a solution reached on the Irish border. It’s what Brexiteers hate, because it makes it more difficult for the U.K. to sign its own free-trade deals, which they regard as a key prize of Brexit.

Predictably, EU Commission President Juncker said decisive progress has been made in negotiations.

Meanwhile, as analysts comb over the documents, Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group, has already written to Conservative lawmakers urging them to vote against the deal. He says:

  • May is handing over money for “little or nothing in return”
  • The agreement treats Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the U.K.
  • It will “lock” the U.K. into a customs union with the EU
  • It breaks the Tory election manifesto of 2017

The full document…

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4 resignations and counting: May’s government ‘falling apart before our eyes’ over Brexit deal

The beginning of the end for Theresa May’s government.

The Duran

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Via RT


Four high profile resignations have followed on the heels of Theresa May’s announcement that her cabinet has settled on a Brexit deal, with Labour claiming that the Conservative government is at risk of completely dissolving.

Shailesh Vara, the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office was the first top official to resign after the prime minister announced that her cabinet had reached a draft EU withdrawal agreement.

An hour after his announcement, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab – the man charged with negotiating and finalizing the deal – said he was stepping down, stating that the Brexit deal in its current form suffers from deep flaws. Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, submitted her letter of resignation shortly afterwards. More resignations have followed.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jon Trickett, predicted that this is the beginning of the end for May’s government.

The government is falling apart before our eyes as for a second time the Brexit secretary has refused to back the prime minister’s Brexit plan. This so-called deal has unraveled before our eyes

Shailesh Vara: UK to be stuck in ‘a half-way house with no time limit’

Kicking off Thursday’s string of resignations, Vara didn’t mince words when describing his reservations about the cabinet-stamped Brexit deal.

Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement leaves the UK in a “halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally become a sovereign nation,” his letter of resignation states. Vara went on to warn that the draft agreement leaves a number of critical issues undecided, predicting that it “will take years to conclude” a trade deal with the bloc.

“We will be locked in a customs arrangement indefinitely, bound by rules determined by the EU over which we have no say,” he added.

Dominic Raab: Deal can’t be ‘reconciled’ with promises made to public

Announcing his resignation on Thursday morning, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: “I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”

Raab claimed that the deal in its current form gives the EU veto power over the UK’s ability to annul the deal.

No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime.

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said that Raab’s resignation as Brexit secretary is “devastating” for May.

“It sounds like he has been ignored,” he told the BBC.

Raab’s departure will undoubtedly encourage other Brexit supporters to question the deal, political commentators have observed.

Esther McVey: Deal ‘does not honor’ Brexit referendum

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey didn’t hold back when issuing her own letter of resignation. According to McVey, the deal “does not honour” the result of the Brexit referendum, in which a majority of Brits voted to leave the European Union.

Suella Braverman: ‘Unable to sincerely support’ deal

Suella Braverman, a junior minister in Britain’s Brexit ministry, issued her resignation on Thursday, saying that she couldn’t stomach the deal.

“I now find myself unable to sincerely support the deal agreed yesterday by cabinet,” she said in a letter posted on Twitter.

Suella Braverman, MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the EU © Global Look Press / Joel Goodman
Braverman said that the deal is not what the British people voted for, and threatened to tear the country apart.

“It prevents an unequivocal exit from a customs union with the EU,” she said.

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