Friday, June 2, 2017

National sovereignty or federalist hope

Donald Trump used the word "sovereignty" three times in the deplorable speech he gave yesterday to justify his decision to leave the Paris agreement on climate change:
“There are serious legal and constitutional issues as well. Foreign leaders in Europe, Asia, and across the world should not have more to say with respect to the US economy than our own citizens and their elected representatives. Thus, our withdrawal from the agreement represents a reassertion of America’s sovereignty. [Applause.]
“The risks grow as historically these agreements only tend to become more and more ambitious over time. In other words, the Paris framework is a starting point – as bad as it is – not an end point. And exiting the agreement protects the United States from future intrusions on the United States’ sovereignty and massive future legal liability. Believe me, we have massive legal liability if we stay in.
“As president, I have one obligation, and that obligation is to the American people. The Paris accord would undermine our economy, hamstring our workers, weaken our sovereignty, impose unacceptable legal risks, and put us at a permanent disadvantage to the other countries of the world. It is time to exit the Paris accord –[applause] – and time to pursue a new deal that protects the environment, our companies, our citizens, and our country."
Luckily, the president of the US is less sovereign than he thinks. Not only the European Union and the other powers of the world are not going to give up on fighting climate change, but sub-national powers and business leaders in the US are committed to respecting the Paris agreements to the best of their possibilities, as an article today in the New York Times reports. The world is evolving towards global federalism and national sovereignty is no longer what it used to be.

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