Tectonic Changes

Looking at the world political scene it seems as though the dam has burst now. Trump pulling out of the Paris Accord, Merkel declaring that the US & UK are no longer dependable, news that the EU and China are moving ahead together - the tectonic plates that have been straining for some time now are visibly shifting.

America pulling out of the Paris Accords will have more effect upon geopolitics than on ecology. Many people, cities, states and industries in the US will still go ahead with pro-eco policies and the world reaction to the American initiative may well make countries that were half-hearted become more vigorous in their green policies, so the real world effect upon global warming may not be great. We are still not doing enough, the problem remains enormous, but this Trump initiative is not the be-all and end-all of the matter. However, it is a highly significant diplomatic break between the US and the rest of the political world. We shall read of cooperation between the EU and China and the EU and Russia a great deal more in the future than we have in the recent past. Even if Trump does not get a second term, things will have already changed in some irreversible ways.

Broadly, this should be good for the world as a whole. The US will lose ground - this will not make America great - but some readjustment was surely inevitable. The cost of maintaining American dominance was bound to eventually become ruinous. The advent of Trump has accelerated the process.

The Trump Effect a Consequence of Deeper Forces

I can't help suspecting that the main motive behind Trumps diverse actions is that of erasing from the record of history every achievement of his predecessor. This is not driven by ideology, but by bitterness. We could analyse this in terms of the characters of these men, but what is more interesting is how history works so that such personal matters become levers in a greater process, a necessary transition. Trump ould have had the feelings he had about Obama whether he became president or not, but somehow America has thrown a man in that state into the presidential position. Groups get their work done in mysterious ways and human frailties set us up to be used by the larger scale process in whatever way that dynamic requires.

Russia: East or West?

At present, Russia is investing a lot in its relations with China, India, Pakistan and Iran. This turn to the East has been influenced by the hostility of Europe and America. The effect of sanctions has been that Russia has invited China to fill the gaps. However, as the rift between the EU and US widens and Europe repositions itself midway between East and West the possibility of a new start between the EU and Russia becomes more likely and I cannot help thinking that on grounds of cultural commonality Russia would really prefer to be in alliance with Europe than with East Asia if possible. The biggest obstacle may be the attitudes in East Europe in countries that were dominated by the USSR and still feel wary of Russian influence, but trade between Germany and Russia is already increasing quite rapidly, sanctions notwithstanding.

The UK Dithers

Will this all affect the UK election? It should do, but whether it will is another question. It should do because Eurexit is increasingly a reality. Brexit does not mean what it did at the time of the referendum - though astute politicians should have seen this coming (If I as an ordinary citizen could see it then they should - that's their job). UK leaving Europe effectively means UK joining USA - is this what people want? Probably not, and especially in present circumstances, but they go along blindly. Nonetheless, the evident connection between the May and Trump may still have an effect. It is still on the cards that the conservatives could fail to get a majority in the coming election. May would then, I imagine, resign. Who next? Amber Rudd? Who will be PM? The Conservative leader with a minority government - unlikely. Yet if Corbyn were to become PM in this circumstance it would not be an easy job. The signs suggest an election outcome that is either a small Conservative majority or a hung parliament, neither of which offers a prospect of a clear or confident way forward. Whoever is PM will have an unstable coalition behind them that could readily break up as soon as it comes under strain.

A Multi-polar World: Not "strong & stable" but undoubtedly more interesting

In the short run the biggest benefactor of Trump's climate decision will be China whose status as a world leader is immediately enhanced. It is, however, unlikely that China could get into the kind of dominant position that the US had in the late twentieth century. We are entering a multi-polar world. Hopefully this will, on the whole, be good news for the smaller countries. It certainly means less predictability. "Strong and stable" is already a thing of the past.

You need to be a member of David Brazier at La Ville au Roi (Eleusis) to add comments!

Join David Brazier at La Ville au Roi (Eleusis)

Email me when people reply –


  • Younger people voting is definitely a good sign. In the French election the turnout is extremely low. It is a paradox that we say we want stronger connection between the politicians and the people, but the people do not necessarily want to be bothered to participate, actually. There has been much talk of opinion polls being wrong, but they probably were right about the whole population, only wrong because not everybody voted.

  • Shreddies used to be my favourite cereal. The new PM looks a bit like the old one but more stooped and a bit depressed-looking. Hopefully she'll listen more than mark-1 seemed to do, and hopefully not just to the DUP and her Weetabix cronies. Nice to see the usual papers not able to claim that it was they that won it, as they like to think, so it seems, and at last, younger people seem to be voting in numbers and making a difference.

  • Watch the election. New PM tomorrow.

  • Vita BRITS might be more encouraging I would have thought.

  • Let's hope that weetabix does not turn out to be shreddies.

  • Very interesting. Very good to have something written which comes from a different angle to what I have read already. I like the word Eurexit. I hate the B word. I tend to use the word, Weetabix, which has many of the same letters but in a different order and is just as meaningful. I find Teresa May weird. She comes across as nothing at all. I'm no clearer understanding her motives than at the start of the campaign. I intend to vote this evening. With Weetabix happening regardless I'm not terribly hopeful, but you never know, as you write, change happens in odd ways.

  • A bitter man given power by a bitter electorate, that explains so much. It so needs saying that the US leaving the Paris accord is all about hegemony and not ecology.  The accord regarding limiting temperature rise to 1.5 Celsius is a bit late considering we are already pretty much there. My understanding is that the accord is limited to our increasing co2 only. Methane now seems to be the strongest driver of abrupt climate change, usurping even the efforts of humanity.  The accord to me is simply a device to allow unhindered economic growth while placating our fears of what may come.

This reply was deleted.