Freakout in Paris

Here is another contender for most over-the-top reaction to President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord. Francois Hoisbourg, described as a French defense expert who advised President Macron during his campaign, said:

We have just witnessed President Trump putting an end to European-American relations.

Something must have been lost in translation — sanity.

Insane though it may be, the Washington Post, in a story by Michael Birnbaum, peddles Hoisbourg line:

A day after President Trump pulled out of a key climate agreement, declaring he was fighting for “Pittsburgh, not Paris,” an international realignment was already taking shape on Friday, as European and Chinese officials signed a raft of agreements to bind themselves tightly together.

The pullout left the United States a global outlier and, many European leaders and experts said, a severely diminished force in the world. And it gave China fresh weight in a newly unbalanced landscape where longtime U.S. allies are searching for stability.

Good luck finding stability in an alliance with China — an imperialist power founded on the uncertain sands of totalitarianism.

It’s not possible to take seriously, as a general matter, the Europeans’ threat to tilt towards China or India. Are the Indians and the Chinese going to intervene militarily to protect NATO countries, as the U.S. is committed by treaty to doing? Of course not.

But on the subject of climate change, India and China are the nations the Europeans should be working with. They are “problem children.” Good luck working with them in any meaningful way, though.

There’s an obvious distinction between Europe working with the U.S. on climate change and working with the U.S. generally. Naturally, the Post chooses to ignore it.

The distinction isn’t lost on French president Macron. Reportedly, he told President Trump:

The United States and France will continue to work together, but not on the subject of the climate.

Sounds like a sensible arrangement to me.

In the end, I think derision is the appropriate response to European complaints about the U.S. “failing to exercise leadership.” It’s not leadership to consent to what other nations earnestly want you to do when you have major doubts about its wisdom. That’s following, not leading.

The Europeans’ real complaint is that we’re not following them. But little in the history of the past few centuries suggests that following the Europeans is good policy, and you don’t rate followers when you don’t even pay for your own defense.

Trump may receive high marks here in the U.S. for declining to follow Europe on this matter of serious economic concern.

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