Anyone who thought last fall that inexperienced, silver-spooner Governor George W Bush would make an ineffectual, do-nothing US President with little presence on the world stage, has been proved wrong.
Less than a year into his Presidency, he’s already refused to endorse a United Nations’ plan for a permanent International Court for war criminals, announced plans to break the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty, rejected a new international agreement on the enforcement of a 1975 ban on biological weapons, and, most recently, refused to adopt the Kyoto accord in Germany.
No wonder he and his nation have become international pariahs, alienating even longstanding allies like Canada and Britain.
While the US increasingly treats the rest of the world like its very own combination Sandals resort, sweatshop, shopping mall and toilet, its policies grow more isolationist.
It supports globalisation only as much as it benefits the US economy and is totally, arrogantly and shamefully disinterested in protecting the economy, health and survival of the rest of the world.
Still, the US rejection of the Kyoto accord is more symbolic than practical.
Although it is the most comprehensive legally binding environmental treaty the world has seen to date, the watered-down agreement may well be too little, too late.
The very concessions that saved the accord mean the cuts in greenhouse gases by the world’s richest and most developed countries will be a marginal 5.2 per cent below 1990 levels, compared with the 60 to 80 per cent scientists say is necessary.
And according to environmental groups, the reduction will likely be closer to 1.8 per cent because of the European Union’s concessions on forest and agricultural land, carbon sinks that soak up carbon dioxide and can thus be set against national emissions targets.
Blame Canada for that particular compromise.
The Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien wouldn’t have adopted the accord without it.
The only good news is that the flexible framework of the agreement does allow new targets for periods beyond 2010.
The US is the planet’s biggest polluter, responsible for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
The devastating climate change caused by global warming affects poor tropical countries, those least to blame for the problem, the most.
The United Nations estimates that the costs of disasters attributable to climate change in the developing world, floods, storms, hurricanes, are running annually in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
There’s even been a call for developing nations to take the US to court over environmental damage.
After mismanaging its own supply for decades, the US now wants to tap into Canada’s water.
In Canada, we’ve certainly felt the impact of US pollution this past week, when Toronto faced its 14th smog alert of the year, due, at least in part, to warm southerly winds bringing up polluted American air.
Now, the United States is expressing serious interest in taking our water.
After mismanaging its own supply for decades, it is now facing an enormous water crisis.
Global warming is one contributor to the problem, environmentally unsound farming practices is another.
Farmlands and ranches in California and the Southwest are parched and existing water supplies cannot meet current demand.
Just prior to the G-8 summit in Genoa, much to Ottawa’s surprise and chagrin, Bush told reporters that he’s ready anytime to discuss a continental water pact with Jean Chrétien.
It’s a dangerous proposition to even consider.
Though the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) specifically excludes bulk water exports, if Canada does agree to sell water, free trade provisions will kick in, requiring that open trade continue.
So far, thankfully, Ottawa has said it isn’t interested.
But before we all get too smug, Canada doesn’t have much to be proud of either.
We sleazed our way through the talks in Germany, and now, the Canadian Prime Minister has a battle ahead as he aims to ratify the Kyoto protocol in the face of fierce opposition from the oil industry and Alberta Premier Ralph Klein.
Redemption is possible, however.
The cringing, hangdog attitude that the world assumes in the face of US bullying has to end.
It may be the only global superpower, but it isn’t more powerful than the rest of the world combined.
We can refuse to trade our water.
We can meet and exceed the Kyoto targets.
We can set a global example of making the sacrifices necessary to stem greenhouse gas emissions.
We could freeze the United States out.
If standing trade agreements make tariffs and sanctions against the US impossible, then global consumer boycotts of American goods, in particular, American oil, should be enacted.
Someone, soon, for the sake of the survival of this planet, has to say, loud and clear, “Yankee, go home and stay there.”
This article, published in FrontierPost, Pakistan. I too agree with some of the points she rised.