Australian news, and some related international items

Climate change, nuclear weapons, global health – the American election MATTERS

Can the world survive four more years of Donald Trump? 
 From climate change to nuclear weapons to global health — this election isn’t just about you, America
By POLITICO 10/8/20 This article is part of a special report, The Global Election.

A second term could set Trumpism in concrete

In the middle of a devastating pandemic, recurring nationwide protests and a bitter presidential election — not to mention the president’s own COVID-19 diagnosis — Americans can be forgiven for losing track of what Donald Trump’s presidency has meant beyond their borders. But the list of changes he has wrought abroad is not short.

A world order designed to function through slow consensus and underwhelming compromise, on a good day, has had virtually no coping mechanism for the American president’s disruption. In the name of putting America first, Trump has pulled out of one global deal after another, unpredictably reversing course on some of America’s biggest global priorities and moral commitments. He has snubbed democratic leaders and longtime allies while cozying up to Vladimir Putin and other autocrats. While the most important Western institutions — NATO, the European Union, the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the World Health Organization — are still standing, it’s an open question whether they will be able to survive another four years of pummeling and disinvestment by the world’s superpower.

So, what really happens if the world gets a second Trump term? ……….

Here’s what the world should expect if Trump remains commander in chief.

  • By Ryan Heath………. Some of the outlook is unsettling: Trump is already undertaking a nuclear buildup and seems set on dismantling the one remaining treaty between the world’s two main nuclear powers. And there is a real fear that a second Trump term would embolden the authoritarians around the world who have lined up to support him. ……..

Emissions come back, and America bows out

The climate crisis is a slow-moving disaster that hinges on single pivotal moments. Right now, the global community is planning around the year 2050, when experts say humans need to all but eliminate greenhouse-gas emissions to avoid the worst effects of global warming. But the biggest dates on the immediate calendar are November 3 and 4.

Reelecting Donald Trump on November 3 would put America, and possibly other countries, on a new and hard-to-reverse course away from that emissions goal……

 his abandonment of the Paris deal is still not official.

That pullout will be final on November 4, the day after the election.

A second Trump term would likely have a far bigger impact than the first, both domestically and abroad. The president would have more time to defend his deregulatory agenda in court, which could lock in rules that allow more pollution from power plants, leaking oil and gas wells, cars and refrigerants 

…… If the United States pulls out entirely, the Paris deal could start to fall apart, much as the earlier Kyoto Protocol climate treaty did without U.S. involvement. Saudi Arabia, whose economy depends on petroleum, has long played a role in trying to unpick the U.N. process from within. Some diplomats worry the Saudis would see the U.S. departure as the moment to walk out entirely. What will President Jair Bolsonaro do with Brazil? An exodus of such major players would leave the deal increasingly toothless. …………

Joe Biden is largely promising a reversal of the Trump approach. His platform calls for a $2 trillion investment to clean up the power grid, electrify the transportation sector, and aid minority and low-income communities disproportionately impacted by pollution. And he has pledged to rejoin the Paris accord and put the United States on track toward net-zero emissions by 2050 — though the details of how that will work, in an American economy still reeling from the pandemic, are far from clear.

  • By Catherine Boudreau and Karl Mathiesen

US becomes an ever more unreliable ally

…………The far more likely threat is that Trump would remain as NATO’s most influential leader, sowing uncertainty and chaos from within. “It is likely he would persist in disrupting, both politically and militarily,” said retired Lieutenant General Douglas Lute, who was U.S. ambassador to NATO from 2013 to 2017, and is now chief executive of Cambridge Global, a strategic consulting firm. ……

For military commanders, it’s Trump’s sheer unpredictability that is most unnerving. The worst possibility is unilateral military action, which Trump has shown a willingness to take with no warning to allies, as when he withdrew U.S. forces from northeastern Syria. …… — By David M. Herszenhorn

Nuclear weapons. A direct strike on the treaty system

On an existential global threat that often feels like a back-burner issue in U.S. politics, Donald Trump has quietly moved America into much riskier territory — and faces a decision point before February that has nuclear experts of both parties worried…….

If he stays this course in a second term, Trump will have made permanent the biggest nuclear buildup since the Cold War — while simultaneously unraveling the treaties that have steadily reduced the nuclear threat since the end of the Cold War.

A Biden presidency likely would pivot the United States back to its earlier approach, quickly. Biden and his advisers have pledged to extend New START without preconditions before it expires, and to scramble to rebuild some of the previous deals that Trump walked away from. Biden has also expressed support for declaring a “no first use” policy when it comes to nuclear weapons — replacing, for the first time, the purposely vague U.S. position on when it might actually resort to their use. Also, his advisers support proposals to pursue an agreement with Russia to take both nations’ nuclear weapons off “alert” status, a step that arms control advocates believe would do more than anything else to reduce the danger of an accidental nuclear exchange. …………

October 12, 2020 - Posted by | General News

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