Below is the text of a recent letter my wife Jean and I sent to the editor of our local newspaper, the Sun Chronicle, occasioned by President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. For those who like to read more we included a reference to Jesus’ teaching about servanthood. The contrast is stark with Trump’s transactional view of the world.
The First Will Be Last (Matthew 20:16, 26).
President Trump’s recent assertion of his America First foreign policy has resulted in the undermining of NATO and the Paris Climate Agreement. The leadership that the USA has historically provided on important world issues is absent, and is being ceded to others. That leadership has been replaced with whining about not getting a fair deal. There is no sense that America does something because it is right and good for humankind. Being rude and disrespectful to other nations, especially our friends and allies, will invite a like response. The Golden Rule applies in politics as well as all walks of life: treat others as you would like them to treat you.
America First has its roots in the opposition to involvement in World War II, promoting an isolationist approach. It collapsed when the Pearl Harbor attack happened. Donald Trump has adopted it as his foreign policy, but it is a reversal of the role the USA has played in the world since World War II. As that America First policy failed when Nazism threatened the stability of the world, so it will fail as the world faces the crisis of climate change. If we as a nation stay on the sidelines, we will be seen as increasingly irrelevant to the central challenge that faces the world in the 21st century. Stephen Hawking, the renowned theoretical physicist, says the human race has about 100 years to find another planet on which to live. Whether that is overly pessimistic we do not know, but the situation is dire and requires inspiring and heroic leadership, not the abdication of leadership.
John and Jean Fisk, Attleboro