The Foreign Service Journal - July/August 2017
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Paris Agreement—

U.S. Withdraws,

the World Reacts


resident Donald Trump announced

on June 1 that the U.S. would pull out

of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The United States’ role in the

agreement had been under discus-

sion throughout the president’s recent

overseas trip to the Middle East and

Europe. From the Vatican, where Pope

Francis presented Pres. Trump with a

signed copy of a papal encyclical calling

for cooperation in combating climate

change, to the NATO summit in Brussels,

climate change remained at the forefront.

In a speech announcing his deci-

sion, Pres. Trump declared that the Paris

Agreement was a “bad deal” for the

United States and that compliance with

“the onerous energy restrictions it has

placed on the United States” would cause

damage to the U.S. economy.

The reaction fromworld leaders has


been uniformly negative. German, French

and Italian leaders issued a rare joint statement shortly after the president’


announcement, in which they regretted

the president’s decision and stated: “We

deem the momentum generated in Paris

in December 2015 irreversible.”

Describing the Paris Agreement as a

“vital instrument for our planet, societies

and economies,” European leaders also

rejected the president’s suggestion that

the agreement could be renegotiated with

terms more favorable to the United States.

China and India both took the oppor-

tunity to reaffirm their commitment to

the Paris Agreement and cooperation

with the European Union in economic

and technological matters.

Apart from the environmental consid-

erations, there are also concerns that the

decision will damage the United States

in the eyes of the international com-

munity. The United States is now one of

only three countries not to be a part of

the Paris Agreement (the other two are

Nicaragua, who felt the terms did not go

far enough, and Syria), and some nations

are questioning whether America wishes

to retain the United States’ unofficial title

as “leader of the free world.”

In the meantime, non-U.S. govern-

ment actors in the United States—promi-

nent U.S. companies, numerous mayors,

the state of California and others—are

issuing statements of support for the

agreement, and promising to abide by it.

—Gemma Dvorak, Associate Editor

Business Leaders

Back State Department


O n May 22, 225 business leaders from across the United States joined the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition in send-

ing a letter calling on Secretary of State

Rex Tillerson to support a strong budget

for U.S. foreign affairs agencies.

Recognizing that 95 percent of the

world’s consumers live outside the United

States, the letter reminded Sec. Tiller-

son of the role played by diplomats and

development experts in opening up new

markets for U.S. exports, strengthening

America’s economic interests abroad and

supporting jobs within the United States.

“Strategic investments in diplomacy

and development make America safer

and more prosperous,” the letter con-

tinues. “Our embassies and consulates

around the world are essential partners

for American businesses to ensure we can

compete on a level playing field. Trade

promotion programs have helped drive

American exports, which today make up

almost 13 percent of America’s $18 trillion

economy and support about one in five

American jobs.”

Chris Policinski, president and CEO

of Land O’Lakes, Inc., a farmer-owned

agricultural cooperative, said: “The bang

Heard on the Hill


FSA continues to see an

outpouring of support for the

Foreign Service, the Department

of State and USAID. Many public figures are stepping forward to

defend diplomacy and development

as the most cost-effective national

security tools. Here are just a few:

“The work that our diplomats do in

the field to advance American inter-

ests under difficult circumstances is

undervalued. I salute members of the

State Department because they put

their lives on the line.”

—Representative Gregory Meeks

(D-N.Y.), at a House Foreign Affairs

Committee hearing, May 18

“There’s nothing ‘soft’ about what

the State Department does and what

they can do for American security.”

—Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.),

in an interview at the Council on

Foreign Relations, April 10

“A 29 percent cut [from the State

Department’s budget] means you

really have to withdraw from the

world because your presence is com-

promised. That may be the goal of

this budget. It’s not my goal. This guts

soft power as we know it.”

—Senator Lindsey Graham

(R-S.C.), chair of the Senate

Appropriations Subcommittee on

State, Foreign Operations,

and Related Programs, May 23