By Patrick Brogan
The Trump administration announced it would be pulling out of the UN‘s Global Compact for Migration. This is part of a pattern since the former television celebrity took office. Is America turning its back on the world?
If you haven’t heard of this, basically it is a group set up so there could be a coordinated and coherent international plan in place to deal with migration and refugees in particular. There are over 60 million displaced people on the planet today and 22 million of these are refugees.
Looking at the crisis of the Syrian Civil War and the mass migration that it caused, any rational person could see the benefit of a sustained and cohesive international plan to help solve these issues. One would of though that nations refusing to take in migrants from these countries would see the benefit as it would stop vast amounts of people arriving at their doorstep.
While Western nations have seen a rise in anti-refugee sentiments, it is predominately poor neighbouring countries without the adequate resources that bear the brunt of this influx of people. Countries like Ethiopia, Uganda, Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan and Turkey are top of that list. Surely these countries have to be helped as most of them have done little to cause these wars in the first place? Added to this, most refugees come from either Syria, Afghanistan or Sudan, two countries the US has had military interventions in and the other they outright invaded.
The US pulled out of this strategic group because they claimed it undermined their sovereignty and that migration policy should be made by “Americans and Americans alone”. The group is non-binding and the first phase of this was nations using it as a platform to voices their concerns over migration, including the US. Are we being lead to believe that the most powerful country militarily and economically would not have its voice heard at such meetings?
This continues a theme of the Trump administration pulling out of international commitments, especially those that previous President Barack Obama signed up to. The most worrying of these was withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Why was this? Well, as Vox reported, his interests are in coal and the US used the UN as a platform to promote this. This follows on from pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and bizarrely, UNESCO because it was seen as being anti-Israeli because it recognises the Palestinian Authority, which, to some degree, so does Israel. Obama also had an issue with UNESCO, he stopped funding over something similar.
Donald Trump preached about getting the US better deals in international agreements. He wrote The Art of the Deal, nobody could do it better he told the American people. So far, all he has done is walked away from agreements already in place. America is in danger of becoming an isolationist state if these unilateral decisions keep taking place, and this is a real possibility as Trump has questioned other institutions like NATO. Maybe countries like China and Russia will take the lead on these global issues.
While one should always be weary of these global organisations and what they are trying to achieve, the benefits should also be recognised. Closer global cooperation is inevitable as the issues today challenge all countries. Why not pool knowledge and resources and tackle these together?
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