Political Elites and Activists Blinded to Real Solutions on Climate Change and Trade
The Paris Climate Change Deal and free trade agreements like the US-led Transpacific Partnership (TPP), Chinese-led Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), and the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) highlight the aspirations of the International Community. The ongoing failure to cope with mounting international crises, such as the Syrian Civil War and the Ukraine Crisis, which are dominated by backstabbing, infighting, and conspiracy theories, make progress on lofty goals like preventing global warming a welcome change.
Unfortunately, political deals that fail to implement economic and technological solutions will always create more problems than they solve, because they avoid the real problems and address them with superficial, feel-good policies. Although most advocates for public policy initiatives have noble intentions, their laser focus on solving the issues before them and often-combative relationships with constructive critics, who oppose their “solutions,” blinds them to the treachery of their own arrogance and the real solutions that can actually solve problems without creating unnecessary costs.
Coupled with the adversarial nature of the US, China, and Russia relationships, the perpetual threat of globalized terrorism and the segmented efforts to unify the global economy with the deleveraging nature of TPP, FTAAP, and EEU hints more at an Orwellian future ruled by self-serving global elites than an utopian society for all. The unfortunate reality is that bad public polices and the agendas of self-serving, egocentric politicians tend to disenfranchise their Peoples for the gain of the most affluent.
Elites saw free trade deals like NAFTA as essential and beneficial to the overall economy, because they blinded themselves to the harm done to others in favor of the benefits that would largely go to them. In the case of climate change, elites see the broader, long-term threat of climate change as devastating; whereas, the poor of the world are preoccupied with the struggle of the destitution they face today. Climate change “solutions,” which limit their economic opportunities, will be nothing more than a crushing burden.
That said, the vilification of India for resisting a climate change pact and India’s disinterest in joining TPP and FTAAP should be a concern for all global leaders, who should be reluctant to speak out against popular, yet bad, public policies. The frank truth is that India’s geographical size, increasing population density, and deeply entrenched, widespread poverty mean India will be the nation that struggles the most with climate change. For proponents who believe free trade can truly improve a nation’s economic outlook, India is poised to be the largest beneficiary of TPP or TTIP.
Where Left-wing and Right-wing proponents of these policies arrogantly chastise opponents as greedy or ignorant, they fail to consider that Indians feel the benefits to them will not outweigh the costs. When proponents of policies cannot adequately demonstrate the benefits, or address criticism of their policy initiatives, their policies have faults that need fixed. Whether at the beginning or end of the deal making process, a failure to listen to constructive criticism ensures a policy is doomed.
Moreover, the completion of climate change pacts and trade agreements can uplifting, but a failure to face the faults of bad policies means the policies cannot be successful. Similarly, a failure to recognize and confront the underhanded, counterproductive behaviors of all actors in crises like the Syrian Civil War ensures no solution can be created or implemented. Circumventing the realities of a situation in favor of compromise will only prevent the real problem from being solved.
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