Donald Trump

When President Trump nominated Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, to be his secretary of state, reactions were mixed. Some saw Tillerson as an accomplished businessman, savvy in world affairs, who was perhaps the only sane person well-positioned to lead a rapprochement with Vladimir Putin. Others saw him as a dangerous neophyte unaccustomed to the constant give-and-take of diplomacy. It turns out that he is neither. Under Tillerson’s watch, and indeed under his direct purview, the State Department’s core is being gutted.

Brown’s upcoming visit to Beijing will focus on keeping up the COP21 Paris accords momentum Trump wants to radically reverse. California’s aggressive stance on pollution controls and environmental standards will be highlighted. The governor wants to make a lasting difference in the world. [...] California’s interest and right to combat climate change and seek China’s support is understandable and has precedent. But what’s in it for China?

Zika has faded from the media spotlight in recent months, but public health officials are gearing up for the virus to resurface as the summer brings warmer weather and mosquitos. The virus is linked to serious birth defects in babies of mothers who were infected while pregnant. But global health experts warn that the infectious disease and others like it will be much more difficult to contain in the future as Trump moves ahead with the reenactment and expansion of the Mexico City Policy, a ruling that blocks U.S.

Smog Mask

Markos Kounalakis on China's attempt to gain global influence through environmental leadership and policy.

As President Trump strains alliances and relationships around the world, some of the nation’s top career diplomats are breaking publicly with him, in what amounts to a quiet revolt by a cadre of public servants known for their professional discretion. On Monday, the chargé d’affaires at the American Embassy in Beijing, David H. Rank, announced his resignation after telling his staff he could not defend the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

The No. 2 diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing resigned Monday, telling staff his conscience would not permit him to formally notify the Chinese that the United States is withdrawing from the Paris climate accord. David H. Rank, a career Foreign Service officer of 27 years, had been acting ambassador until former Iowa governor Terry Branstad (R) was confirmed as the new ambassador last month. Rank held a town meeting with embassy employees to explain he had offered his resignation and it had been accepted.

The problem with “America First” is that it describes an attitude, not a purpose. It substitutes selfishness for realism. It implies that nations can go it alone, that we stand for nothing beyond our immediate self-interest, and that we should give little thought to how the rest of humanity thinks or lives. It suggests that if we are strong enough, we can prosper no matter how much chaos, disorder or injustice surrounds us. America First leads to the diplomacy of narcissism. And narcissism is as unhealthy for nations as it is for people.

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