Foreign Influence

This week, President Trump announced that the United States would no longer be bound by provisions of the Paris Agreement on climate change. If this came as a surprise it shouldn’t have as candidate Trump made it clear in 2016 that he would pursue this course if elected President.

Regardless of his prior statements, interest groups on both sides of the issue ratcheted up the pressure on the President in the weeks leading up to his announcement. Because of the global nature of the Paris Agreement, this included significant pressure from organizations and individual outside the US.

While much of this was merely public statements in the media pleading a case, there were quieter efforts from overseas interests that may have played a role in the decision. For instance, a group of elected officials from several countries penned a formal letter to the President urging him to withdraw from the agreement. The letter which was published in the media gave a number of reasons why their position made sense from a global point of view.

Whether the President or White House staff saw this letter is unknown. However, I am friendly with one of the authors of the letter and with his approval I made certain that a copy was provided to some Cabinet members who I thought would be supportive of their argument.

I made no recommendation regarding the letter and neither asked for or received compensation for my efforts. But I do have reason to believe that said letter was delivered to those agency heads. Did it have an impact on the ultimate decision? I think it may have.

My point in all of this is that there are ways to broaden one’s reputation by making oneself useful in an appropriate manner. This may be especially true for individuals and organizations based outside the US who find our way of influencing policy confusing at best.

Don’t be afraid to be a tour guide, you never know who you might meet.