The Paris climate decision is Trumpism in its purest form

Fact-checking Trump's Paris accord speech
Fact-checking Trump's Paris accord speech

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Fact-checking Trump's Paris accord speech 02:57

(CNN)President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out of a global climate accord represents the clearest evidence yet that his worldview represents a radical break from that of the Republican and Democratic presidents who have preceded him in office over the last seven decades.

Whereas those men saw the United States as moral leader of the free world -- and its alliances with other similarly-minded European democracies as the unshakeable foundation of world peace and progress -- Trump sees things differently. To him, the so-called "world community" is a hoax, a concept used to take advantage of the US and distract us from the real goal: To take care of ourselves first, second and last.
In short: This is Trumpism.
    Trump's speech announcing his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accords -- making the U.S. one of three countries to do so (194 have signed onto the accords) -- was larded with examples of just how differently Trump sees the world and America's place in it than past presidents.
    "The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers -- who I love -- and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production," Trump said at one point.
    At another he argued: "The Paris Agreement handicaps the United States economy in order to win praise from the very foreign capitals and global activists that have long sought to gain wealth at our country's expense. They don't put America first. I do, and I always will."
    Inherent in that rhetoric is the idea that has animated Trump -- in politics and the business world -- from the very beginning: The elites in this country (and the world) think they know better than us regular people. (Leave aside the fact Trump is a billionaire who was raised with money.) They think they can tell us what's good for us. But, we know what's good for us better than they do. And it's time to stand up for it!
    There's also a strain of disdain at political correctness in both Trump's rhetoric and his decision on the Paris accords. "Foreign capitals" and "global activists" are carefully chosen phrases designed to show his base that we have been too afraid to stand up to these people for too long out of a fear that they will judge us negatively for doing so. No more, promises Trump.
    He proudly welcomes the supposed breach of political correctness and the disapproval from the likes of newly-elected French president Emmanuel Macron. They've been taking advantage of us for years, Trump insists, and hiding behind the veil of political correctness to do it. "I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh not Paris," Trump proudly proclaimed to much applause on Thursday.
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    And there's another piece to Trumpism evident in this climate decision: A deep cynicism and suspicion about the rest of the world and its views of the United States.
    To Trump, the world community is driven, at least in part, by a desire to draw the US into deals like Paris to hobble us economically.
    "The fact that the Paris deal hamstrings the United States, while empowering some of the world's top polluting countries, should dispel any doubt as to the real reason why foreign lobbyists wish to keep our magnificent country tied up and bound down by this agreement: It's to give their country an economic edge over the United States," Trump said in his speech.
    It's not only that we are being taken advantage of by the rest of the world, according to Trump. It's that other countries are openly mocking us.
    "At what point does America get demeaned?," Trump asked in his speech Thursday. "At what point do they start laughing at us as a country? We want fair treatment for its citizens, and we want fair treatment for our taxpayers. We don't want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore. And they won't be. They won't be."
    Add it all up and here's what you get: Trumpism is an anti-elite, anti-PC, anti-insider nationalistic worldview propped up by insecurity and a strong sense of suspicion toward the rest of the world.
    It is an assumption that the post-World War II alliances we have held with Europe have, almost unfailingly, been unfair to us. That the rest of the world has taken advantage. That they have used our goodwill for bad purposes. That they have smiled at us in public and sneered at us in private.
    No more, Trump promises -- and with his decision on Paris he sends a very clear signal that he means it.
    We are in different times now. The Trump worldview is a clear break from what we've known since the end of World War II. The question now is how the rest of the world reacts to Donald Trump's re-imagining of America's role in it.