Former UN Secretary General Says Trump Will 'Fail'--Faces 'Reality Therapy'

Patrick Goodenough | March 31, 2017 | 4:16am EDT
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Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan speaks at the Forum for the Future of Agriculture in Brussels on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. (Photo: FFA)

( – President Trump may have short-term successes but will ultimately fail, and “reality therapy” – including checks and balances in the U.S. system – will make him realize that “things are not as simple” as they appear, former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan said this week.

Speaking Tuesday at the Forum for the Future of Agriculture, an annual event held in Brussels, Annan was answering a moderator’s questions about Trump’s executive order reversing the Obama administration’s environmental regulations.

British journalist and BBC “HARDtalk” presenter Stephen Sackur asked Annan whether it matters that the leader of the world’s most powerful economy is saying he does not care about the Paris climate change agreement or the world’s rhetoric on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, but is going to do what is in America’s best short-term interest – “let the fossil fuel economy rip.”

“It does matter,” Annan replied. “He’s setting the wrong example, but I hope the rest of the world will not follow him.”

Even China’s government was now taking the environment seriously – under pressure from the Chinese people who want clean air – and “the same thing will happen” in the U.S., he said, where California has already signaled a pushback against the president’s climate stance.

“Trump may have success in the short term but in the long term he’s going to fail,” Annan predicted. “He’s going to fail and I don’t think we should worry too much about what he says ...”

“He will go through reality therapy, and it’s already begun,” he added to applause.

“You just hope reality therapy isn’t too damaging for the rest of us, you know,” said Sackur. “I hope it works pretty darn quick.”

Annan said the “reality therapy” he was referring to will include checks and balances in the U.S. system of government.

He noted that Trump’s immigration executive order is “tied up in court,” that he has been unsuccessful in undoing Obamacare, and forecast that he would face difficulties with tax overhaul proposals.

“He will discover that things are not as simple as it seems.”

Every now and then, Annan continued, “a sheriff rides into town. He’s going to clean everything up, he’s going to do it his way – and then discovers there’s a real world out there.

“And he either has to adapt and work with the population and get something done, or persist in going his way and fail totally, and ride out of town again.”

“I don’t want to tell you which way this will end,” he concluded, “but we shall see.”

Meanwhile Global Times, a Chinese Communist Party organ, slammed Trump in an editorial Thursday for his “energy independence” executive order.

“Washington’s political selfishness must be discouraged,” it said, warning that China could not be expected to take America’s place in leading the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“China will remain the world’s biggest developing country for a long time. How can it be expected to sacrifice its own development space for those developed Western powerhouses?”

The party mouthpiece found hope in the judicial hurdles placed in the way of Trump’s immigration executive order.

“American opinion has enabled the country’s political and legal authorities to freeze the president’s Muslim ban,” it said. “If it keeps up the same vigor, the Trump administration may not be able to pull the U.S. out of the Paris agreement.”

During his election campaign Trump pledged to withdraw from the Paris accord, eliminate the Obama administration climate regulations aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, and “cancel billions in global warming payments to the United Nations.”

Annan, from Ghana, served as U.N. secretary-general from 1997-2006, later founded the Kofi Annan Foundation promoting international development, and has served as U.N. special envoy for crises in Syria and Burma.

He is a member of the board of the United Nations Foundation, a group set up in 1998 with a $1 billion donation by CNN founder Ted Turner, with priorities including building public support for the U.N.

Annan also chairs The Elders, a group of “independent global leaders” founded by the late Nelson Mandela, whose other members include former President Jimmy Carter and former Irish President Mary Robinson.

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