The French Statesman Talleyrand once said “that speech is given to man to disguise his thoughts”. In today’s mass media democracies it could be translated into “speeches are made by politicians to disguise their intentions.”
Gordon Browns apocalyptical warnings about the future of the planet if Copenhagen should fail can be interpreted as cry for help: Please make sure that we get a face saving agreement that can be presented as a success. And this is what will come to pass. With or without Barack Obama’s presence – Copenhagen will be presented as a great success, like all the other global environmental conferences before.
But the conflict between the West and the new industrial powers cannot and will not be resolved. What we are seeing in the remaining weeks before the conference is an desperate attempt of all major players not to be seen as the culprit who will be blamed for the failure.
The original EU strategy was, we will set an example and go for binding cuts in green house gas emissions and the world will follow – clearly a naive approach, reminiscent of other unilateral intentions in the past.