Monday, January 23, 2017

The Birth of a New World, Possibly Our Last.

From Deutsche Welle, "Hate Is In the Air":

"The old world of the 20th century is over for good" - Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the current German foreign minister and probable next head of state, is certainly not the kind of person to blurt something out without thinking, and here he has put things in a nutshell. And, of all people, Marine Le Pen, the head of the French Front National, agrees with him. "We are witnessing the end of one world and the birth of a new one," she told an assembly of 800 European right-wing populists in the western German town of Koblenz on Saturday. The fact can be lamented, but this does little to remedy the situation: Whining has never solved anything. Brexit is real, as is Trump. A political metamorphosis is underway in the West. Populism is in, and nothing will remain as it is. And soon, other major Western countries will also hold elections: France, the Netherlands and Germany.


It is as though almost all the lessons the West learned after the end of World War II are being held up to ridicule: alliance policies, the principle of solidarity, economic aid. Admittedly, the Brexit vote was a close one; EU opponents were the ones who allowed themselves to be mobilized, while the others stayed at home, confident in the belief that they were not needed. Trump, for his part, benefited from the Electoral College; in absolute numbers, he represents less than half of Americans. And the German AfD and French National Front are still in the opposition. But what makes the political shift to the right, the readjustment of values and the overall mood in the USA and Europe extremely dangerous is the populists' open or latent hate toward the state, democracy, societal elites, everyday multinationalism and the media.

When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty

Yet from Washington to New York, Boston, Sydney, Paris - and, yes, Koblenz, too - the past weekend also reflects another reality: that of protest - massive protest against simplemindedness, simplistic worldviews and vile rabble-rousers. If democracy is to remain more than an academic term in school lessons, then it must prove itself now, everywhere: in parliaments, in the media and on the streets.

Even though democratic restoration is nowhere on Trudeau's priority list - he won't even mention the first step, tearing down the corporate media cartel - Canadians can not afford to be as supidly complacent as our prime minister. Trudeau, an avowed neoliberal, is on the wrong side of history. The path he wants to follow, the path blazed by his predecessor, Harper, will not serve Canada, especially our future generations. Canada is not immune to this authoritarian rightwing contagion. Let's never forget how the Brits lost Brexit.

Der Spiegel offers a similar and equally ominous take calling for an international front against Trump.

We need to prepare ourselves for the following: From now on, the most powerful person on the planet, along with his entourage made up primarily of billionaires like himself, will be regularly stomping on that which the international community has spent decades negotiating with effort and care. Who thinks, for example, that Trump's troupe will feel bound to the Paris Climate Agreement for the reduction of greenhouse gases? That anybody in the White House will still care for the protection of animals, oceans or forests? That Trump could have any priority other than maximizing his own profits? Does anyone think he will support culture? Strengthen women's rights? Show consideration for minorities? That he would be willing to think about the limits of capitalism? Of course he won't.


It's Time to Defend Our Principles

This won't be fun. It reflects a new American desire for the survival of the fittest -- in a world where the U.S. is still the strongest. Trump's government won't strive for global compromise, opting instead to try to get the most it can out of negotiations with individual nations. This president will do everything he can to weaken international organizations like the UN, the EU or the G-20 in order to make space for bilateral deals -- just like his counterpart in the Kremlin. Maybe this will allow him to achieve a small American economic miracle, but a great many will pay the price: more global inequality, unchecked climate change and, in his own country, an even more jittery society with marginalized minorities.

...the rest of the world needs to get to work to block American machinations against international standards, to ward off unfair American economic greed and to protect global agreements. What's needed is a front against Trump.

The UN will need to show that it can be a countervailing power in the civil sphere and an advocate for its especially vulnerable members. The European Union should see Trump as a new justification for its existence and make the best of it. It's very possible that previously unthinkable constellations might emerge -- that Europe and China, for example, could act in concert on some issues. Impossible? That's what we thought. But in the now-dawning Trump world, it's not about believing or about hoping. We have no choice but to forcefully defend our interests and our principles.


Toby said...

It is long overdue for Canadian Prime Ministers and their ilk to stand up for Canada and Canadians rather than their constant genuflection to whatever is pulsing south of the border.

Owen Gray said...

It's a brave new world, Mound. But it's not a better one.

The Mound of Sound said...

Owen, I think it's time for your Soma.

Anonymous said...

The fact of admitting more than 1 million of migrants in haste and without proper scrutiny signaled the end of German "Ordnung muss sein" and Germany as we knew it in 20th century.

Anonymous said...

Glad you like Stenmeier. I do. Just a bit less than one year ago, he deplored the NATO move to send soldiers prancing about the Polish and Latvian borders with Russia. The head of NATO himself told Steinmeier to mind his own business, which seems a strange thing to do given that it is his business. The only Western foreign minister not slavishly devoted to the CIA/Hillary "kill the bastard Russians" theory of world dominance.

How soon we forget that both Clinton and Trump were BOTH horrible choices for US president. Killery is her nickname, and for good reason.

Meanwhile, in keeping with PNAC philosophy and the exceptional US of A as world hegemonist fostered by trade deals with approved ISDS oversight by corporations, and anti Russia and China rhetoric by the deades-long Democrat Party/CIA hugfest collaboration, Canada appoints a foreign minister who is persona non grata in Russia, and a slavish free-trader booster. I personally also think she's 100% useless, and like JT, ethics-challenged. We spent $22,000 for her to stop off in LA to be on Bill Maher's TV show and boast a year ago. Buuut, seeing as the JT crowd had only been in power for 3 months we let it go. Hah. Scotian hisself told me off for being so anti-Liberal, which I took pleasure in disregarding.

There, I managed to convey succinct opinions without taking 10 paragraphs where one would suffice if one's thoughts were organized. Scotian is a pure Liberal apologist, no more, no less and always has been. They must not like the ""Slick" appellation you bestowed on our selfie boy-wonder for his recent appearance on your blog.


Unknown said...

Trudeau was completely subservient to Obama's neoliberal agenda and his Imperial foreign policy. I'm sure he, like many thought HRC was going to be the next president and would carry on with the neoliberal and imperial agenda, but more vociferously even then Obama.

Now there is a new thug in the oval office, Donald Trump. Trudeau's and Freeland's embrace of Obama's beloved TPP along with their embrace of Obama's propaganda and lies and military provocation of Russia are in question. Trump has already withdrawn the TPP, so that has thrown a wrench in Trudeau and Freelands plans to become part of the global financial/political elite by supporting the TPP, even though this support meant the sacrificing of Canadian sovereignty.

Is Freeland, as BM says, a persona non grata in Russia really going to tell Trump that Canada will continue with the propaganda and lies about Russian aggression, if Trump now decides to negotiate with Russia? I think not.

Both Freeland and Trudeau, displayed a smugness and arrogance when spinning the narrative about their neoliberal "trade" policies to the Canadian people, when Obama was president.

Trudeau and Freeland are both sychophants and both are in way over their heads. Once the neocons rear their ugly heads and make a grab for the political power, they assume is so rightly theirs Trump will follow, for he too likes having power. Anything can happen with Trump as president and whatever Trump decides, Trudeau and Freeland will fall into line.