Mr. Putin, a man we all know for his sense of fair play, tolerance, and generosity of spirit has pronounced that liberalism is dead. Well, what do you know, are we surprised? Is he right? It’s this last question that bothers me.
Messrs Putin, Xi, Erdogan, Trump, and several others form a very powerful axis, none of them are remotely liberal. Between them, they carry more influence than the European block, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand combined. Between these two groups of authoritarian and liberal regimes stand those who grapple with extreme problems of fundamentalism (e.g.Iran), extreme corrupt socialism (e.g. Venezuela) or radical revisionism. India and South Africa, who both grapple with monumental change.
All nations it seems, follow strong leaders. In the UK recently we have had a conspicuous absence of leadership which has led us to the edge of chaos. The nation is about to appoint a chaotic leader whose key attributes are charisma and a bad haircut. Despite all the negatives, the UK will appoint a Bullingdon Club boor as its next prime minister simply because he has charisma. Johnson is a populist in the Trump mold, who will, if allowed, enjoy an authoritarian role focused solely on the Brexit question where charisma outshines the policies for the common good.
Will the UK allow Boris Johnson to lead it out of the EU in an impossible time scale? Will this ‘no deal’ action result in the breakup of the UK? Will a general election that follows destroy the center ground of British politics? Will the liberal majority bring Johnson down, with what consequence?
Was Putin right? Is liberalism dead?
The POTUS is leading the free world into conflict with the eastern powers of China, North Korea, and by proxy to Russia, he is creating tension and alliances that are clearly against the free world’s interests. It is clear that, through his wretched idea of diplomacy he has inadvertently cemented North Korea and China’s relationship. He has created real tension in the middle east by abandoning the Iranian nuclear deal. Trump appears to have lost (if he ever had it) any idea of long term strategy and tweets his way to almost certain downturn in the world economy, a rapid deterioration of our climate and environment. For good measure he has exacerbated the ire of South America and the mass migration of the have-nots of this world. As he launches his new presidential campaign his followers could not care lass about any of the above and will sleep walk into a myriad of disasters if Trump gets a second term. And that’s just the Trumpian aspect.
The UK is about to vote in a clown as prime minister and who knows what chaos that will lead to. How the British, who consider themselves to be the founders of modern liberal democracy, can elect such a proven self-centred clown only reinforces what appalling depths of political shambles the UK has sunk to. David Cameron has a lot to answer for.
Where are we all going? Mass migration, environmental decay, climate warming, trade wars, racial intolerance and authoritarian rule. The new Gulags of China, the steel wall of America and the religious turmoil of the Middle East especially the suffering in Yemen. All symptoms of man’s intolerance of his fellow man. What the world does not need now is people like Trump, Putin, Xi, Kim Jong-Un, Erdogan. There are several other eccentrics in charge of much of the wold. Another clown will not improve the mix.
It’s now over a year since President Trump took office, and what a year it has been. I argued then that perhaps his lack of orthodoxy might prove innovative in many ways and this, in turn, may prove of net benefit.
To some small extent, you could argue that this turned out to be true, in the case of North Korea. But not in many other areas, either at home in the US or abroad though POTUS would claim otherwise.
What is obvious is that POTUS has undermined US influence worldwide as Trump has tried to emulate Putin as an authoritarian bombast. Happily, the US constitution has mitigated against this but that has not deterred the president from tweeting his unruly thoughts that he obviously believes to be ‘tablets from the mountain’. (I will leave the psychological analysis for others more qualified.)
What Trump fails to understand that the USA is a democracy and leadership of a democracy carries inviolable demands including consensus and cultural respect and tolerance. Trump has been just about restrained but he is leading his country into a dangerous direction of authoritarianism as exemplified by his pal Putin.
I guess that very few of those who voted for Trump have any idea of this, but this is a facet of populism which is oft ignored. Many political regions of the world accept authority rather than democracy and it would be fair to say that liberal capitalism has much evil to answer for. But beware authoritarianism as an alternative where, by and large, one election win, usually lasts a lifetime.
So now Trump and Putin are in this together, they believe they are the right leaders of their nations, they believe only they know the way. I, for one, don’t share their views.