So I recently glanced at a New York Times article entitled, LePen Loses Luster, Signaling Far Right’s Retreat. I didn’t even read the article, but the headline set me thinking about the last fifteen years of events set in motion largely by George W. Bush. Specifically, the invasion of Iraq, subsequent disastrous decisions such as disbanding the Ba’ath Party with no viable substitute, creating a power vacuum in Iraq and allowing Iran to begin taking advantage of its neighbor’s political weakness and instability and to easily introduce … wait … ignite existing but previously suppressed divisions along religious sectarian lines, which disallowed any semblance of Iraqi stability (why would Iran WANT a powerful rival neighbor anyhow?) Years of simmering and unresolved fighting and tensions eventually spilling over into Syria, in part blended with virtuous intentions by the majority of peaceable denizens who seized on the political instability to take a chance on changing into a democracy. The people ARE powerful, but entrenched systems are more powerful (in the short term). … all of which led to civil war (as an armchair outsider, I don’t understand how a seemingly rag-tag band of insurgents with machine guns can plunge an entire country into chaos. But then again, I’m used to the stable, trusted, and multi-layered local, area, state, and national guard, and federal military that keeps order in America (albeit, America is still amazingly internally violent). Anywho… point is, non-stop Syrian self-destruction resulted in a non-stop exodus of the original peaceable denizenry to the only place they could realistically go without teleportation machines – northward to Europe. … which … Europe attempted to absorb … which resulted in a boiling over of tensions, or at least a ratcheting up of tensions resulting from the somewhat too-rapid influx of culturally dissimilar elements in too short a span of time … resulting in the rise of nationalistic elements in France, Britain, Austria, the United States.
Why has Europe retreated from its march to the Authoritarian Right? The same tensions are still there: economy hasn’t improved significantly; migrant crisis has not abated; terrorism is still a scourge…
Of course, all of this is well known and well documented. My brief, slightly opinionated, and not well sourced thought here, stems from France’s recent rejection of LePen, the Labor Party’s unexpected good showing in the recent U.K. election, which could be a repudiation of the Nationalistic fervor which brought Theresa May to power and Brexit into being. Why has Europe retreated from its march to the Authoritarian Right? The same tensions are still there: economy hasn’t improved significantly; migrant crisis has not abated; terrorism is still a scourge (perhaps increasingly so)?
The reason: Trump. The average European voter has likely been reminded of an important lesson from Trump – that stupid (objectively, not subjectively), nationalistic dictators, even if constrained by norms and systems, can cause great harm to countries, systems, and the over-arching cause of global human-civilization.
America has no mirror, so we lounge on the sofa of the world, eating chips, drinking beer, getting a gut, and basically being obnoxious
America is a mirror for Europe, which allows the sensible to figuratively comb their country’s hair, take a shower, and wear nicer clothes than us (America has no mirror, so we lounge on the sofa of the world, eating chips, drinking beer, getting a gut, and basically being obnoxious.) That said, the mirror of Trump scared the crap out of sensible Europeans. The never-ending media coverage, corruption, nepotism, self-serving, alternate-reality, unfolding treasonous calamity of Trump (I could source all of those
opinions axioms with multiple instances, but why even bother?) and his anti-intellectual (and anti-intelligent) obsequious team of ad-hominem, hyper-partisan, kiss-uppers, was a salve; a panacea; a way for Europe to experience through us what retreating to nationalism looks like.
So, thank you Trump, thank you Electoral College, and thank you mis-informed voters who rubber-stamped the Electoral College’s rubber stamp. Your calamitous mistake for the United States helped to restabilize the world. Albeit, it’s a world, increasingly less enamored of the United States. But it’s a world that, at least for now, is inoculated against slick-talking, imbecilic “strong-men”.