December 7, 2016
A Dark Age for European Democracy? … How the Political Center Will Fare in 2017 … On November 17, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama published an article in the German magazine WirtschaftsWoche, outlining their countries’ shared commitments to the values of individual freedom, democracy, and the rule of law; collective defense through the NATO alliance; and international cooperation on issues from refugee policy to climate change mitigation. –Foreign Affairs
The “populism versus globalism” meme continues to provide eerily scripted analyses of the West’s sociopolitical perspectives. It is playing its part in justifying the removal of freedom around the world.
When we first analyzed this meme in mid-summer, here, we expected it to become a dominant one and it has. Everything has fallen into place almost flawlessly.
Brexit, Trump, Renzi – the political developments represented by these names can be seen as credible … as “blowback” against globalism.
And yet … one can, as well, argue that we are simply spectators watching an elaborately produced cinematic event, the very predictability of which raises doubts.
As does the predictable media coverage.
As such, Foreign Affairs magazine – the preeminent globalist magazine in the US – mourns what is taking place. Thus, the article’s title, “A Dark Age for European Democracy.”
Their essay served as a reminder of the values that have been at the heart of the transatlantic alliance of liberal democracies for decades. In recent months, nationalists and populists have challenged those values on both sides of the Atlantic.
In June, the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union gave populists their first major win of the year. Then, last month, the election of Donald J. Trump to the U.S. presidency placed a candidate who had demonstrated disdain for democratic values such as the freedom of the press, the independence of the judiciary, and the rule of law into the world’s most powerful office.
In Europe, far-right politicians and autocrats from Budapest to Moscow cheered Trump’s victory; establishment leaders reacted with shock. Western liberal democracy, seemingly ascendant at the end of the Cold War, now seems threatened on all sides. These are particularly dark days for European democracy.
This is actually an astounding analysis when you examine it closely. People in England who wanted freedom from European rule are called “populists.” Donald Trump is said to have disdain for “freedom of the press,” but anyone who watched the US election is well-aware that the mainstream media pilloried Trump on a regular basis – often with false accusations.
As for Western “rule of law,” many would question how it has survived in France (currently under martial law). How about the US where some high-ranking officials are sent to jail for leading classified documents while others like Hillary are excused despite leaking thousands because she didn’t intend to do so?
The Foreign Affairs article is fascinating because it bears witness to how directed history is built. First the argument is made. Then powerful forces act on it, whether or not it is true.
Not only has the argument been developed in the mainstream media and in academia; additionally, it has conformed to Hegelian dialectic that is utilized in these instances.
The unrolling of this meme is buttressed by continuing revelations about the election itself. The New York Times recently posted an article entitled, “CNN’s Coverage of Trump Was Biased, Presidential Candidates’ Aides Say.”
Jeffrey A. Zucker, CNN’s president, is accustomed to complaints about his network going easy on Donald J. Trump: providing extensive coverage of his rallies, letting him phone in for interviews and hiring his former campaign manager as an analyst.
Rarely, however, does Mr. Zucker — or any television news executive, for that matter — face the kind of A-list revolt that brewed here Wednesday evening.
In extraordinary exchanges, aides to Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush openly accused Mr. Zucker of enabling Mr. Trump and undermining their candidates in the Republican primary, heckling from their seats as Mr. Zucker spoke on a panel in a hotel ballroom.
“You showed hours upon hours of unfiltered, unscrutinized coverage of Trump!” shouted Todd Harris, a top adviser for Mr. Rubio. A Washington Post reporter, Karen Tumulty, prompted applause when she pressed Mr. Zucker on why he allowed Trump surrogates to spread falsehoods on his network.
This “visceral airing of grievances” is most unusual because it shows that despite negative reports, Trump benefited mightily from coverage that others didn’t receive.
The media generally has consolidated over the past century and in the US and the West generally is said to be owned by a handful of individuals and groups. There is likely no doubt that such a consolidated media can achieve almost any goal demanded of it.
As we watch Trump’s administration consolidate, we are struck by the number of military men he is selecting despite his own lack of service. What is being set up by Trump is a kind of para-military nationalism that can easily (and unfavorably) be contrasted to technocratic – civilian-oriented – globalism.
The speculation here, then, is one of directed history. If Trump’s administration is now caught up in larger military and economic crises and receives the blame for them, then the scenario is complete.
Directed history will show us clearly that populism is negative force and (one way or another) that globalism is a positive one.
We remain unconvinced that populism has “swept” the West and that the forces of globalism are being eradicated from meaningful power. We wish it were so but at the very least we don’t think it is nearly so simple as it is being portrayed. Additionally, many of these portrayals are being provided by the mainstream media and that makes us suspicious too.
Conclusion: People should not ease their vigilance about what is going on in this world, nor should they be overly optimistic about a Trump administration. Let experience rather than optimism guide your behavior and actions you take to protect yourself, your loved ones and your wealth.