Somehow, the whole world appears out of joint; crazy stuff seems to be happening in all spheres of life. Just think about the statistical likelihood that in the same one year the NBA finals would be won by a team three to one games behind, even if that team has LeBron James; that the Chicago Cubs (the Chicago Cubs!) after 108 years would win the World Series of Baseball, also being three to one games behind, and in overtime of game seven away from home; and that after being 28 points behind, the Patriots would rally to win the Superbowl in the first overtime game ever played.
That alone would be more than enough to declare 2016 the most “crazy” year in decades. Add to that BREXIT and, of course, the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the USA, and whatever other crazy things are happening all around the world, from ISIS medieval regressive behavior, North Korea’s obviously insane leadership, Pakistan’s poorly secured nuclear arsenal, over Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism all over the world, Russia’s and China’s newly expansive behavior, Erdogan’s dream of reversing Kamal Atatürk’s historic definition of Turkey as a Muslim but, nevertheless, secular state, the European Union on the verge of collapse, the Middle East, a tinder box, – ever-closer to explosion and then, returning to the U.S., as likely never before in history since the Civil War of 1861-1865, a radically divided nation, with both sides, seemingly, incapable of even talking to each other.
These are dangerous times, – likely the most dangerous since the 1930s, which were followed by the last big authoritarian world revolution that, ultimately, brought fascism and communism to power in large swaths of the world. World War II defeated fascism but, by doing so, led to the division of the world between Western democracies, led by the U.S., and Communist authoritarian dictatorships, led by the no-longer existing Soviet Union. It took almost half a century to defeat the socio-fascist concept of post-World War II Communism before the Soviet Union imploded and the Berlin Wall came down in November of 1989.
The disappearance of Communist eastern Europe led to the expansion of an, until recently, increasingly united and democratic Europe under the framework of the European Union. This expansion, however, in recent years increasingly ran out of steam, and the European Union is currently in imminent danger of collapse, as governments of Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and even France, are under increasing pressure from their citizenries to leave the Union, as the UK, with BREXIT, obviously already did.
Concomitantly, authoritarian forces, long believed morally disqualified from ever again finding access to power, are in almost all European countries battling for government positions on the left and right, recreating a potentially frightening world of increasing authoritarianism, instability and radical conflict between liberal and conservative view points, with on both political extremes, the most extreme setting the agenda.
Mostly unrecognized, this trend has been under way for a good number of years. One could argue It started in authoritarian Russia and China before reaching the West, including the U.S., with Putin pursuing much more radical domestic as well as foreign policy agendas after his return to the presidency, and China, by selecting Xi Jinping as president, demonstrating the most repressive domestic and most aggressive foreign policy since Mao Zedong. Even democratic Japan elected a relative radical conservative in prime minister in Shinzõ Abe, who only years earlier would have been considered unelectable because of many of his conservative view points.
Similarly, conservative extremists have been in power in Hungary since 2010, when Viktor Orbán was for the second time elected Prime Minister and in Poland when the Law and Justice Party in 2015 won an absolute majority in parliament. In Greece and Italy, on the other hand, leftist parties have swept to power, though strongly opposed by an at least equally radical right in the opposition. It, indeed, looks all like the 1930s all over again, where the extreme left and right were battling each other in most European nation states, only for ultimately allowing Fascism and Nazism to gain the upper hand.
One, indeed, could also argue that it all started with the Green revolution in Ukraine, followed by the Arab Spring, both national movements of discontent. Remarkable is, however, how this worldwide discontent has failed in leading to even minimally satisfying political solutions. Ukraine is anything but a functioning democracy and the Arab Spring has given rise to an unprecedented political, societal and humanitarian disaster, consuming almost all the Middle East, and resulting in the biggest wave of refuges since World War II.
As the election of Trump and BREXIT well demonstrated, the discontent with current governance is not only restricted to past Communist countries and the developed world. Indeed, discontent in the Western world may be even more intense. Observing the first three weeks of the Trump administration must be troubling for every U.S. citizen, whatever side she or he may be on. The break down in political decorum is unprecedented and further accentuated by a President, completely irreverent for longstanding presidential traditions.
Such unanimity of worldwide discontent has not been witnessed since the Great Depression (1929-1939) and, like then, must be viewed a pre-revolutionary. It is in times when national discontent reaches such levels, and political opponents are increasingly dehumanized, that revolutions tend to overthrow existing orders. To a degree, Trump’s election can, because of his advocacy of radical (in contrast to evolutionary) changes, be viewed as a revolutionary occurrence; but, because this change took place via the ballot box, it does not fulfill the definition of a revolution. If one views the evolving anarchy on university campuses and streets of major cities since Trump’s election, one, however, does see rather characteristic initial features of a truly revolutionary movements with no love for democratic order.
The Canary has warned before in these pages that we live in pre-revolutionary times. We, indeed, more than ever are convinced that former president Obama, likely as the only leading politician in the country, not only recognized this fact but, especially over the last 2 years of his presidency, used these circumstances as an opportunity to enhance the chances of a revolutionary overthrow of the country’s current order by instigating conflicts between races and reinvigorating class warfare, diminishing the government’s authority, whether on the nation’s borders, by diminishing the credibility of law enforcement, weakening the military or conducting an internationalistic rather than nationalistic foreign policy.
Trump’s election was the natural repeal of such revolutionary policies by a basically, overall, still mildly conservative country. His election, however, now mandates rapid changes to demonstrate to the American people that there, indeed, is a better option than Socialism for improving the quality of life for most citizens. The financial crisis of 2008 left even strong proponents of Capitalism with considerable doubts. Trump now must demonstrate with lightning speed that “honest” Capitalism, if not allowed to become Crony-Capitalism (as it, unfortunately, has become under prior Democratic as well as Republican administrations), is, still, the best economic system the world offers for those who wants personal freedom and ability to accumulate property.
If economic reforms will not succeed quickly, as we already have been witnessing, the left will become increasingly aggressive in promoting revolutionary steps toward an increasingly socialist market structure with full support by the Democratic Party establishment, which is frightened to death by the party’s base of supporters, mostly made up of Bernie Sanders supporters, the most radically left wing of the party.
Emigration reform, as important it is, should, therefore, receive less priority than tax reform, gaining control over medical costs and, finally, after almost 20 years of failure to do, supporting the middle class with adequate availability of well-paying jobs and reasonable social as well as medical security. In absence of rapid economic improvements, the radical left will start gaining strength, threatening the democratic as well as geographic stability of the Union. Like the current California Independence Movement, BRXIT also once started as a “crazy” fringe idea, and look where it brought us to! We are living in “crazy” times, where, if the Cubs can become baseball champions, almost everything can happen. We better be careful!