THE NEW WORLD ORDER-POST TRUMP ELECTION
The subject of this piece is as above but the world can hardly discern any order in the chaos that pervades the globe today. The election of Donald Trump and the rise of ultra-right and nationalists like Geert Wilder and Marine Le Pen in Netherlands and France respectively would add to the chaos and instability of the world. This also makes predicting the future a bit risky. So the future is likely to be characterized by disorder rather than order. Nevertheless, it would be worthwhile to identify the causes of this disorder and determine where the world is headed.
My first point is that man-made systems devoid of any higher guidance or value system are prone to the convulsions that we see ailing the West. Every generation there, has its set of demagogues who put forward a thesis based on his or her knowledge of social sciences and historical evolution of society and is able to convince the public about the way forward. Since human knowledge and foresight is limited, the suggested status quo is valid for a short duration. Consider the ills of the colonial era and the world wars! The West decided that peace and human rights were important for the world’s stability. President Roosevelt outlined the four freedoms for a peaceful and stable world. These were freedoms of speech and worship and freedom from want and fear, for everyone in the world. It was also determined that democracy would give people a voice to determine their future and free trade would uplift people from poverty. Thus, these two objectives were pursued diligently, though at times, the utopia of democracy was sought with disastrous consequences like in the case of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Free trade was the end objective that was pursued for so long as the western multi-national corporations (MNCs) stood to reap the profits from cheap labor in poor countries. It was done so that the citizens in the west could avoid inflation to prevent erosion of their standard of living. The objective of keeping daily-use goods cheap could only be attained by shifting their manufacture to poorer countries since the high labor costs in the developed world would render production there not competitive.
Democracy entailed the rule of the majority and display of tolerance by those out of government. Democracy in the west has been dealt a near-fatal blow by the ultra-right, nationalists who were in minority and yet wanted their bidding to be done. Changing demography, threatened these minorities and their way of life so they started to reject the erstwhile objectives of tolerance, empathy and equality. The idea of collective good was jettisoned in favor of narrow identity interests. It started with the Brexit vote in Britain, was encouraged by election of Trump and is now really on a roll in Europe with the upcoming elections in France, Netherlands, Germany and Italy. EU and NATO have been able to keep the peace in Europe for over seven decades but the new holders of, or aspirants to, office are trying to undermine or even undo these structures. Earlier, east European countries were rushing to join the EU, for the latter’s freedoms and opportunities but once inside, their leaders reject the very same human rights and freedoms.
The citizens of the developed world blame the “other” for their problems. These others are old immigrants or new refugees. They are of course not considered as equals as humans. These foreigners are altering the demographic balance of communities and impinging on the local culture. They have been unable to adapt to the cultural norms of the host countries and have been unable to integrate with their neighbors or fellow citizens. The “others” are sometimes blamed for the sins and crimes they did not commit. In reality it is the failure of capitalism, which is the cause of disenchantment of the common people. Capitalism theory entailed unlimited accumulation of wealth on the one end while ensuring that the basic needs of the poor were also met. The practice of capitalism, however, has facilitated the former but failed in the attainment of the latter. This sadly continues to be the Republican economic policy too in the U.S.
Thus, the most glaring manifestation of the New World Disorder is that truth does not matter. Facts can be ignored. Brexit vote was based on misleading “facts” and American election was won by creating a scenario that everything was collapsing in the United States. Whatever is bad and true about Donald Trump, is fake news, while whatever is good, even though non-existent, is the truth. Trump supporters believe, he is a straight talker but the American media calls him a compulsive liar.
The other characteristics of the new world order are fear, xenophobia and hatred. Earlier, politics was about hope, optimism, respect and love for fellow citizens, now it is driven by hatred and intolerance. The West has bombed, killed, maimed and made homeless millions of innocent people but are threatened by, and scared of, a woman in hijab, which is no different from what a nun wears. The open borders are being converted into walled barriers. The brain behind Trump’s policy-making, Steve Bannon, has vowed to destroy the administrative structure of the state and there are no howls of treason. He also foresees a “brutal and bloody conflict” for a white-dominated Christian order against Muslims and migration. The White House is also home to a driving clique, which has no government experience.
There was a degree of predictability in the past about America’s role in the world; not any longer. Their European partners are wondering that if America would not defend itself against Russian meddling in American democratic process, how they could rely on the USA to defend them against Russian actions like in Crimea or Ukraine. Even worse, the new Administration is unwilling to get to the bottom of what Russia did.
President Trump has declared war on everyone: main stream media, old-school politicians, judiciary, opposition activists and competing world powers. He communicates through Twitter on spur-of-the-moment impulses and then his staff is forced to clean up the mess. It was said that all progress in the world is due to unreasonable people because they force the world to adapt to them, while the reasonable person adapts to the world but I think in case of Trump and his team, the joke has been carried too far. They make serious and damning accusations against others without evidence, fact or proof. They are at loggerheads with CIA, FBI, Justice Department and the intelligence community. In Europe, they ask if Trump is the Republican president who will lead the world or he is a Populist president who will pursue narrow nationalist goals at the cost of global uncertainty. He wants to reverse all earlier commitments to the UN, WTO, NAFTA, TPP, NATO and EU. The Europeans are so unsure of what Trump would do that they want to create an independent nuclear deterrent based on British and French nuclear weapons.
Elsewhere, South China Sea and North Korean weapons programs pose the biggest challenge to American dominance in the Asia Pacific region. American carrier groups in South China Sea and THAAD systems based in South Korea are a cause of friction with China. The latter have created differences between South Korea and China, wherein, Korean exports to China have plummeted and their TV programs, very popular earlier, have been banished from Chinese screens. China is an ascendant and a more assertive power. President Xi did not agree to receive Trump’s call till the latter assured his support and acceptance of “One China” principle.
The erstwhile world order was based on rules, cooperation and accommodation and with the rise of Trump and other nationalist leaders elsewhere, the new world order would be characterized by competition, isolationism and conflict. It had taken seven decades for the world to create rules and agreements to promote peace and trade. The issues of intellectual property rights, environment, terrorism, drug and human trafficking, labor rights etc were determined by norms and protocols agreed upon. Now, Mr. Trump says he doesn’t agree with or like those agreements.
The consequences of American adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq pose a conundrum. Trump stated that his military had not been winning wars. He promised now they will, but can he, in Afghanistan and Syria? His generals have been tasked to put up a plan to defeat DAESH. The generals instead are asking for additional troops’ deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq. One president pulls out troops the other sends them back and the war goes on endlessly.
The only people that are happy with Trump are lobbyists, big business and of course, his family because the Trump brand has become stronger than it has ever been. The American Stocks are rising because of the anticipated cut in taxes and regulations. This would widen the gap between rich and poor even more. The cause of collapse of capitalism is greed of big business where the CEOs are paid millions of dollars as bonuses and separation packages, despite failure, while the ordinary workers cannot get living wages. Economy keeps growing without a corresponding rise in household incomes.
Thus the new world disorder will be characterized by the following:-
• It will give rise to nationalism, division, racism, xenophobia, bigotry and hate crimes.
• Political correctness, tolerance, justice, human rights, facts and truth would decline.
• Nationalism will cause internal divisions in developed countries. Muslims will suffer due to racism and xenophobia. Immigration and travel for them would become even more difficult, if not impossible.
• Protectionism would result in dislocation of jobs, trade wars, unemployment and increase in poverty.
• Unregulated banking, stock markets and finance could cause another crisis like the one in 2008.
• Likelihood of military conflict would rise as a corollary to trade wars and clash of economic interests.
• Political realignment and economic rearrangement would be the order of the day.
• America would become more isolated and aggressive, which would add to disorder. It would seek to divide Europe as a united Europe is a competing pole!
• An impulsive Trump, advised by a disruptive Steve Bannon, is a threat to world stability and Muslims are most vulnerable to their adventurism.
Thus, in short, nothing seems to make any sense any more so I wonder though if there is a Divine scheme behind what is going on in the developed world!