Today’s Troubled Times – Awful Leadership (#82)
Most of the time a country’s greatest danger comes from its bad leadership, which incredibly, is far more common than good leadership, surprise - surprise. Currently, the global cycle has turned where bad leadership is plaguing the best of countries. In all countries the election or appointment of leaders is the people’s choice in one way or the other, but in democratic countries even more so, as citizens actually get to pick their government, thus the saying, ‘people get the government they deserve’. Today, in the prominent Western democracies there is great turmoil, and the election of Donald J. Trump triggered cascading global problems.
Trump’s war on America’s traditional allies, Canada, Mexico, and Europe, and their institutions and treaties, and his love affairs with the America’s traditional enemies like Russia, North Korea and to a degree China, (more respect for President Xi than for Western leaders) is causing turmoil and chaos in the democratic World. For Western democracies, America is too important to ignore.
The actions of the communist or near communist countries, and their aggressive defence of authoritarianism and subjugation of human rights seem far more acceptable, even admirable to Trump and his team, than the democratic rule of law, cooperative diplomacy, people oriented policies of the West - which are attacked repeatedly and directly by Trump, and lately by his Vice President, Mike Pence, in Europe as he berated the European allies for not breaking International Agreements, etc.
The turn towards the darker times, pre-World War II, has resulted in the rise of past discredited political movements of the Far-Right, in multiple democratic countries like the United States itself, in Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungry, France, and in Britain (the Right-Wing sponsors of Brexit) which have created fractures and divisions among former allies, particularly between the US and Europe-Canada-Mexico, which apart from threatening their well-being politically, and perhaps militarily (the strain on NATO alliances from Trump’s attacks and Russia’s undermining), is starting to exact a potentially heavy toll economically, as trade, finance and business suffer from the deep uncertainties of arbitrary tariffs, ensuing trade wars, and unstable former alliances.
The authoritarian, communist governments in China, Russia, Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba, etc. are given the opportunity to point to the turmoil in the Western democracies today, in their propaganda drives to discredit the Western system. And the current lack of stability in the US, Britain and Europe is used to justify their own decades-long iron-fisted rule over their strictly subjugated citizens, who are shown the current instability in the West as proof of the West’s weakness as individual countries, and their own harsh rule as a worthwhile price for strength.
Plus, these far-right, neo-Nazi political movements in the West have again raised the specter of Nationalism and racial purity from perceived threats of ‘foreigners’ invading their sacred shores, which sounds uncannily like the pre-WWII fascism which was defeated some 70 odd years ago by the Allied Forces, led by the United States. The proof of this evil resurgence is in the dramatic rise of anti-Semitism, and calls for some form of racial and national purity from foreigners in America and Europe particularly, and in rest of the World generally.
It is particularly ironic that America, the absentee ‘Leader of the Free World’, is now leading the Free World back in time towards authoritarianism, fascism and intolerance, division and discord. And internally, Trump is severely damaging the very fabric of American cohesion, its democratic principles, law-order institutions, and the hereto accepted Constitutional norms, with an assault on all American conventions, including the attempt to bypass the division of powers in government, through the declaration of an ‘emergency’ at the southern border.
In a matter of two years, the election of Trump at the end of 2016 has made America suspect to the Western democratic World as its leader, and Trump as an open ally to the brutally authoritarian governments, particularly Russia and North Korea. In the same year, the voting for Brexit by the British people in the ‘Referendum of 2016’, brought on by awful decisions by former PM David Cameron, has destabilized all of Britain, and created deep divisions amongst its people and politics that threaten its very political and economic stability. And, the rise of the Far-Right political parties in most of the European countries, spurred on by an openly hostile Trump to the old World Order, threaten the post-Second World War cohesion, peace and cooperation of the European Union itself.