Voices from Russia

Friday, 11 November 2016

Trump, Brexit, and the Collapse of the Liberal Order

01 Gap between the Rich and the Poor

Interestingly enough, THIS is why ordinary folk voted for Trump… they saw him as someone who’d buck his class to help them. They saw Hilly as a scheming warmongering bitch intent on personal emolument. Full stop…


One of the most confounding aspects of Donald Trump’s election as 45th President of the United States is that in the space of a year… indeed, less than a year… a man with zero political experience destroyed two of the most entrenched political dynasties… Bush and Clinton. Just pause on this for a moment… place it in the context of someone who got ridicule and scorn in response to his appearance on the political stage as a candidate for the Republican nomination. Consequently, the mainstream media and liberal commentators, for whom politics is an exclusive club, the preserve of a select group of blessed people who belong to the club as if by divine right, just got one almighty slap-down The sense of entitlement that emanated from the Clinton campaign during this election was astonishing to behold. Hillary Clinton emitted the demeanour of a woman approaching a coronation and not an election, disdaining not only Donald Trump, but also his supporters, whom she infamously described as “deplorables”. This was her undoing.

Regardless of the attempt to paint her as someone in touch with the suffering and pain of the millions of Americans long denied a seat at the banquet of US democracy, she came over as the very embodiment of a machine politician, a candidate whose credibility and character was irredeemably tainted by her connections to Wall Street, big business, the Saudis, George Soros, etc. This is why it isn’t so much that Donald Trump won this election as that Hillary Clinton and her campaign lost. Here the Democratic Party only has itself to blame. Bernie Sanders offered a far more potent challenge to the Trump phenomenon, both because he did not carry any of the baggage that Clinton brought to the election and… perhaps, more importantly… he represented a far sharper ideological counterweight to Trump. One of the most salient consequences of the 2008 global economic crash, which ushered in the worst crisis within capitalism since the 1930s, was the collapse of the political centre, and with it, the the liberal order’s dominance. In this respect, it is just as Karl Marx opined in his Communist Manifesto:

All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life…

The analogy that best describes this process is a battlefield after the smoke has cleared to reveal the ideological right on one side and its leftist counterpart on the other, ready to go to war over the right to shape the future. Moreover, as Brexit in the UK, and now Trump’s electoral victory in the USA leaves no doubt, this is a struggle now being won by the right. This isn’t to suggest the struggle is completely over however. On the contrary, the political, social, economic, and constitutional crisis ushered in by Brexit proves that there remains some distance to travel before the matter settles in Britain, while Trump’s election will inevitably give rise to strong opposition in the streets, perhaps even sparking a much-needed revival of the left across the USA, which based on the success of the Sanders campaign, is far from dead.

Focusing in on Donald Trump and based on statements he made in the course of his campaign, it’s interesting to observe that among the many places where you will find the most grievously disappointed people in response to his victory, are NATO headquarters in Brussels and Daesh (also known as ISIL/ISIS) and al-Nusra headquarters in Syria. It is evidence of the previously insurmountable contradiction that has lain at the heart of Washington’s geopolitical priorities and strategy these past few years. Trump, in contrast, laid it out very simply when he said:

Russia is killing ISIS. Assad is killing ISIS. I think it would be a good idea to get along with Russia.

This being said, the acid test is what he does and not what he’s said, which is why it remains far too soon to be complacent in welcoming a new dawn in Washington’s relations with Russia or the rest of the world. Trump also said some harsh things about China and Iran during his election campaign, which taken in conjunction with the fact that as president he immediately becomes the CEO of an empire that’s no longer sustainable, requires us to exercise caution and not celebration at this stage. Domestically, let’s not delude ourselves. Trump gave rise to the recrudescence of nativism, xenophobia, and anti-immigrant sentiment across the USA, in much the same way Brexit did in the UK. The logical conclusion of this path is social divisions and eroded social cohesion. Whether people like it or not, globalisation gave rise to multicultural societies across the West, with both constituting two sides of the same coin. In other words, people can’t expect to enjoy the benefits of the free movement of capital without the free movement of people.

Here, we get to the heart of the matter. Donald Trump and Brexit are symptoms of the rise of anti-politics in response to the massive inequality that engulfed both British and American society in recent years. Far too much wealth is now owned by far too few, with the result that people are angry and in no mind to continue to support a status quo widely regarded as corrupt and hopelessly compromised by its support for a corporate élite and vested interests. The world changed and it changed utterly.

9 November 2016

John Wight

Sputnik International



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