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Igor, Bar the Door

Three strange incidents occurred in recent weeks. Nancy Pelosi was "shouted down by immigration activists for trying to strike Dreamers deal with Trump." Hillary Clinton's book received disappointing reviews from the left, and former FBI director James Comey was heckled at Howard University. “Go home Comey, you’re not our homey.” The audience was turning on its performers.  All were signs the once reliable Blue Model is misfiring.

Time magazine ...  offer a brutal assessment concerning the direction of the Democratic Party. One rallying cry from the Left is that Clinton lost because she ... wasn’t left wing enough. Every time the party has gone this way in national elections, they’ve lost in a landslide. ... to win back the House, to redraw congressional maps favorable to the Left—you need to rebuild the party apparatuses in the rural areas, which have all but disintegrated.

In a classic case of the law of unintended consequences, identity politics is undermining globalism instead of being its tool. The unexpected drawbacks are being felt as far afield as Europe. Spain, one of Europe's pillars, seems about to break up. "Spain’s EU partners fear a mounting crisis over Catalans’ latest push for independence, and their public support for Mariano Rajoy belies some disquiet that the conservative prime minister’s hardline tactics might backfire."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, through a spokesman ... [stressed] it was an “internal Spanish matter” [but] .. that Berlin had “great interest in the maintenance of stability in Spain”. ...

While publicly refusing to take sides on whether a Catalan breakaway is desirable, few European leaders would welcome it.

As with the 2014 referendum in Scotland, which unlike Catalonia’s vote was held with the blessing of the central government in London, countries fear encouraging separatists at home: Belgium’s Flemings, Italy’s Lombards and so on. There is also a broader unwillingness as Britain exits from the EU to open another Pandora’s box of economic uncertainty and legal disruption.

It can no longer be denied that "global institutions" are in trouble. Trump's UN speech about the resurgence of nations may not be as foolish as the media says. Vox wrote that "in his maiden speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, President Donald Trump painted a dark vision of a world where every nation stands alone and cooperation is transactional and motivated by self-interest rather than shared values."  But that seemed exactly the sentiment activists at Howard University intended to convey. “Go home __, you’re not our __.”  There's the other and there's the us.

Shared values can't exist in a world where each ever splintering group seeks its own "safe space" only a step ahead of the pursuing harpies of cultural appropriation. "Divide and conquer" couldn't live in the same town as "we are the world" forever.  Sooner or later the global project had to square off against identity politics and it looks like the hyphens are winning.

The high tide of the European idea probably occurred during its expansion into the Ukraine and has been in retreat ever since. Though 2016 may be remembered as the year Hillary lost the presidential election, the Guardian soberly noted it was also the moment the once-expanding EU contracted for the first time in its history. Though European commissioners may say, "Don’t believe that the unfortunate decision of Brexit will have any influence."

In reality, the initial Eastern Partnership plans are in tatters, as both enlargement fatigue inside the EU and a stick-carrot combination from Russia has pushed a number of the countries away from wanting further integration with the EU. Two of them, Belarus and Armenia, have joined Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union, an explicit challenge to the EU, while nobody seriously speaks about Ukraine or Georgia as members any more.

If the global order lost its hard power with Hillary's defeat, it eroded its cultural influence further through absurd virtue signaling that seems to have lost all sense of proportion. "Former [Australian] prime minister Tony Abbott says he was shocked when a man wearing a 'Vote Yes' [to same-sex marriage] badge assaulted him after requesting a handshake in a 'sign of trust and peace.'"

"It's a shock to have a fellow Australian seeking to shake your hand turn a handshake into an assault," Mr Abbott told reporters in Hobart this morning.

"Normally a handshake is a sign of trust and peace, it's a sign of two people wanting to deal openly and courteously with each other."

Headbutts and antifa riots are now par for the course. Global institutions are losing influence not just to resurgent nations, but to the pace of disruptive technological change. That may explain why the left has not come back since 2016 and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is actually being mooted to run for president.

The damage to old order was illustrated by the shift of the mantle of leader of the free world by the media to Angela Merkel, as a ship is conned from an emergency position after the normal bridge has been demolished. Merkel may eke out a victory in the latest German elections, but only at the price of being driven further to the left, as the New Yorker notes. (emphasis mine)

Angela Merkel didn’t make it to New York to hear President Donald Trump tell other world leaders, at the United Nations General Assembly, that he would destroy North Korea if “Rocket Man” didn’t coöperate. She was busy campaigning for what could—and almost certainly will—be her fourth term as Chancellor of Germany, keeping her post as the most powerful woman in a world filled with unstable men. ...

That doesn’t mean that the German elections are without tension and last-minute suspense. In the latest polls, the C.D.U./C.S.U., which is technically the center-right party but has a program that would be thought shockingly moderate by members of today’s G.O.P., has been holding steady, at about thirty-six per cent. But the traditional center-left mainstay, the Social Democratic Party, has been withering—it is now at twenty-two per cent. At the same time, the far-right nationalist, xenophobic, and explicitly anti-Islam Alternative for Germany (A.f.D.) is rising in the polls, some of which show it with as much as twelve per cent of the vote, with a large number of Germans still undecided. This puts the A.f.D. well over the five-per-cent threshold guaranteeing representation in the Bundestag—a dangerous landmark. No such far-right party in Germany has reached that threshold in the postwar era. Merkel would never form a coalition with the A.f.D. She could have C.D.U./C.S.U. form a coalition with the S.P.D.—a scenario known as a “Black-Red” coalition because of the parties’ respective colors.

Identity politics and other Left-wing causes once used to clear the way for globalism have, like Frankenstein's Monster, escaped their chains and are besieging the Victor and Igor in the last room of the castle.  The unintended consequences of unbridled hyphenation, coupled with a "failure to account for human nature ... the chaotic nature of the universe—and especially its quality of having small, apparently insignificant changes with far-reaching effects" has caught up with the End of History and threatens to continue it.

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Support the Belmont Club by purchasing from Amazon through the links below.

Books:

The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of the Men Who Risked All For the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II, by Gregory A. Freeman. This book is an account of Operation Halyard, the OSS mission to recover more than 500 American airmen shot down and trapped behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia. While local Serbian peasants gave refuge to the soldiers while they waited for rescue, once the operation started, the risks were incredible. The starving Americans had to construct a landing strip large enough for C-47 cargo planes — without tools, without alerting the Germans, and without endangering the villagers. And the cargo planes had to make it through enemy airspace and back — without getting shot down themselves.

Tank: The Definitive Visual History of Armored Vehicles, by DK. A visual history of armored vehicles, from the early tanks of World War I to present-day models, created in association with the Smithsonian Institution. It combines comprehensive photographic spreads with in-depth histories of key manufacturers and specially commissioned visual tours of the most iconic examples of their groundbreaking firepower. With two exclusive prints of a 1940 M3A1 (Stuart) and a 1940 StuG III.

Strategy: A History, Sir Lawrence Freedman, one of the world's leading authorities on war and international politics, captures the vast history of strategic thinking, from David's use of deception against Goliath, to the modern use of game theory in economics; from the surprisingly advanced strategy practiced in primate groups, to those of Achilles and Odysseus in The Iliad, of Sun Tzu and Machiavelli, the great military innovations of Baron Henri de Jomini and Carl von Clausewitz, the insights into corporate strategy by Peter Drucker and Alfred Sloan, and the work of leading social scientists working on strategy today. He tackles the core issue at the heart of strategy - whether it is possible to manipulate and shape our environment rather than simply become the victim of forces beyond one's control - and emerges with a picture of strategy through time - and inherently unpredictable circumstances - that is fluid and flexible.

For a list of books most frequently purchased by readers, visit my homepage.


Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with your friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres

Rebranding Christianity, or why the truth shall make you free

The Three Conjectures, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age

Storming the Castle, why government should get small

No Way In at Amazon Kindle. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.

Storm Over the South China Sea, how China is restarting history in the Pacific

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