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The Spreading Cloud

Without anybody quite being aware of it identity politics has taken on a life of its own.  The campaign against Confederate statues has moved like a pullulating cloud of nanoparticles to the national anthem protest in the NFL. One arm of the cloud has spread to major league baseball.  A tendril may soon make the jump to NASCAR racing.  There's no escape from the spreading politicization any more, not in the theater, stadium, school or social media. We're trapped in hell.

Those who still believe that "someone" can call the spreading influence off might ask themselves if Hillary Clinton or Debbie Wasserman Schultz can coax it back into the bottle. Chances are -- no -- events are in charge  for now.  As James Kirchick notess the Spectator Steve Bannon is simply eating popcorn.

‘The Democrats, the longer they talk about identity politics, I got ‘em,’ Bannon gloated to Kuttner. ‘I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.’

Rare does a political strategist so explicitly reveal his game plan. Rarer do his opponents utterly fail to recalibrate their tactics in response. From the day Trump announced his candidacy for president with a smear maligning Mexicans as rapists, to the release of a tape in which he joked about groping women, the American left has campaigned against Donald Trump largely on claims pertaining to identity: that Trump is a racist, a misogynist, a xenophobe, an Islamophobic bigot. ... it was clearly an unsuccessful strategy, as Trump not only won the election, but did so with a higher portion of the black and Latino vote than his Republican predecessor, and with a respectable 42 percent of women.

Liberals thought they had a destruct button for times like this and watched in horror as Trump emerged from their ultimate sanction unscathed. Kirchick relates , "of all the shocks of the Trump presidency, it is the public reaction – or lack thereof – to Charlottesville and the ensuing aftermath that have caused the greatest disbelief among the political and media elite ... I cannot recall a single occurrence to which there has been a more uniformly negative media outcry than Trump’s reaction to the events in Charlottesville. But what Trump was able to do – by taking Bannon’s advice – was pivot from the controversy over apportioning blame for violence to the politically safer issue of iconoclasm, where public opinion verges drastically from that of the elite media."  Frank Cannon put it succinctly: the ‘Salon Left’ is killing the Democratic Party.

With the domestic situation out of control it's telling that the brightest hopes of the status quo are reposed not on Washington but Berlin. Ben Rhodes tweeted "Merkel wins another term and the world breathes a sigh of relief."  He forgot to add that Merkel survived in severely damaged condition.  She must make deals with parties like the Greens to stay in office. The Guardian reported that having suffered "its worst result since 1949, Merkel’s CDU will still need to find one or more coalition partners in order to find a governing majority, or pursue a minority government."

With the calculus dominated by the need to contain an explosively growing AfD Merkel may be forced to pander to left wing causes and the very moment she needs to distance herself from their rampages. The German antifa predictably descended on right wing victory party in what is doubtless a preview of things to come.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has won a fourth term in office but will have to build an uneasy coalition to form a Government after her conservatives haemorrhaged support in the face of a surge by the far-right.

The anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) stunned the establishment by winning 13.1 per cent of the vote, projected results showed, a result that will bring a far-right party into Parliament for the first time in more than half a century. ... With Parliament now fragmented, Ms Merkel appears likely to cobble together a tricky three-way coalition with a pro-business group and the Greens.

As the results came in, hundreds of anti-AfD demonstrators descended on the club where the party's leaders were celebrating their third-place finish. Shouting "All Berlin hates the AfD!", "Nazi pigs!" and other slogans, several protesters threw bottles as police kept held them back from the building in Berlin.

Merkel may find it as hard to restrain the German left as American liberals did to rein in the statue topplers. The German hope of Ben Rhodes is caught up in the same deadly drama that wrecked Clinton. Deutsche Welle reported Anti-AfD protests breaking out across Germany after election with police "monitoring the situation and prohibiting the protesters from drawing close to the building housing the AfD's victory party."  If that sounds familiar that's because it is.

The old consensus uniparties are being torn apart by a runaway left and the populist reaction to them.  The cloud descends, destroys and moves on.

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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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