British Breakfast

Hi everybody, and welcome to another miscellany of European sense and nonsense. I’m focusing this week on how POTUS*’s various foreign policy initiatives are being perceived, and the verdicts are decidely mixed.

As is becoming usual, Patrick Cockburn has words of wisdom.

Donald Trump is often compared to Vladimir Putin by the media which detects ominous parallels between the two men as populist nationalist leaders. The message is that Trump with his furious attacks on the media would like to emulate Putin’s authoritarianism. There is some truth in this, but when it comes to the effect on US status and power in the world, the similarities are greater between Trump and Yeltsin than between Trump and Putin.

Trump does not drink alcohol, but his incoherent verbal onslaughts on Australia, Mexico and Sweden since he became President are strongly reminiscent of Yeltsin’s embarrassing antics. Both men won power as demagogic anti-establishment leaders who won elections by promising to reform and clear out corruption in the existing system. The result in Russia was calamitous national decline and the same thing could now happen in America.

It will be difficult for the US to remain a super-power under a leader who is an international figure of fun and is often visibly detached from reality. His battle cry of “Fake News” simply means an inability to cope with criticism or accept facts or views that contradict his own. World leaders who have met him say they are astonished by his ignorance of events at home and abroad.

This cannot go on very long without sizeably diminishing American global influence as its judgement and actions become so unpredictable. Over the last three quarters of a century, countries of all political hues – dictatorships and democracies, republics and monarchies – have wanted to be an ally of the US because it was the most powerful player in world affairs.

The election of Trump brings with it another negative but less tangible outcome that is already eating away at American primacy: the US will be not only divided but unable to focus on for the foreseeable future on anything other than the consequences of Trumpism. When US politicians, officials and media look at Russia, China, Ukraine, Iran, Israel or anywhere else in the world from Sweden to Australia, they will view them through a prism distorted by his preconceptions and fantasies.

Once it was smaller European countries like Ireland and Poland that were derided for an exaggerated and unhealthy preoccupation with their own problems. A Polish joke from the 1920s relates how an Englishman, a Frenchman and a Pole competed to write the best essay on the elephant. The Englishman described “elephant hunting in India”, the French wrote about “the elephant in love” and the Pole produced a lengthy paper on “the elephant and the Polish Question”. These days the Englishman would undoubtedly write about “the elephant and Brexit” and an American, if he was allowed to enter the competition, would write interminably about “the elephant and Donald Trump”.

In Switzerland’s NZZ, Eric Gujer considers how Trump’s confusing rhetoric about foreign affairs may run into difficulty because America’s long-term strategic interests don’t actually change all that much whover is in the White House:

The new American government considers NATO to be a useful thing, it keeps its distance from Russia, and it conforms to the status quo in Asia. While the administration is pursuing an ideologically impregnated agenda in domestic policy, it appears to have less fixed views on diplomatic and military matters. This gives the ministerial bureaucracy the opportunity to play out their experience and to continue proven traditions.

The presidential advisors to the Interior are on a crusade that has just begun. The foreign policy team consists of pragmatists who think in the pathways of Orthodox politics.

The attraction of election campaigns is that everyone can demand everything. Once in the government offices, the actors then quickly notice that some wishes are mutually exclusive. Someone who supports aggression towards Iran will find a deep friendship with Russia difficult. After all, Moscow and Tehran are allied combatants in Syria, and the Iranian military would like to intensify this cooperation, for example, through armaments deals.

Anyone who perceives North Korea and its missile tests as a threat cannot be completely aggressive with Beijing. After all, the Chinese are the only ones who can influence the Korean regime. And someone wanting to form an alliance with the Arab-Sunni states against the Islamic state does not do itself many favors by being Netanyahu’s poodle in the Palestine issue.

The new government has not yet formulated its priorities. Surprises can not be ruled out. But the expectation seems justified, that many answers will be rather conventional. Especially since an apparatus which is constantly busy dealing with its boss’s mental flashes develops only little impact.

Having no idea is not a sufficient prerequisite for a successful foreign policy. And even those who have an idea, still have to implement it. The Obama administration developed the concept of a turn to Asia with a lot of noise, but it remained largely at the level of announcements. There are enough pitfalls for ambitious strategists. Therefore, the probability of Trump’s team changing very little is not small. In foreign policy this would be an orderly result.

Not everyone thinks that would be a good idea. Giampaolo Rossi thinks that would just show how the military-industrial complex runs everything anyway. (Warning: this is a very odd piece.)

When politics (ie the Government and Parliament) is strong, legitimate and sovereign, the Deep State is kept at bay, under control and may even have a positive function of stability…
When politics is weak, the Deep State prevails over it, the conditions and blackmails becoming a sort of “shadow government” .. and it may even happen that the Deep State becomes itself the government.

When we complain of why governments change but never change anything in a country, it is because we do not perceive the immense power of the Deep State.

The Michael Flynn political elimination, the man that Donald Trump had put in charge of the National Security Council the right to reshape American foreign policy, is proof of the violent offensive that the Deep State is mounting against the US President.

The Deep State is the true Donald Trump enemy; the axis of the corrupt media system and the Soros-funded activist violence to scare the public, keeps America in the hands of ruthless elite.

We’ll see if Donald Trump will be able to resist the offensive that the Deep State has unleashed against him and against American democracy or whether he capitulates. If he can go down in history as a President or will become a mere puppet in the hands of the War Party as was Obama and Clinton would have been. Whether thanks to him America will again be a model of democracy for the world or the nation will remain the hostage of a criminal elite that in these nine years has produced humanitarian chaos and wars all over the Middle East to feed the geopolitical games and financial economic interests of Washington lobbies.

Gabriel Elefteriu thinks that the new National Security Adviser will have a significant effect:

Towards the end of his speech, the General also mentioned the need to “think in competitive terms again”, citing a recent essay by Nadia Schadlow that warned of the “serious political competitions underway for regional and strategic dominance”. This may turn out to be the most significant indicator of the change in American grand strategy which is likely to follow. A wider problem with Western strategic thinking has been at play: put simply, after the Cold War we stopped thinking about our adversaries in competitive terms, and switched to a “risk” or “threat-based” model; they did not.

Great power competition never stopped. We just chose to ignore it as the “unipolar moment” dawned and as the West – America especially – basked in its “peerless” status. We mothballed the sophisticated ability we had acquired during the Cold War for calculating military balances – or, as the Soviets called it, the “correlation of forces” – and for understanding the true “power” of our adversaries, in all its manifestations.

In conjunction with other fallacies of the kind enumerated by General McMaster, this has proven highly detrimental to America and the West’s strategic “performance” over the past fifteen years. Any risk-based formula is by definition un-strategic: among other drawbacks, such  neat categories of risk oversimplify a complex landscape; it takes a passive, short-term approach rather than dealing with underlying causes; and it struggles to consider threats in their full context. It is not difficult to see why such a way of looking at the world would blind Western strategists to the emergence of things like: “hybrid warfare”; the resurgence of Russian conventional military capability; or the expansion of Iran’s military footprint across the Middle East.

Most importantly, a risk-based approach makes it difficult to see the whole picture of an integrated enemy strategy which uses propaganda campaigns, proxies and other forms of power  alongside conventional forces. It is therefore of limited use in proposing effective counter-measures or preventing unwelcome surprises.

Dan O’Brien in the Irish Independent worries a lot about trade:

With the solitary exception of a period around the Iraq invasion, when elements within the first George W Bush administration contemplated a divide-and-conquer strategy vis-a-vis Europe, the US has encouraged European integration since its inceptions. It has done so because it believed a strong, coherent Europe was in its best interests – whether as a bulwark against the Soviets in the past or as a natural supporter of most US positions in global affairs today.

Trump is very different. His ‘America First’ vision of relations with other countries is based on one-to-one dealing, rather than on messier multilateral arrangements. His logic appears to be that because the US is more powerful than any other country, conducting relations bilaterally will mean he always has the upper hand. There is certainly a logic to this, but most scholars of international relations argue that exclusive bilateralism, even for a superpower, won’t work in a world as complex and interconnected as ours.

That Donald Tusk, the pro-American Pole who is president of the European Council, has publicly listed the Trump administration as a threat to Europe as great as Russia and terrorism speaks volumes about the concerns that exist. But it is not just multilateral-type structures that Trump has railed against. In speeches and tweets, he has aggressively lashed out against how the international economy functions, despite the US being one of the greatest beneficiaries of it over decades. Rather than believing that freely flowing trade and investment can result in gains for all, he takes a zero-sum game view of economic relations – what one country gains another must necessarily lose.

The longer term damage to the rules-based global trading system could be even more serious. For those who believe that the world needs global institutions and global governance structures to deal with global issues, the World Trade Organisation is pivotal. Unlike many other toothless international organisations, the WTO has a full-scale court structure whose rulings members accept. That includes the US, which is a regular litigant and complainant at the WTO in Geneva.

If the US were to reject an adverse finding by the WTO against a border tax or signal early in the process that it did not accept the jurisdiction of the body (Trump last summer described it as a “disaster”), then the linchpin of the entire international trading system would be in question.

One month into the Trump presidency, there is almost as much reason to believe that Ireland, Europe and the rest of the world will suffer negative consequences as there was on the day of his election. Hopes of a Trump-lite presidency have all but evaporated. Tumultuous times are ahead.

We are led to believe that Trump’s foreign policy is largely driven by the exciting Steve Bannon, so this piece from the Frankfurter Allgemeine by James Kirchick is particularly interesting. Helpfully, it’s in English already:

The defining ideological battle of our present moment can best be understood as a competition between two individuals: White House Senior Counselor Stephen Bannon and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The fate of the Western world as we know it may very well depend on whose worldview succeeds.

Bannon, President Donald Trump’s most influential and powerful advisor, sees Western civilization locked in an eternal struggle with Islam. “We’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict,” he told a conference of conservative religious leaders assembled at the Vatican in 2014. “If you look back at the long history of the Judeo-Christian West struggle against Islam, I believe that our forefathers kept their stance, and I think they did the right thing.” Bannon is obsessed with war; references to battle a constant refrain of nearly every speech he’s delivered and interview he’s granted. “There is a major war brewing, a war that’s already global,” he said in 2014, “we’re in a war of immense proportions,” a “global war against Islamic fascism.”

Unlike Bannon, who casually conflates the religion of 1.7 billion practicing Muslims with a radical variety of that faith bent on violence and subjugation, Merkel believes that Islam is compatible with Western democracy. In 2015, at the height of protests organized by the Dresden-based People Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA), the Chancellor expressed her conviction that “Islam belongs to Germany” and that those joining the weekly demonstrations had “hatred in their hearts.” Later that year, in a move that would earn her the undying enmity of Bannon and the right-wing nationalist website he used to run,, Merkel opened Germany’s doors to some 1 million mostly Muslim migrants. Whatever one thinks of that decision (and for what it’s worth, I believe it was misguided), it sprung from the best of intentions, namely, a belief that the democratic West has a duty to help those in need regardless of their religious affiliation.

Ironically, many Europeans would find much to like in Bannon’s economic philosophy, characterized as it is by a reverence for “enlightened capitalism” over “crony capitalism.” In his Vatican address, Bannon criticized the “state-sponsored capitalism” of Russia and China as well as the “Ayn Rand or the Objectivist School of libertarian capitalism”, both of which, he argued, have enriched “the party of Davos” while leaving the majority of “working men and women” behind. Though his protectionism is anathema to devotees of the world’s greatest free trade zone, the European Union, Bannon otherwise advocates the sort of system embraced by the broad consensus of German politicians, business leaders, and regular citizens, the “social market economy”.

If Bannon is basically a Christian (or Social) Democrat on economics and an anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist like Frank Gaffney on the question of Islam, he’s a Pat Buchanan-esque paleoconservative when it comes to national identity.

In the wake of Trump’s election, much has been said and written about how Germany in general, and Merkel in particular, are now the last remaining guardians of the liberal world order, a sentiment that Senator John McCain appeared to endorse over the weekend at the Munich Security Conference when he praised “the absolutely vital role that Germany and its honorable Chancellor, Chancellor Merkel, are playing in defense of the idea and the conscience of the West” and not so subtly chastised his own president for “flirting with authoritarianism and romanticizing it as our moral equivalent.” Talk of Merkel being “leader of the free world” is rather simplistic and self-flattering; Germany does not possess anything near the military means necessary to assume such responsibility and the scandalous prosecution of a comedian for insulting Turkey’s authoritarian president undermines its commitment to free speech. But in the emerging confrontation between Bannonism and Merkelism that characterizes the struggle for the soul and direction of the Western world, there can be no question of which Weltanschauung must prevail.

And that’s all I’ve got about POTUS*. I’ve been much more interested in the two by-elections in Britain this week, in which the main opposition party lost a seat to the governing party — the first time that has happened since 1982 — and Labour held off the challenge from UKIP in the constituency said to have voted most heavily for Brexit, the UKIP candidate being the newish leader of the party Paul Nuttall.

Both by-elections are held, amongst the commentariat at least, to have been catastrophic for the parties coming second. Labour losing Copeland means that Corbyn’s got to go, and UKIP failing to gain Stoke shows that they are completely irrelevant now that we’ve had the referendum (and of course Corbyn and the Corbynistas regard their holding the seat as evidence that Corbyn should stay).

My take is that Corbyn may be completely useless, but that ditching him won’t do Labour much good because they have no idea what to do. British politics is now Brexit, Brexit, Brexit and fuck all else. Big city Labour were Remainers, small town and rural Labour Leavers. Big city Labour is pro-immigration, small town and rural Labour massively anti. Labour face annihilation outside the big cities, and there aren’t enough seats in big cities for them to get anywhere near a majority. In fact, there aren’t enough seats in big cities for them to maintain even their present position. Prime Minister May keeps making speeches about the awfulness of corporate fat cats and how the economy has to be made to work a lot better for the people who make just about enough to get along: one may doubt the sincerity (although, actually, I don’t), but the problem there is that Brexit is so all-consuming that the government haven’t got time to actually do anything about her rhetoric. But while she is saying that sort of thing, what do the Labour Party say which isn’t the same, given that in order to reconnect with voters, they need to offer proposals which make the economy work better for the people who are just about getting along?

Which is also UKIP’s problem. They’ve achieved the Brexit vote they wanted, but since that was the only thing uniting them in the first place, they have no idea at all. And repellent though Farage is, he at least has a personality. Without him, UKIP are a pretty uninteresting bunch. Such policy as they have on non-Brexit matters is a ragbag of unconnected proposals on a range of issues: one can easily imagine that it was drawn up by a conference at which various obsessives each got up and talked convincingly about their one issue and nobody else knew enough to argue against them and so that’s what they all went along with. So they want rainbows but not unicorns (which give you cancer anyway) and to cut welfare spending overall but spend more on each component of welfare spending.

The Lib Dems are virtuous Remoaners and are getting no traction, and the SNP are psyching themselves up to fight another independence referendum on the interesting argument that because Scotland’s major trading partner is about to leave the EU, it will benefit the Scottish economy to join the EU and put up tariff barriers with England and Wales, and leave the sterling area for the eurozone, when the euro is still a weaker currency than the pound.

Which means there’s no coherent opposition to the Conservative government, which is waking up to the horrible realities of how incredibly difficult Brexit is going to be and the fact that if you divert half the Civil Service to sorting Brexit out, that leaves half the government’s other work not getting done.

And pics of Mother Theresa holding Donald’s tiny hand because he’s afraid of stairs aren’t really a substitute.




  1. Well, this was interesting. “Remoaners”—love it!

    “Soros-funded activist violence”? This is the first I’ve heard of it. If I become a violent activist, when will my check arrive?

    Thanks for the breakfast news. The times, they are a -changin’, and definitely not for the better.

    • I heard that from my Repub relatives about Fergensen and the demonstrations there…I had never heard that before but apparently it’s a big deal in deplorable land….

  2. great work Michael and thanks for joining us over here. Sooner or later we’ll all be here because the regressive voices at dk are slowly picking off anyone who won’t worship at their altar. Much like trump is what poor people think is rich over at teh gos you have posters who are what nerds think is cool.

  3. Thanks, Michael, for another plentiful and filling repast. You always seem to provide us with way more than can be consumed in one sitting. So, off to get more coffee and then finish.

  4. {{{Michael}}} – thanks so much for the British breakfast – looks edible, even good (if you’d just scramble that egg). And Good Morning, Village Folks.

    I wonder what rainbow-unicornland actually would be like. I imagine even here in The Village by the Moose Pond we’d each have a different idea. For me, there are a couple of “necessary components” – and at least one of them does not exist. Basic needs (air, water, food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, music/literature) would be met for everyone. Work would at least be safe and at best be interesting – and while taxes would cover that “basic needs” category, the pay would be sufficient to cover at least some of the “caprices” we all desire – how many depending on the job, of course. And the one that really doesn’t exist is some form of the “Enterprise Holodeck” to stash the Evil and/or Violent Ones so they could play out their evil and violent fantasies without hurting anyone. For the Evil and Violent Ones, internet gaming does not suffice – and they are dangerous unless confined from the general populace. (See Denise’s diary at DK.) In fact, if we could somehow get that impossible 3rd component in place, I think we could come up with a reasonable facsimile of the unlikely first one. sigh.

  5. Can someone who is better at this stuff attempt to explain the resurgence of right wing nationalism throughout the West? How interconnected is it? How much can be laid at the feet of Russian interference or provocation? I know this is neither simple nor given to a single answer, but I’d love to hear theories.

    • {{{DoReMI}}} I don’t claim expertise in international politics, but I think at it most basic the issue is that good people do not believe in evil people unless they have direct experience of it. Therefore the Evil Ones lie in wait until the generation that did have direct experience of it dies off (at least to the extent of no longer controlling political power).

      Those who were in or who liberated the Nazi death camps said “Never Again” – but they knew what they were saying never again to and about. Their grandchildren say the words but they don’t have a living connection there. They say it to the Past Evil and do not recognize the Present Evil. So “Never Again” to Hitler’s German Nazis and “they don’t really mean it” to Bannon’s American Nazis. All over the Western nations those who knew what “Never Again” referred to – a mindset, a form of power, an Evil – have died off and their grandchildren think it refers to a specific people in a specific place and time. That mindset seeking that form of power – that Evil – is always around. It always is a minority. It works in the dark to gain power. When the time of forgetting comes, it moves into the light and uses “divide and conquer” techniques to gain enough power to stop hiding what it is. And unfortunately more times than not, it manages to take over for a time.

      It’s usually although not always a short time – measured in years rather than decades – as far as a whole country is concerned. It unfortunately can and has lasted centuries, even millennia, as far as minorities and women are concerned. This is why White Males can and do forget – but Black folks? Never. They haven’t had a full generation from the lynchings Denise wrote about (DK FP today) – they won’t forget until they do.

      I have no idea whether or not we will ever break this “pendulum swing” – but I can promise you it won’t be as long as white males are the controlling powers. Because they have the privilege of being able to forget.

      • I planned, wrote, and scheduled my post for this coming Tuesday with some of this in mind…well before I read Denise’s excellent, thought-provoking diary. Mine is a mere shadow of hers, but I hope it will prompt continued self-examination for all of us. So much of our history of oppression has been Whitewashed that we (white Americans ) don’t know what we don’t know. I know that’s certainly true for me. I just ordered On the Courthouse Lawn because of Denise’s diary; once I’ve read it, I may do a follow-on post about it.

        In the meantime, I think maybe for the week after next, I’ll do a glance back at historical misogyny.

        • Good for you that you read Denise’s diary. I started into it and was sick at my stomach before the 2nd paragraph. I can hold their names in my heart and do what I can to stop the Evil – but I can’t deal with the details of what was done to them.

          Historical misogyny has much in common with slavery. There were just very special circumstances to the selling of women. Like only from father (uncle, grandfather, brother) to husband and no re-selling allowed – although a man could return an “unsatisfactory” wife. And it was legal to kill a slave long after it stopped being legal to kill a wife. (Although a man could usually get away with it if he claimed the wife was “cheating” on him.)

          I’m not going to say “have fun” with your research but I will definitely be interested in what you decide to write about it. moar {{{HUGS}}}

  6. Thanks for the round-up, MichaelHolmans.

    My depressed feeling (sorry, have a lot of those lately) is that even if we got rid of Trump next month, U.S. credibility will be shattered for the foreseeable future. Because everyone knows it could happen again, and those with the integrity to want to reform the system (ditch the EC, uniform reforms to voting across the country, systems of review in place) are at a disadvantage compared to those who like to game an unfair system to their advantage.

    • {{{b2bw}}} Those who game the system are always temporarily at advantage over honest folks because honest folks go with the “spirit of the law” and aren’t prepared for the folks who do “letter of the law” – and certainly aren’t prepared for an unequal system that allows one group “letter of the law” while requiring “spirit of the law” from another. But there are enough honest folks who can figure out what’s going on and come up with ways to block it that the gamers only have temporary advantage. It’s unfortunately true they can do a lot of damage while they have that advantage. sigh.

      America will lose, is losing, credibility in the world. Nothing we can do but get rid of the Rs and clean up the mess. As usual. And see if we can manage to hang onto power long enough to make some permanent changes going forward so we aren’t continually in the position of only getting power when the Rs have made an ungodly mess and only keeping it long enough to clean up that mess.

  7. Great breakfast, Michael!

    Re: The Deep State…you know, I believe in that up to a point. But I think this foreign policy article entitled “The Shallow State” is a great counterpoint to that notion.

    I don’t know about Europe, but in the US, I think that we have a society so firmly based on consumption and creating “needs” out of “wants” that it keeps people perpetually unsatisfied. That’s how it works, that’s how it sustains itself. I suspect this model is overdue for some heavy revision as we continue to deal with the consequences of a World Without Work. We’ll see.

    There’s a lot of justified dissatisfaction, not so much about our physical conditions, which are pretty good, but the emptiness of our society and of much of the work we are supposed to do to maintain it. The Berners channel that into “Revolution!™” but I think they are mainly in it for the drama, because they need the drama in their lives, some sense that there’s an overarching cause or meaning out there to be pursued.

    I think two of the answers are a universal basic income and more involvement at the local/community level. The difference between sterile suburbs with no town center and actual lively communities is pretty striking to me. One enriches. The other impoverishes.

    • Involvement at the community level is crucial for making real, permanent progress. And the shift from urban with its close neighbors and mass transit to suburbs with every-growing isolation is a large part of what caused the loss of community-level organizing and even community-level thinking. I’m not sure that can be countered on the physical level but a local/internet hybrid community may be the answer.

      Moving America into a consuming was a deliberate if short-sighted policy shift. Big Bidness of course loved it, but they didn’t start it. Part of FDR’s think tank came up with it as a way to prevent a post-war bust which was the “normal” economic response to no longer having government contracts for the war effort to drive the economy. If America was always replacing stuff because they threw it away instead of “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” of the previous generations, then the factories would keep making stuff and people would keep their jobs and the economy would go along hummingly. And indeed it did work for about 30 years – and then inflation entered the picture and we have Jimmy Carter blamed for the sins of the fathers you might say.

  8. Nice breakfast Michael, a lot to chew on. The DK diary list was what I expected today. The junior Senator from Vermont iis too pure to join the Democratic party after he berned it to the ground last year. Now his fan club who are also too pure tried for a hostile takeover of that party and since they couldn’t pull it off they are stamping their feet and wailing? Does anyone here feel their pain?? I think that a lot of them should just go, don’t want to deal with the bs next election

    • {{{kathy from pa}}} – Wanting to get away from whiny brats throwing temper tantrums because we won’t let them bern the house down is pretty much why there are two other Villages. Which makes it harder for us to work together to block the R adminstration but at least we still can.

      Prior to the 2016 election very few people knew who the heck jsfv was – it they didn’t live in VT or listen to Thom Hartman it was totally “huh? who he?” And I’d be just as happy to get back to that. The only relevance the man ever had for me is that he caucuses with the Dems so he helps us get/sometimes keep Congressional leadership positions. But so did blue dog Mark Pryor. I don’t value either of those men for more than that.

  9. Thanks for the brekkie, Michael, in my case more like brunch but palatable enough. Nothing brilliant or even coherent to comment, but I do appreciate the added perspective quite a lot.

    • {{{MomentaryGrace}}} – as to the breakfast – if I added a couple of servings of veggies and a serving of fruit, that breakfast would be spread out to cover me the entire day. heh. And your kitteh pictures are great comments. moar {{{HUGS}}}

      • {{{{{{{{bfitz}}}}}}}

        Hey, you’ve got tomato, mushrooms and beans, what more could you want? Okay throw in a blueberry scone… ;)

        • raw carrots, steamed green beans, romaine lettuce salad, and a dish of blueberries instead of the scone. And the kitteh for companionship :)

          • I could use one of those – the back problem is a pulled muscle. I can feel the “knot” but I can’t get it worked out. But it’s getting better. Just wish it would get better faster. LOL

  10. Hey, thanks for posting this! I saw it on Kos, but like others, I think I will be spending more time here than there from now on.
    Here in Australia, we have the same pressures of a re-invigorated isolationist right wing that is staunchly “Australia First.” But it makes way less sense here, because even the craziest isolationist recognises that Australia is totally dependent on trade with the rest of the world. What fuels it is the deep-seated denial of being part of Asia, and distrust (to put it mildly) of the rest of the region. Yellow and brown people, to be exact.
    I wish that Australia would take a lead role in Asia, not in terms of being the white bastion of civilisation, but because it does have a bit of economic might, and with TPP (alas) dead, the other smaller countries will be truly at the mercy of China. And we need to start engaging in this region independent of the US. The US under Trump will be at best an uncertain ally, and likely to ask way too much of Oz — for instance, I hope that the days of blindly following the US into armed conflict are over. I have heard rumors that Japan and Australia are exploring ways to resurrect at least parts of the TPP — that would be a good thing.
    I think the rest of the world will indeed have to step up and fill the vacuum; and perhaps the models of the future will be such regional coalitions. But if we are going to stay global, then Angela Merkel is my first choice of the new leader of the free world, followed by Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland.

Comments are closed.