29 November 2016   1 comment

Ian Buruma is an exceptionally insightful observer of world affairs.  He has written an extended essay on his interpretation of the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump.  He views these two events as indicative of what he calls “the end of the Anglo-American era”.  He traces the beginning of that end to the elections of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in the US and Great Britain in the 1980s.  His observation of the extended effects of their policies concludes in this way:

“Radical economic liberalism did more to destroy traditional communities than any social-democratic governments ever did. Thatcher’s most implacable enemies were the miners and industrial workers. The neoliberal rhetoric was all about prosperity “trickling down” from above. But it never quite worked out that way. Those workers and their children, now languishing in impoverished rust-belt cities, received another blow in the banking crisis of 2008. Major postwar institutions, like the I.M.F., which the United States set up in 1945 to secure a more stable world, no longer functioned properly. The I.M.F. did not even see the crisis coming. Large numbers of people, who never recovered from the crash, decided to rebel and voted for Brexit — and for Trump.”

I encourage everyone to read this essay.

As we have suspected, Syrian officials have openly stated that they wish to take full control of the city of Aleppo before President-Elect Trump is inaugurated.  The timing is important since the expectation is that Mr. Trump, if presented with a fait accompli, will not challenge President Assad’s control of all of Syria.  Both Assad and Putin are certain that Mr Trump will not try to back the so-called “moderate” rebels in Syria who seek Assad’s overthrow but who also oppose Assad.  The fate of the Syrian people appears to be sealed.  What remains to be seen is how Assad will try to recover any legitimacy in the eyes of the Syrian people.

Fighting continues between Pakistani militants and the Indian Army in the disputed territory of Kashmir.  Since last July the violence has been steady but relatively low-level.  It is not clear whether the fighting signals an intent to escalate, but these sporadic attacks are clearly attempts to determine weak points in the Indian defense lines.  There does not seem to be any high-level talks going on to resolve the tension and both sides seem willing to tolerate the violence.  How long that tolerance will last is unknown.

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Posted November 29, 2016 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

One response to “29 November 2016

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  1. People around me tend to believe that Trump won’t be able to make very extreme decisions at his will even if he planned to do so according to many of his remarks, because the U.S. political system has such nature that the president doesn’t have the absolute power. Would that be an appropriate way to think?

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