A World Divided

In June last year the people of the U.K. voted by 51.9% to 48.1% to leave the European Union. ‘Brexit’ had triumphed, but only just. The result highlighted a nation deeply divided, perhaps more so than it had ever been since the Civil War of 1642.

In November last year the people of the United States of America voted Donald Trump as their new president. The result was so close that, had it not been for the Electoral College system of democracy in that country, his opponent would now be occupying the White House, and Mister Trump would have retired with his tail between his legs. Another nation deeply divided in its political thinking, perhaps the most its citizens have been set against each other since the American Civil War of 1861.

Today, we learn that Turkey’s leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has succeeded in his attempt to become the virtual dictator of that country by a mere 51% of the vote. Yet another bitterly divided nation. [1]

After a British ‘Brexit’ the far-right wing of the Tory Party established itself in government without a mandate from the people. It’s leader, Theresa May, is proving herself a Margaret Thatcher on steroids. Her political ideal is an alliance with the right-wing Trump regime in America, more power to the corporations, and almost certainly the eventual ‘Americanization’ of the British National Health Service.

Meanwhile, Trump and his cohorts inflate the military budget and begin a strategy of ‘do as we say, or else,’ to the rest of the world. North Korea, Russia, and China are lined up in U.S. crosshairs and Trump’s second-in-command has only today made clear that nuclear war is an option firmly entrenched on the table. [2]

Quite how Turkey’s Erdogan will react to all this is still debatable. The country’s future is as yet a closed book, but given his treatment of innocent academics, journalists, and others following the abortive coup against him last year, it cannot appear exactly rosy.

On May 7th this year, the French people will vote for a new president. The far-right nationalist party leader, Marine Le Pen, has been doing well in the polls…

…but is not thought to have any chance of becoming the overall winner. But then, Brexit was unexpected, Trump was a rank outsider, and a secular Turkey never really anticipated Erdogan would get his way.

A world divided as never before is a world enveloped in conflict and drawing closer to eventual war. If the French throw Marine Le Pen to the wolves on May 7th it will keep at least one candle of hope burning in this otherwise darkened world. If they don’t it will add one more division of conflict to this bitterly divided planet.

[1] “Turkey referendum: Vote expanding Erdogan powers ‘valid'” BBC, April17th 2017

[2] “Pence: US era of strategic patience with North Korea over” BBC, April 17th 2017

2 Replies to “A World Divided”

  1. We are, and have been, in a period of having to expect the unexpected, again and again, and so far the unexpected has not been helpful. Mind you, re Trump’s unexpected win I’m not at all sure we’d have been any better off with Hillary Clinton. It might have felt and looked better to the outside world, but we’d have had the same old same old stuff.

    She’d have had to toe the line as all presidents have had to do, irrespective of their promises. Even Bernie would have had to do so, sad to say. Now Ms May has called a snap election – will the unexpected pattern hold? Will Labour win – I can’t see it happening, but then I couldn’t see Brexit or Trump happening either.

    The rest of European politics is a blur to me, but I get the general gist of it – dangerous problems everywhere! All the more reason for the EU to remain intact, UK included, in my opinion.

  2. Twilight – in Liverpool there used to be a large department store called “Lewis’s” (long gone now, I’m afraid) and when something was near impossible a well-used phrase used to be, “If such-and-such happens I’ll bare my bum in Lewis’s window!” I’m tempted to use that phrase when considering the odds of Labour winning on June 8th. But I won’t.
    France will elect their new president on May 7th. If Marine Le Pen is elected then the EU is finished. Trump’s supporting her, and likely May would be happy if she succeeded. It’s unlikely, but I wouldn’t risk baring my posterior on the un-likelihood of that happening, either.

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