A new era

9 November 2016

When I went to sleep yesterday night I was expecting my daughters Yuki and Mika to wake up in a world where three of the most powerful persons are women++Powerful womenTheresa May, Angela Merkel and Hillary Clinton. Instead, we woke up to a world in which a misogynistic, ignorant, racist, fear-monger was elected to be the next president of the United States of America. That makes it pretty likely that they will grow up in a world that is considerably worse than the one I grew up in.

But this is not about my daughter’s role models (we will find others), this is about the end of an era. Most directly Trump’s victory will affect the US. While this can play out in many ways, it is hard to imagine a way in which this will not cause a lot of hurt to the most vulnerable people in society: (undocumented) immigrants, minorities and generally all those who can’t or don’t want to come up for their own interests at the expense of others.

Trump, and more importantly the extremist right wing networks and strategists who have enabled his success, will have the full political apparatus (both houses of congress, the presidency and the supreme court) aligned to turn back progress that has been made over the last decades. America will become a worse place to live for lots of people, and that fills me with dread.

Even worse, Trump will inherit the targeted assassination machine built and employed mercilessly by President Obama. From the perspective of those killed and maimed by drone strikes and other assassination methods it does not really matter if the strike was authorised by Obama or Trump, but it does not take a lot of imagination to fear that President Trump will be even more indiscriminate in unleashing the hellfires.

An uncertain future for Europe

Closer to home, Trump has questioned the traditional security alignments between the US and Europe. At the same time he has shown remarkable affinity with the Russian President Putin. If this leads to a strategic new alignment between Russia and the US this may very well have far-reaching consequences for peace and stability in EuropeTrump, and more importantly the extremist right wing networks and strategists who have enabled his success, will have the full political apparatus aligned to turn back progress that has been made over the last decades. . Much of the uncomfortable but peaceful co-existence between the European neighbours of Russia and Russia itself is based on military hegemony of the US that is backing us up. We may soon find ourselves in a drastically different environment characterised by a degree of instability and danger that is unknown to most of the European people of my generation (with the exception of those who witnessed the self-destruction of Yugoslavia from close by).

It also looks pretty certain that the era of free trade fundamentalism will come to an end. TTIP & TTP are effectively dead as of this morning 08:29 CET++The decisive momentAt 02:29 ET the Associated Press was the first news organisation to call the election: “WASHINGTON (AP) – Donald Trump elected president of the United States.” and while that is not necessarily a bad thing, it makes me wonder whether the system that put free trade ahead of pretty much all other considerations will be replaced by something better. I have been somewhat hypocritical in enjoying the perks of being in a privileged position of the ever more interconnected world produced by this system, and I can’t really imagine being thrown back in a world that is much more focussed on nation states, but this seems to be where we are heading.

Standing up against populism at home

Closest to home, the most worrying thing about this morning were the triumphant tweets of Geert Wilders (the racist and nationalistic populist who fancies himself the equivalent of Trump over here) in which he predicts to win back the Netherlands. If we have learned one lesson this year it is that we have to treat a Wilders’ victory during next year’s election as a very real possibility.

Geert Wilders predicts to "win back the Netherlands".
Wilders' tweet

Geert Wilders predicts to "win back the Netherlands".

Maker: Geert Wilders

Rights: All rights reserved

Download
Geert Wilders predicts to "win back the Netherlands".

While most of the developments I have described are out of my realm of influence, this morning made something crystal clear for me: If we do not start doing everything we can to prevent a Wilders’ victory from happening++It starts with understandingAnd while I have no idea at this point what this would entail, it is clear that this starts by understanding the motivations of those who support the policies of Wilders, Trump et al, and to develop credible alternatives that address their concerns., we have only ourselves to blame and then we will be in even deeper shit when we wake up on 16 March 2017.

Deze tekst heeft een Creative Commons Naamsvermelding-licentie (CC BY) en is gekopieerd van de Kennisland-website. Ga voor de volledige versie met afbeeldingen, streamers en noten naar https://www.kl.nl/en/opinion/a-new-era/

This text has a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) and has been copied from the Kennisland website. For a full version with images, streamers and notes go to https://www.kl.nl/en/opinion/a-new-era/