In light of recent news, it’s becoming almost too clear that the world is going through a bit of a rough patch. And by this I mean absolute turmoil and sheer uncertainty. In June the UK made the decision to leave the EU. The biggest market opt-out ever seen has sent the world into a darkness fuelled by uncertain consequence. And it doesn’t stop there – this month a man with unprecedented levels of inexperience and political incorrectness, yet a worrying knack for causing controversy in all the wrong ways was elected as leader of the US. To put it plainly, we have no idea what Donald Trump has in store for us as the soon-to-be most influential and powerful figure across the globe.
Trump has a mountain to climb before him. His country is in an advanced stage of moral and cultural rot as argued by many researchers. With a hefty $19 trillion worth of debt building up behind a curtain of ruthless spending – the US is on a one-way ticket to financial oblivion. But this “great” nation’s problems don’t end with finance but instead are seen across almost every conceivable statistic. From: an obesity crisis that reaches 43% of the population and a 40% rise in illegal immigration (since 2014), to the issues of preventing IS terrorists from flourishing and a massively shrinking middle-class – Trump’s mountain could dwarf Mordor.
Oh, and this mountain comes served with its very own complex road-blocks among its path to the top that could take decades to unravel. The severity of America’s problems requires more thought then just tax payer’s money being aimlessly wasted. The US faces a potent epidemic whereby the sedentary lifestyle is becoming increasingly apart of American society and culture. It was during the Cold War that the US served as a guarantor of stability to all. Its national interests were defined by other nations who were genuinely interested in peace, free-market economics and accessible trade-routes. Let’s not forget the US, backed by unrivalled military power, once had the capabilities to keep many regional conflicts under control – i.e. Pakistan and India, North and South Korea, Israel and the former Yugoslavia. Instead of dominating world affairs it acted as arbiter of last resort.
Today power is spread between other countries and America’s position in global affairs has someone slipped backwards. Trump must reverse the lost credibility of previous military interventions, such as that of Iraq and end the “leadership from behind” culture believed to weaken the US by economists worldwide. It’s widely acknowledged that the US Is seen to be inward-looking with isolationist leanings that have gained traction in the political mainstream.
Citigroup’s “Global Political Risk” analysis nicely summaries – noting how “the threshold of what constitutes US national interest has narrowed markedly in comparison to previous decades”.
And “with no-one to replace the US as a world-leading power within the international system, the “Great Power Sclerosis” is beginning to take play”.
Suddenly, we are finding rogue players begin to compromise the international system with no-one to defuse regional and local conflict. To many, it’s only a matter of time before a major war is sparked again. We don’t need to look further than Moscow to realise that. And alongside this, it’s the more extreme “outsider” politicians and public figures that are beginning to emerge. Diplomacy is ineffective against a rising sentiment of injustice and inequality among increasingly diverse social groupings. Thus, today we have increased anti-establishment sentiment, protests, violent demonstrations and more frequent terrorist attacks.
The once comfortable sectors of society are feeling increasingly vulnerable – exacerbated by the growing reality that: political significance today is less about elections but rather how it influences the context for key elections. With France and Germany facing key elections next year, as do the scheduled political transitions in China and Russia, Trump must look to cleaning up the image his country portrays across the world. In particular, he must focus his attention to mending broken relations with Russia.
The iconic splendour of the Gatsbian 20s, 30s and 40s once envied by the world has faded into distant memory, with the American “dream” washed down with it. President Xi Jinping of China has already began establishing military power and emphasising national strength with “Guanjun Guojia Genti”. Simply put, China is looking to replace the US as the world leading power. America needs a hero, and by this I don’t mean another Marvel character weakened by great actors in not-so-great films, but a real hero who can lift America out of the ashes. Whoever that hero is, we need you soon.
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