Please, Do Not Get Offended, But…


ROME, Jan 22 2017 (IPS) – With the inauguration of Donald Trump on Jan. 20, the new leadership of the most powerful nation has signaled it is breaking away from the rest of the world. Here, a few thoughts…

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Roberto Savio

a) Those who voted Trump are generally totally unaware of what happens beyond their immediate surroundings.

So it will take a long time before they will realize that Trump is not about their real interest.

This means that the polarization and the division of the U.S. will continue for a long time to come. And in the end, disillusionment and frustration will result in a further decline of democracy, and with a possible new populism coming up.

b) The American democratic system is incomprehensible for us foreigners.

We understand the history, the constitution, everything. But we think that a system where somebody who with 3 million votes less than his opponent becomes president, on the basis that this was adequate two centuries ago, needs to be updated urgently.

And then you find out that this is not possible, because the smaller states are majority, and can block any constitutional change, like direct democracy.

This, for us, looks like an inadequate democratic system.

c) Since the Supreme court did install George W. Bush, and then gave a vote to the corporations because they have equal rights as the people, we foreigners look at the Supreme Court as a partisan place, not as the Supreme institution that is there to act in defense of the citizens.

Add to this the permanent fight between the legislative, judicial and executive, and instead of the balance of power that the Founding Fathers wanted, we have a dysfunctional democracy.

d) Elections now cost over 2 billion dollars. To be elected in the senate, you need a war chest of least 40 million dollars. You have two brothers who can invest in the elections 800 million dollars. That is not democracy, it is oligarchy.

All these are structural problems, and for me Trump is the evidence that democracy in the U.S. is in crisis. Yet, I ceased to discuss this with my American friends, because they are not only convinced to be in a democracy, but many, as George W. Bush said, the only democracy….

Maybe Trump will bring debates and reflections on the state of democracy in the US. But I doubt that the system will be able to evolve. Especially if Trump stays eight years….

But that said, a crisis of democracy is when people stop believing in it. In Europe this is what is happening, and the Brexit is a clear signal of that.

Today the European leaders of populist and xenophobe parties met in Coblenz, to coordinate themselves, in view of the next elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany.

Here two points, to echo somehow David:

1) All the right wing parties look to Putin as a point of reference. Defence of the family, religious values, national interests and identity, etc. Putin has been funding Le Pen, and Wilders, Farage, Salvini and so to look on him as a leader: not only Trump.

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2) Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, has declared that part of his job is to create an international Alliance of populist and xenophobe parties, and he has indicated Farage as the example of a European whom the White House is looking up to.

My conclusion: we are in for a hell of a time. And the best example that we have is that the compass is lost and that we all live in an Anglo world, with values of democracy, human rights, common gods, sustainable development, woman empowerment and so on, which all come from the Anglo world.

Pax Britannia lasted until 1914. It was replaced by Pax Americana. And in 11 months, both countries abdicated their role in the world… knowing well that we are in a multipolar world, with China, India and so on in the race…this is simply crazy…

*Author: Roberto Savio is the founder and former Director-General of international news agency Inter Press Service (IPS).

In recent years he has also founded Other News, a service providing ‘information that markets eliminate’.

*Roberto Savio’s Op-Ed was published in IPS. Go to Original. Some updates provided by the author have been incorporated.

Roberto Savio: utopie@ips.org. http://www.robertosavio.info.

Other News.

In Spanish: http://www.other-news.info/noticias/

In English: http://www.other-net.info/ 

Don’t miss these articles by Roberto Savio in Human Wrongs Watch:

The End of a Cycle ?

Some Uncomfortable Reflections on Trump Election

European Security, With or Without Russia?

Climate and Terrorism

How Did We Arrive to This Chaos?

‘Internationalism’ Is Out, ‘Nationalism’ Is Back

Is a Referendum a Valid Tool for Democracy?

Brexit and EUexit

Not Politically Correct Reflections on Brexit

Is It in Europe’s Interest to Push Russia into China’s Arms?

Fear Is Not a Good Counsellor

Greece, the Punching Ball of Germany

Islamophobia Is a Political Tool

The Hypocrisy of the West and Fiscal Paradise

Unnoticed, We Are Close to the Destruction of Our Planet

We Need Statesman and Values but We Get Selfish Politicians and Cynics

A Decalogue to Understand Terrorism and Its Consequences

Germany: Reaping What You Sow

Are We Entering Into a Long Term Stagnation?

Can Europe Survive?

Boutros Boutros Ghali, Turning Point in the History of United Nations

Europe Is Disintegrating While Its Citizens Watch Indifferent

The Lesson from Davos: No Connection to Reality

Poor 2016, So Many Handicaps 

Christmas, the Weather, the Republicans and the Rest of Us

Of Democracy and Climate – Two Lessons from Paris

Military Security and Human Security

How Much is Left of Syrian in the Syrian War?

Paris, the Refugees and Europe

A Politically Incorrect Reflection on the Paris Massacre

Global Threat, Global Response

The West Vote for a Better Yesterday

From European Union to Just a Common Market

The Sad Decline of Democracy

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Ten Major Handicaps Facing 2015 

The Sad Future of Our Planet

Europe Has Lost Its Compass

The Suicide of Europe

The Steady Decline of Social Europe

The “Incestuous Relations” Between Governments and Energy Corporations

Four Key Reasons to Understand the Irresistible Attraction of Radical Islam

Europe Is Positioning Itself Outside World Arena

Planet Racing Towards Catastrophe and Politics Just Looking On

OP-ED: International Relations, the U.N. and Inter Press Service

Ever Wondered Why the World is a Mess?

Economic Growth Is Anything But “A Rising Tide Lifting All Boats”

Banks, Financial Institutions and Citizens — The Urgent Need to Update the Seven Deadly Sins

The Decline of the Middle Class

The Rich Complain That We Do Not Love Them

The Free Market Fundamentalists Are Now in Europe

The ‘European Dream’ Going the Way of the ‘American Dream’

Thatcher, Reagan and Their “Revolutions”

Cyprus: Do You Understand What Has Really Happened?

Hugo Chávez’s legacy to Latin America

“The Tide Is Growing, But The System Does Not Realise It”

The Palestine Drama, Public Theories and Hidden Realities

China Opening a Confrontation on the Sea

After Two Lost Decades, Japan Went to Sleep

Japan – Ethics, Democracy, Growth

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2017 Human Wrongs Watch

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