The Washington Post has published a surprisingly alarmist piece by Andrea Mammone, an historian at the University of London, that argues austerity policies in Europe have given rise to a new “fascism”.
We won’t quibble too much here with Mammone’s definition of fascism, although lumping together all of Europe’s right-wing nationalist movements under this term is problematic. He is hardly the first one to make this mistake and probably won’t be the last.
They go by different names: Britain First, Party for Freedom, America First. They range from right-wing nationalists to left-wing communists. And as far as it is possible to nail down proper policy from him, America’s leading Republican candidate, Donald Trump, seems to be one of them.
Years ago I wrote a two-part series positing what might happen if the United States suddenly withdrew its power from the world. The results were hardly pretty: regional powers that were used to either being protected or checked by American power rearmed and went to war to establish new geopolitical balances. Poverty skyrocketed as resources were dumped into vast new militaries while the threat of nuclear war grew as countries that once lived under the American nuclear umbrella felt the need to arm themselves with atomic bombs.
Now the idea of refortifying borders is gaining traction in virtually every developed democracy. Now, as then, it’s still a terrible idea.
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry argues at The Week that one of the things conservatives must do in response to Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy is develop a new American nationalism that can appeal to his supporters.
“Trump has made it impossible to continue to ignore the power of racism on the right, but we also shouldn’t overstate its influence,” Gobry argues.
The New Yorker decisively won the Republican Party’s presidential primary in South Carolina, for example — the same state where a Republican governor of Indian descent removed the Confederate flag from government grounds and enjoys stellar approval ratings. Read more “Developing a New American Nationalism Is Tricky”
Some of America’s closest allies have been perplexed by Donald Trump’s candidacy for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination and publicly voiced their concern, something foreign leaders usually shy away from.
British prime minister David Cameron, whose Conservative Party shares Republicans’ support for free markets and trade, called Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States “divisive” and “stupid” last year.
Cameron later added that comments like Trump’s only help fanatics “want to create a clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West.
Canada’s Justin Trudeau, a Liberal, has similarly said, “I stand firmly against the politics of division, the politics of fear, the politics of intolerance or hateful rhetoric.”
Hugh Eakin finds a contradiction in the Danish character. He writes in The New York Review of Books that this egalitarian and open-minded people in the north of Europe have reached a consensus that large-scale Muslim immigration is incompatible with their social democracy.
Although Eakin recognizes in the end that the Danes have nevertheless been able to maintain a “more stable, united and open society than any of their neighbors,” he avoids drawing the logical conclusion: that they are prospering because, not in spite, of their shared sense of belonging and refusal to compromise with foreign values. Read more “No Contradiction in Denmark”
The continent that gave us two world wars is rousing.
The litany of nationalist events is long: a near-miss Scottish secession, a looming Catalonian one, the rise of the United Kingdom Independence Party, the relative success of France’s National Front and now, following the mass attacks on women in Cologne and other German cities on New Year’s Eve, a sudden public shift against migration in Germany. A continent that once embarked upon the transnational European Union aiming to end nationalism is now turned rightwards.
If German officials worry more about a potential backlash against immigrants than the victims of sexual assault, they shouldn’t be surprised if they become the targets of a backlash themselves.
There is now little doubt that many — if not all — of the perpetrators of a mass sexual assault in Cologne on New Year’s Eve were refugees.
“During identity checks, the vast majority could only provide their asylum-seeker registration papers,” Die Welt reports.
Police leaders earlier said they couldn’t confirm the national origins of the suspects, despite claims from dozens of women and girls that they had been sexually intimidated and in some cases raped by hundreds of men of Middle Eastern and North African appearance.
Die Welt cites one police officer saying some eighty individuals were checked and most were Syrian.
Express, a Cologne-based newspaper, also reports that most of the attackers were immigrants.
It’s not such a big deal that Donald Trump has called to ban all Muslims from entering the United States: it’s a big deal that there are people who support him.
This anti-refugee nativism is found worldwide, but is, right now, especially powerful — and dangerous — in the West. It manifests itself as Trump and his wing in the Republican Party in the United States, as the English Defense League and the and UKIP in the United Kingdom and as the National Front in France. To varying degrees, each seeks to wall off their nations from the outside world — and each is dead wrong for seeking that.