'Chaos scenarios' coming true for the West
The West has been going through a critical time of changes in strategic balances on a global scale as a result of the influx of refugees, cross-border terrorist attacks and increasingly deeper cracks taking their toll on traditional alliance axes.
As a natural result of these, Europe's political and social structure is being shaken to its core.
The West has thus arrived at a threshold of historic national elections that have the potential to fundamentally alter its historical identity as well as the circumstances under which it has so far existed.
The elections and referenda to be held this year in the United States and Britain, and in France in 2017, - because of what once used to be considered "unimaginable" outcomes that are increasingly becoming quite likely - are powerful enough to trigger a series of developments that could overthrow the order that the West built in the aftermath of the Second World War as well as the essential institutions and mechanisms that make up the backbone of this order.
In fact, with certain chaos scenarios taking on greater and greater clarity in the U.S. and the EU, Western media and academic circles are busy discussing and evaluating them - as if under a heading "Is the West coming to an end?" - on account of the potential impact they will bear on an international scale.
The most significant vote that will constitute a turning point for the West is the presidential election to be held in the US in November.
Businessman Donald Trump, with no previous political experience whatsoever, with an entirely self-financed campaign and with fame coming exclusively from a TV show, joined the race from the Republican Party ranks.
However, despite the early predictions that his endeavor toward the GOP's presidential nomination would fall apart since 'common sense would surely prevail' at some stage of the electoral race, he has become his party's strongest and even unrivaled candidate, and this therefore calls for the "President Trump" scenario to be seriously discussed now.
In the initial months of the race, Trump's rise was treated by news articles and analyses as merely a "tabloid press" matter owing to incidences like his making fun of a disabled journalist, his polemics with his political rivals and even with Pope Francis.
But with his candidacy almost a reality now, his rise is now being discussed through serious comments and analyses that focus on the dangers a Trump presidency would bring upon the U.S.' political system and the "established order" and question the social base of the support given to him and how it could affect Washington's global role.
Some U.S. political analysts point out that Trump, who has scored overwhelming wins over his opponents in the state primaries so far, could doom the U.S. political system, which is based on two parties.
Moreover, they argue that the 162-year-old Republican Party is faced with the threat of division and even extinction because of the intra-party conflict and polarization that his candidacy has sparked off.
The leading figures of the Republican Party are trying hard to block their own candidate's road to nomination before it is too late - which is a phenomenon very hard to come by in political history.
Notwithstanding their efforts, attempts to this end, such as another Republican presumptive nominee Mitt Romney's press conference where he lambasted Trump, anti-Trump advertisement campaigns and open letters run in the papers have so far backfired for the most part.
Moreover, several important figures of the party such as former president George W. Bush, his vice president Dick Cheney, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have not yet actively participated in the campaign and it is not certain which candidates they will support.
Circumstances that gave rise to Trump
It is usually thought that Trump's popularity, considered a product of the stifling atmosphere of the post-September 11 era in which the U.S. was governed with security-oriented policies, stems from the fact that certain marginal groups, such as the "Tea Party", joined the Republican Party and eventually prevailed over its mainstream trends, and in this respect, Trump is "an inevitable product" of his party in particular, but of the negative transformation of the US in general.
Another opinion is that, Trump's "success" is linked to the "overall congestion" in the US political system and the running of the state.
Indeed, international relations theorist Francis Fukuyama, who received widespread attention with his thesis of "the end of history", argues in his book entitled "Political Order and Political Decay" that the quality of the U.S. administration has been steadily declining for over a generation, and in this regard, the accolade Trump is enjoying is interpreted as a manifestation of the electorate's anger caused by the congestion in the running of federal institutions, migrants, an Islam linked with terrorism, unbridled liberal policies, politicians, and finally the media.
'President Trump' and international 'deals'
More than merely a matter analyzed from the perspective of U.S. internal politics, the election to be held in November is of critical importance also for the international community in terms of Washington's global status.
What renders a likely "President Trump" term frightening in terms of the global system - as was pointed out in a recent article in the Washington Post - is that Trump, unlike his predecessors, recognizes no common value that defines the West.
Trump advocates torturing terror suspects, building a wall across the Mexican border, and has made ethnic and religious discrimination an essential part of his political rhetoric, and furthermore, in terms of his main foreign policy preferences, he does not seem to care about institutions such as the NATO and the EU that characterize the West.
As a matter of fact, his likening Brussels to "a hell hole", calling Germany and Switzerland as "disasters", describing German Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door policy toward asylum seekers as "madness" are basically signs that Trump does not care much about the seven-decade-old Western alliance.
During the Ukraine crisis, which caused a deep rift between the West and Russia, Trump stated that it was not the U.S.'s but the EU's problem, adding that he would not care much about his country's membership to NATO. It is therefore predicted that Trump, with such an approach, will not attach importance to the alliance and its guarantees regarding security.
Indeed, what the New York businessman says in his book "The America We Deserve," published in 2000 - that the conflicts in Europe are not important enough for Americans to sacrifice their lives and that a complete U.S. withdrawal from Europe would help them save millions of dollars yearly - proves that he might indeed follow such a course should he become the next U.S. president.
Trump's foreign political and diplomatic doctrine is informed by the experience that he has gained from the real property sector in New York and he therefore defines this doctrine at a level of "business deals."
His statement about Russian President Vladimir Putin, "You can make deals with these people. I would have a great relationship with Putin", goes on to show that he will prioritize fruitful deals in his international relations instead of values and principles.
Russia has been following the divisions and separations in the West very attentively, and given the Russian capacity for creating security crises over a very wide area from the Baltic countries to the Scandinavia, from the Balkans to the Caucasus and to Central Asia, we may begin to calculate the security risks Europe will be faced with since it has no contingency plan or preparation regarding a post-NATO period.
Brexit: The beginning of the end for the EU
Another critical election whose results will be felt primarily in Europe and across the West is the British referendum to be held nearly three months from now. In this referendum, the Brits will be voting to decide whether to stay in or leave the EU, and it is therefore so important as to determine the future of Europe, which is going through very rough times indeed.
Since the referendum will be held at a time when the common currency and Schengen, two most important achievements on the way to the ideal of a united and borderless Europe, have come to be questioned, and when Europe's political and social stability is being shaken to the core by the influx of refugees numbering in hundreds of thousands, it will set off a new era of crises for the EU whatever the outcome may be.
Given that a number of ministers in David Cameron's cabinet and an influential group within the Conservative Party, among whom is Boris Johnson, a leading figure in the party, support the Brexit campaign in addition to the unpredictable nature of election and referendum processes, the anti-EU group's winning the referendum is a possibility that cannot be ignored.
London's parting ways with the EU may easily trigger an unraveling process in Europe, as has been pointed out by European Commission President Donald Tusk, an idea almost all analysts agree with.
It is estimated that the British voters, under the present circumstances, will make a decision in which their opinions and anticipations regarding the general panorama of the EU will be effective and not based on a cold-minded benefit-cost calculation about the possible scenarios regarding their EU membership. And it is clear that the current landscape of the EU is not very welcoming.
On the other hand, even if the referendum does result in favor of the EU, it will not mean that everything has been resolved.
It is also estimated that especially southern and eastern European countries - unsettled by Brussels' centralized bureaucracy expanding against the sovereignty rights of the member countries, its foreign policy preferences, and its imposition of policies such as the proposed quota system for the flood of refugees - may decide to hold a referendum themselves, a step that will now have been legitimized, in a way, by Britain, and ask their publics what they think about the EU membership of their countries.
France could yield to extreme right
For the West, the last elections - therefore the last "moment of truth" - will be held in France next year.
Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front, who is almost certain to qualify for the second round of the presidential elections, promises to lead France out of NATO and the EU, capitalizing on anti-Islamism, which she managed to transform into votes, and her anti-migrant rhetoric.
Financing her election campaign with loans she took from a Russian bank, Le Pen advocates strong relations with Russia, just like her counterpart in the U.S., Donald Trump.
Although political analysts assess that the French public will unite around the opponents of Le Pen in order to block her way to the Elysee in the event she qualifies for the second round, it should also be considered that a perception of a lack of "competent candidates" may also be decisive in the direction people will vote in.
Today terror attacks are instrumental in helping to create an optimum environment to achieve certain political ends or realize certain projects. Therefore, such attacks that may be carried out in the capital Paris or other French cities may also shape the public opinion in a certain direction.
Last Modified: 2016-03-19 11:05:55
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