By Ummer Keel
To forget the horrors of Second World War and to bring people of different nations closer, culturally, socially and politically, the then United States along with its allies UK devised a liberal world order, immediately after the war. The aim and objective was to prevent the creation of situations that could lead to another dangerous world wide conflagration.
Towards this objective, nations across continents set out to usher an international system that was liberal, peaceful, enterprising, and respectful of human rights. Many institutions and agencies were created to facilitate the realization of such an open and liberal system like the UN, the IMF, the WTO, the World Bank and so on. This vision was guided under the economic and military muscle of the US. We can debate whether the intentions of US were benevolent or otherwise; the exterior order to be created was liberal in the true sense of term. The US pumped billions of dollars in developing countries and sponsored a movement countering communism.
Today, however, after around seven decades, the liberal road created by the US is under a grave threat more so by the creator itself. Liberalism today is on a life-support, drip fed by some nations who embody the spirit of internationalism. But, when the creator is hell-bent to destroy its creation, the followers take refuge in helplessness.
The wave of populism emanating from the US governed under Trump-ism has started infecting many former liberal democracies. Populist fronts across America, Europe, and Asia are generating a suffocating heat for liberals and liberalism. Shibboleths like liberalization, globalization and the like are under fire. Racists, religious fanatics, white supremacists, are floating parties and winning elections. The liberal space is shrinking and politics is high jacked by populists like Trump. USA, Poland, Hungary, UK, India, Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, and so on are negatively impugned by the powers and forces of populism.
We are heading to a socio-political epoch characterized by very small isolated nations that can be gauged from the likely transition of the UK from Great Briton to tiny England.. Walls to prevent intermixing of people and countries are getting built and bridges to build global trade-consensus are getting dismantled.
Simultaneously, the power competition between the US and Russia is returning in a new shape and form. It is Cold War 2.0. The Russian interference in the US election last year was an offshoot of the new cold war. While there is an intellectually inferior and mentally unstable President in the USA, Putin, on the other hand, is growing strategically and politically more powerful. In this Great game, we may see some unseen consequences in future that may in turn have large unintended negative consequences in other parts of the words. Syria, for example, is a case in point, where geo-political rivalry between the US and Russian is expressing itself in a violent form consuming thousands of innocent lives.
There is a plurality of factors responsible for this rush towards populism and tightening of borders. The argument that immigrants from East are eating the jobs in the West is weak; the real cause is the emergence of new labour-saving technologies leading to retrenchment. However, politicians in the West are feeding propaganda and lies that immigrants are the real threats. Some economically asthenic and academically infantile citizens in these Western countries are brainwashed comprehensively. They are not allowed to think but rather made to believe that immigrants are cause of everything bad happening in their country.
The sabotage of liberal world order is mainly due to the emergence of changed political landscape in the US. The liberal American voices lament that the misinformed and brainwashed US electorate elected an undemocratic misfit rule the most powerful democracy in the word. If truth be told, Trump has dented the historicity of American democracy.
The democratic values that America of yesterday stood for are under serious threat. Decades of democratic process and journey in US are in a reverse gear. Medieval ideas like populism are running roughshod over modern ideas like liberalism. But, the worst part is, some powerful nations are watching like mere spectators. One of the reasons for that may be the incapacity-financial and political- of these counties. It was only the USA that catapulted the world out of the commotion after the great wars. Now if that nation itself is in commotion, others have less hope.
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