Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Parties become groups of followers

This was predicted by Spengler 100 years ago. In the last century of a modernity the political parties are gradually being transformed into groups of followers used as tools by single persons. A party has a program, a group of followers has a leader.

In the northern rich world we have already for a long time seen that political parties become more and more person-focused. Their leaders acting like superstars and the parties gaining votes as a function of this. But this never removed the role of programmatic political views. This has changed definitively for the new populist parties, often on the right wing. These are often a strong leader surrounded by "village fools".

And now most of the leaders of the Grand Old Party has been reduced to a group of followers. Surrounding and flattering their presidential candidate in the hope of getting high posts no matter the political principles. The long standing obstructionism in Congress was already a clear sign of the political decline. But it was still politically motivated. Now the only motive seems to be personal power. This is the end point of the political decline in  late modernity which the Western civilization is entering.

The building up of NATO in Eastern Europe is a misguided and hawkish brick, reestablishing the Iron Curtain further to the east. But the talk by Mr. Trump of no longer garantying the security of for example the Baltic states must awake horror in NATO and in the US institutions established for securing America and its power in the world. Another reason why the support for Trump from leading Republicans is so incredible.

In principle a stable end predictable world order is preferable. But only for big players with an equal balance of power between them. Since the break up of the USSR this equal balance has been altered, Russia being pushed back very far toward Moscow. No wonder that Putin is no fan of a stability as is looks presently. NATO's recent expansionist behavior has just added to this. For subdued powers an unstable world order ruled by the will of single leaders is preferable to an unequal stability.

But seen from Washington as the capital of a superpower the Republicans under Donald Trump must look like a security risk.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Turkey between civilizations

Of course everybody must condemn the failed coup attempt in Turkey. But the event will probably be used by Erdogan to start persecutions of both people involved in the attempt plus all other real and supposed opponents of the autocrat. Persecutions possibly on a scale and severity that may make some wish that the coup had succeeded. And make broader parts of the military wish they had participated.

Like other populists Erdogan appeals to hitherto marginalized parts of the population. People who have not followed the establishments modernization in mentality, culture and education. Like Erdogan so Trump, Le Pen, Orbán etc. but in Turkey this is complicated by the division caused by the westernization of the originally Oriental civilization introduced by Ataturk. This westernization only really transformed a part of the population. The other large part stayed more Oriental. But for decades they submitted as a passive silent marginalized half. With the AKP and Erdogan they have woken and gained a voice. Unlike elsewhere, in addition to the division between established and marginalized people comes the division between civilizations, between westernized parts of society and the remnants of the Oriental civilization. Like elsewhere in the Middle East these remnants struggle to resist the assimilation into the dominating Western civilization. The difference in civilization makes the division in Turkish society and the return of the marginalized more dangerous than the division between the establishment and its opponents in Europe and America.

Before these developments Turkey was a block of stability and approaching a modern democracy mature for EU-membership. Beginning to overcome the old divisions through room for pluralism of different people within the same society. A uniting party like the HDP was a product of this development. But Erdogan has ended this. He stirs up polarization and animosity. Between modernists and traditionalists, between westernized and Oriental, between Turks and Kurds.

After 1850 Turkey has gone through terrible phases of Ethnic cleansing of the type typical for the Oriental world under change from its old patchwork-nations to coherent western type territorial states. This seemed to be finally reaching its end with a pluralistic democracy being approached. But with the reappearing polarization and the coming to power of representatives of the marginalized more Oriental part of the population now beyond influence from the other half, it can be feared that forms of ethnic cleansing like pressure for assimilation may return. The secular parts as well as the sum of all parts of Turkey was on a stage after ethnic cleansing. The more Oriental part may not be. First affected are the Kurds and then perhaps the Alevis?

In sum Turkey risks disintegrating along lines of politics, civilization and ethnicity.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Miscellaneous comments

Every time the United States enters a Middle Eastern country militarily it will evoke so much opposition and set free so much latent tension that the US will have to stay to keep enemies, chaos and terrorists under control.

Afghanistan and Iraq can not be left again. They like future cases are de facto American colonies.

The improved relations between Turkey and both Israel and Russia are good examples of future foreign relations, opportunistic and personalized.
You are enemies till you suddenly become friends.
You have a friend till you break up.
You have a point of view till you take another.

Some Republican members of Congress want Hillary Clinton brought before court because of the email-affair in order to help a clown to gain the presidency. With such a level of politics the Unites States can only become the greatest country on an earth void of real adversaries.