Thursday, March 15, 2018

The will to escalate

The sacking of the American foreign minister Tillerson and the conflict between the UK and Russia over the gas attack on two Russians in the UK show two tendencies, which are characteristics of the new declined int'l politics:  1)The collapsing of the spheres of diplomacy, the media and the mob. And 2) The will to escalate conflicts.

Episodes like this nerve gas attack would earlier have been solved in silence. Now with the lack of discrimination between tabloid press, the internet mobs, diplomacy and reality, what is the truth is quickly decided. We still have not seen any proof that Putin was behind.  Also, it is difficult to see what advantages he could have from such a clumsy attack, disturbing Russian attempts to mend ties with other nations.

The extreme British reaction with expulsions and further sanctions also shows the other characteristic of our time: The will to escalate. This is of course related to the wish to satisfy the mob.

To put it more precisely, with the mental (but certainly not economical) immersion of the elites into the mob, populist governments like the British and the American are parts of the mobs. Childish and short tempered. Also it is not precise to say that diplomacy collapses with public opinion. Rather, diplomacy as an art disappears. Instead we see stubborn and/or erratic, often tension increasing acts. The chaotic results of one populist act, like the Brexit, lead to the next populist decisions to satisfy the public or rather moblic opinion.

The will to escalation is also clear in the sacking of the US foreign minister. Even though himself diplomatically inexperienced, Tillerson stopped several extreme acts from Trump. Apparently Pompeo does not wish to do the same.

With this foreign minister under this president in the major power, the world is entering even more unstable periods. Minor events can lead  to quick escalations ultimately ending with wars on the field or in cyberspace.

Pompeo may be less erratic than his master, but this could be of little comfort as he is likely to deviate from the president only in cases where Trump should want to do something less hawkish.  The Russia-hating rightwing republican hawks have clearly taken over. These are characterized by the same will to escalate as the president. Obviously the US administration supports the British accusations and reactions.

While  UK politics have declined to pub level and parts of Europe also have been taken over by populists, the core of the EU, France and Germany make an effort for securing mature stable politics and institutions. It may be the last and these countries may follow the rest of the world into the post-mature populist future after one or two elections . But for now such Europeans could and should act as a bridge between Russia who has its own hawks, and Western politicians who seem to have an obsessive compulsion of blaming Russia and Putin in person for everything.

Like Trump Pompeo wants to end the Iran nuclear deal. We will see if Pompeo will have as much success in stabilizing the Middle East as Pompeius who subdued Pontos 2100 years ago.

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