Monday, April 24, 2017

French Sanity in a Crazy World?

Emmanuel Macron, Source - Wikipedia
From Indonesia, China, India, Middle East, Russia to Europe and America; the world is awash with Authoritarian Politicians winning elections after elections. Anti-liberal, Ethno-nationalistic, intolerant, non-secular politics is spreading like wildfire. In Indonesia, liberal centrist President saw the defeat of his trusted ethnic Chinese team member to someone who played Muslim religious card unabashedly to win a critical Governorship of Jakarta. In China, there never was a hope that Xi Jinping would introduce any baby steps for liberal democracy. But midway through his minimum 2 terms tenure, Xi is going for a total power grab. The concentration of power in Xi's hands is exceptional by even standards of Chinese Communist Party. Meanwhile, in India, PM Modi might not have turned to more authoritarian politics while he establishes hegemony in Indian Politics after the UP win. But nurturing the atmosphere of 'intolerance and illiberal politics' - that is proceeding full speed on Modi's watch, and it is not a surprise given how vested RSS is in Modi Raj. 

Vladimir Putin of Russia is the leader of the class when it comes to non-democratic, anti-liberal and ethnonationalism politics. His regime has been killing journalists who dare to expose his culpability, killing his political opponents, taking the art of 'influencing foreign elections' to a whole new sophistication; all while grabbing Crimea and destabilizing Ukraine. What is so disheartening is to see leaders after leaders of the world ready to ignore literally murderous politics of Putin (murder of People as well as the murder of Democracy and Freedom) and willing to embrace him. Trump may have been stopped for now from  'his consumption' in the marriage to Putin, but just look at the stupendous 'political acceptance' French Leader Maria La Pen offers to Putin. Vladimir Putin has pioneered a murderous, fake news based politics while draping in election credibility patina; all in the service of enriching himself and continue his hammerlock in the Russian Empire.

Except for the brief infighting when Turkey forces blew a Russian aircraft, the deep bonding between Putin and Turkey boss Erdogan continues to flourish. By arm-twisting ordinaryTurks and by undertaking manipulations in the election process; he just amassed total power in Turkey

Putin, Erdogan are the pace setters in this club of illegitimate, politically corrupt power holders who set the anti-liberal, anti-secular agenda at the global level. With regional enablers like Egypt's Sisi or Hungarian Orban or incumbent intolerant Polish regime; there is a lot of company to Putin-Erdogan. Politics of African nations hardly has any bright spots when thoroughly corrupt Zuma continues to be at the helm of South Africa. As an example of how little things change politically on the African Continent, look how the Congolese leader fleeces money from his own people in mundane things like Passport. Except for Argentina, Chile and few other smaller countries; things are not particularly encouraging in South America too. The continued insanity of Maduro Government in Venezuela and the stable, but lacking in credibility, government in Brasilia; are the manifest examples of continually broken political system in South America. 

Given this global context, one wonders whether humanity is heading towards anti-liberal, anti-secular, non-democratic, 'power by any means' era all across the globe. To save us from that nightmare, we need to stop this 'anti-global, anti-liberal' Tsunami. One of the few countries one can expect to rise to that occasion is France, the birthplace of contemporary secularism and liberal democratic order. 2017 French election naturally provides that fulcrum and the first round clearly shows that substantial voters in France are ready to re-engage Centrist arguments of Liberal and Secure Polity. That is the heroic job Emmanuel Macron has done

Macron and France have an unprecedented opportunity to grab the mantle of global leadership in reasserting the Liberal, Secular and Rule-based Global Order. Sure, global trade and current global Capitalism have problems and it leaves local employment in doldrums. But the answer to that is not 'blow up everything' politics[1] while adopting chauvinistic, illiberal, racism-tinged anti-sematic corrupt politics. By electing Macron as the president of the Fifth Republic, maybe France will show the world a path forward.[2]

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[1] I am sure the preview of this 'blow everything politics' as exhibited by Donald Trump in first 90 days or so would not have been reassuring to many French voters. Buyer's remorse may not be there for Trump's American voters, but he would have alarmed enough Europeans in the process though. The flip side of these developments is it will nudge Trump Administration more towards the traditional liberal world order foreign policy successive American Administrations of both parties have adopted since WWII.

[2] If Angela Merkel gets elected for her fourth chancellory term in 2018 - which seems more likely, the core axis of Europe will stabilize; providing much needed political booster shot to solve Europe's problem. While Trump Administration gets its act together on foreign policy which is in shambles by design or by ineptitude; rejuvenated Europe will be a much-stabilizing political force for the whole world. 

1 comment:

Umesh Patil said...

Roger Cohen at NYT explains precisely the task cut for Macron in next couple of weeks:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/24/opinion/work-mr-macron-work.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region

Hope he succeeds in that.