This lyric, written 50 years ago about another time could apply to our world now. What we understood about the sixties revolution after it happened was that it was a reaction to a deep unhappiness with the established order that had brought two world wars. People didn’t know what exactly they wanted, but they certainly didn’t want what they had come to see as normal.
Now, five months into Donald Trump’s America, as we watch Brexit threaten the foundations of the European Union and stand appalled at increasingly nihilistic Islamist terrorism it is clear something is happening. The old order is crumbling. That’s easy to interpret. The difficult part is who is opposing who? It is a fast emerging conflict, but broadly it is between opportunist, populist, revanchist and nationalistic politicians and their followers against the ancient regime of liberal, consensus leaning, globalist internationalists.
President Trump is the standard bearer for the first group, but he has fellow travelers in Britain and across Europe. This, let us call it a movement, is not slavishly committed to political correctness or multiculturalism. Russia is being connected to Trump by the Western media. But a lot of this is down to the fact that Vladimir Putin, too, refuses to kow tow to the second group.
For the last 30 years liberal, consensus driven, globalist politics dominated the rich, influential power blocs. The United States and the European Union (EU) through the 1980s and 1990s dominated world politics. And the two power blocs, intertwined with the military alliance of NATO and supported by the United Nations formed one all dominating, usually cohesive conglomerate.
The EU, though it expanded to 27 countries, and was supposed to represent a homogenous group was and is dominated by an axis of Germany and France. The EU will not deviate toward policy that adversely affects the interests of this axis.
The United Kingdom stood up to the French-German axis, and now it has left. Russia, re-emerging with confidence, would not be intimidated. But all this the EU and its dominating powers could handle. Then Trump became US President. This wild card has blown all the old certainties away.
Rapidly the accepted pillars of global politics have crumbled. The old way of doing things, driven by the liberal democracies and leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel was stuttering. A week ago, in a Bavarian Beer Hall, Angela Merkel was driven to say: “The times when we could completely rely on others are, to an extent over.”
Merkel supporters – and even her internal enemies – nodded at her bellicose language.
She was saying that Trump’s America, the ‘want away’ British and the cynical Russians and everybody else can’t be relied on anymore. They disagree, and they must be wrong. There is a general acceptance in the global, opinion setting liberal media that these three power blocs have wronged the EU power brokers.
This scolding from Merkel was inspired by Trump’s tour through Europe when he did some scolding of his own.
At a G7 meeting in Sicily Trump criticized America’s traditional European allies over NATO obligations and made clear that he was willing to go it alone on climate change and trade.
The Old Guard, led by Germany its close EU colleagues, are characterizing Trump, the British and other nations and political movements who oppose them as right wing and reactionary. The language of their criticism carries innuendo. Those who oppose them are violent, racist and backward thinking. The narrative from the European leaders in the EU to the departing British has been that they are a nation of fools led by inward looking politicians.
America too is, they say, a misguided country led by a backward, isolationist leader in Donald Trump. These views are strongly supported by large swathes of the media. The Western media is predominantly liberal, leftist and supportive of consensus politics.
I contend that it is the consensus, liberal politicians that are out of step. It is they who are suddenly seen to be tied to an out-of-date and exhausted ideology. The reaction of the European democracies to Trump indicates history has overtaken them.
Trump said at a NATO meeting in Brussels at the end of May “NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations.”
And it was met with shock.
Trump has been castigating NATO and the unwillingness of America’s partners to spend the required 2 percent of GDP on defense for well over a year now. He has driven it home time after time.
I was in Washington when he told Merkel to her face about his concerns.
When Trump last week pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord there was a worldwide shrill revulsion.
Belatedly some thinkers and writers have come to see that the reaction to this was over the top. Again, amazingly, many world leaders and commentators have not been listening to what Trump has been saying. Or why he is saying it.
He has opposed this deal since he rose to become a Presidential contender a year ago.
His castigation of NATO is not some mindless attack on old allies. It is a deep belief that America is being taken advantage of. America First he says and he means it.
His exit from the Paris deal is down to the fact that he believes it is a bad deal for America. And many agree with him.
And we get to back to basic politics. Trump was elected in the Rust Belt of the United States. And Greater Appalachia, a huge neglected, mainly white area in the middle of the United States that has been wonderfully chronicled in the Hillbilly Elegy memoir of JD Vance.
Trump believes the Paris Accord is unfair. It is bad for the US, it is bad for the US coal industry, and it is bad for the working class folk in the middle America states that elected him. And he is out.
When he accompanies his departure with crass and rather inaccurate statements like “I represent the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” it allows the intelligentsia to sneer. But it is an ingenious summation. The Paris Accord hurts steel workers in Pittsburgh, so it is out.
To me, this indicates that NATO allies the EU and lots of the world aren’t really observing and analyzing their foe. They aren’t looking at his political base and understanding what he is doing.
Inter Milan Must Sweat To Show We Are Contenders, Says Conte
Inter Milan head coach, Antonio Conte, warned against complacency and urged his players to show they are credible Serie A title contenders ahead of Sunday’s home clash with relegation battlers Crotone.
Conte’s team, who finished as runners-up last season, cut the gap to league leaders AC Milan to just one point before the 10-day winter break, thanks to a run of seven straight league wins.
That form has put Inter firmly in the mix to end their 11-year wait for a league title, with defending champions Juventus languishing nine points behind them in sixth.
“We must confirm our place among the contenders,” Conte told a news conference.
“We don’t have to send any message, just be credible. We have the duty to fight until the end. When you’re at Inter, this is an obligation.
“It’s a balanced championship. You need to sweat to win every match and there are no easy games.
“In the end important values like hard work and organisation will stand out, things that make you excel and win.”
Inter are favourites to come out on top against Crotone, who are in 19th place having won just twice since being promoted from Serie B.
However, one of those victories came in Crotone’s last match before the break and Conte insisted he will not be underestimating the threat of the visitors.
“We’re expecting a demanding match, as I think they all are in Serie A,” he said.
“We’re facing a team that has been galvanised by finishing last year with a win against Parma.
“This match will require a lot of focus. Starting again after the holidays is always a great unknown, but we know the importance of continuing our positive streak.”
Pirlo Warns Juventus Players Never To Repeat Fiorentina Display
Juventus coach, Andrea Pirlo, has warned his players not to repeat the poor performance they produced during their shock 3-0 defeat against struggling Fiorentina in their last match before Serie A headed into its Christmas break.
The Italian champions, who face Udinese on Sunday, slumped to their first league defeat of the season against Fiorentina.
The result left Pirlo’s side 10 points adrift of league leaders AC Milan, albeit with a game in hand, putting their nine-year stranglehold of the Italian title at risk.
“We talked about the game against Fiorentina, we got it completely wrong,” the 41-year-old, who is in his first season as a manager, said.
“It was a good meeting and we discussed our future objectives. It was productive.
“I don’t want to see any more matches like the one with Fiorentina.
“We’ve otherwise made some progress and improved in many aspects, but I’m convinced it can be even better.”
Udinese also headed into the winter break following a 2-0 defeat to Benevento but Luca Gotti’s side were unbeaten in six league matches before then.
Hence Pirlo is not taking the challenge lightly.
“I’m expecting a difficult match, Udinese are on a good run of form and are a very well organised and physical team with players who are very good on the counter attack,” he said.
“The team is eager to redeem itself after the last defeat. We’ve got almost all our players back, so we’re setting out to restart the league season strongly.”
Kane, Son Doing ‘Special Things’ – Mourinho
Harry Kane and Son Heung-min are doing “special things” for Tottenham Hotspur this season, manager Jose Mourinho said.
This was following the dynamic duo both scoring in a 3-0 win over Leeds United that lifted Spurs to third in the Premier League on Saturday.
Kane gave his side the lead from the penalty spot — his 10th league goal of the season — then combined with Son who doubled Tottenham’s tally just before halftime.
It was Son’s 100th goal for Tottenham and the 13th time this season that the pair had combined for a league goal, equalling the whole season record set by Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton for Blackburn Rovers in 1994-95.
“I think in the Premier League there are many good players everywhere even in clubs where you don’t believe they can have great players,” Mourinho said.
“But I have to say that Sonny and Harry are doing special things this season.
“They are very good players as you know for many years.
“I want more goals, especially from other players but today the second goal is great, is also great because it was something we spoke about against a team that defends the way Leeds does.”
While the scoreline rather flattered Tottenham against a Leeds side who enjoyed 64% possession, it snapped a four-game winless sequence in the Premier League and sent Mourinho’s side back into the top four of the table.
They are in third spot with 29 points from 16 games, four behind joint-leaders Liverpool and Manchester United.
“Of course the result is important.
”We didn’t play the last match and the run of results in the least few weeks was not good so we needed these three points so we go up a little bit in the table,” Mourinho said.
Tottenham’s game in midweek was postponed after Fulham players tested positive for COVID-19.
This is a decision that Mourinho still find puzzling on the day that three of his own players were condemned for breaking the rules to attend a party.
“I go back to the initial rules of if you have 14 players available you have to play,” Mourinho said.
“I don’t see another reason for not doing it. I think every club does the best for their players to keep them all safe but then there are moments in private lives which you cannot control.
“Not everyone can be blamed so we have to carry on. If somebody has some positives, we have to play.”
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