I doubt anyone will ever write a rap musical about the European Union – the idea of overpaid technocrats engaging in rap battles about banana regulations is somehow not very appealing. But there is more to this story than meets the eye. The EU is a tale of post-war quixotic dreams, and the corruption of these ideals by greed, arrogance, and unaccountability.
At the last G20 summit, Xi Jinping informed Theresa May that Britain and China must ‘shelve their differences’ over Hong Kong. Xi could not be more correct. Britain has been in a state of perpetual decline since its superpower heyday in 1914. During the 20th century, Britain ceded its empire and global status without formulating a new role on the global stage. Britain’s historically backward outlook suddenly appeared to shift in 2015 with the declaration of the creative and forward-looking ‘Golden Age’ of British-Chinese relations. Predictably, Britain has since backtracked. To prevent a directionless twenty-first century, Britain must look back to China.
Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to empowering women and achieving gender equality. International Women’s Day, like everything else, is not timeless – it has a history. And throughout this history, which began in 1909, International Women’s Day has been intertwined with socialist and anti-war movements. Indeed, it was celebrated almost solely by socialists and communists before finally reaching the capitalist world in 1975. Even today, the roots of leftism remain strong in International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to uplifting women of all races and classes. And yet, even if International Women’s Day has become more widespread and thereby commodified, it has never – and must never – become divorced from its radical roots.
A few years ago, my grandmother remarked that “talking about immigration in Sweden feels like screaming in church”. Openness is in many ways Sweden’s national religion, and so any debate surrounding immigration is seen as racist, sinful almost, by the mostly left-leaning political class. This unwillingness to engage with immigration has produced deeply negative results.
Fear of China runs deep in the American psyche, as particularly evident during the recent 19th Party Congress. The New York Times declared with typical American hubris, ‘Seven Men Now Run China’ and ‘China Enshrines ‘Xi Jinping Thought,’ Elevating Leader to Mao-like status.’ These sensationalist headlines obscure a worrying truth: China now functions better politically than America.
Liberals have descended into a simplistic sensationalism. To many Stanford students, Trump’s rise meant no less than the apocalypse and even created a whole new vocabulary of post-truth, PC culture and fake-news. But, to make matters worse, this was far from an American apocalypse. In fact, Trump’s election caused a wave of Western democracies to fall to the disastrous forces of populism like dominos. This ‘apocalypse’ stretched across the European continent with far right-wing parties and movements espousing nationalistic, anti-immigration rhetoric making great progress in France, Britain, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Switzerland and even Austria just a couple of weeks ago. Slightly more sophisticated and level-headed accounts do not hold Trump himself responsible for the trend, but implicate greater forces of discontent associated with globalization. From this perspective, Trump was one of the first figures to vocalize the piling grievances of ‘globalization’s losers.’