After Brexit, Nationalism and Trump Rising
Some of us have long predicted the breakup of the European Union. The Cousins appear to have just delivered the coup de grace.
While Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU, England voted for independence. These people, with their unique history, language, and culture, want to write their own laws and rule themselves.
The English wish to remain who they are, and they do not want their country to become, in Theodore Roosevelt’s phrase, “a polyglot boarding house” for the world.
From patriots of all nations, congratulations are in order.
It will all begin to unravel now, over there, and soon over here.
Across Europe, tribalism, of all strains, is resurgent. Not only does the EU appear to be breaking up, countries appear about to break up.
Scotland will seek a second referendum to leave the UK. The French National Front of Marine Le Pen and the Dutch Party for Freedom both want out of the EU. As Scots seek to secede from the UK, Catalonia seeks to secede from Spain, Veneto from Italy, and Flemish nationalists from Belgium.
Ethnonationalism seems everywhere ascendant. Yet, looking back in history, is this not the way the world has been going for some centuries now?
The disintegration of the EU into its component nations would follow, as Vladimir Putin helpfully points out, the dissolution of the USSR into 15 nations, and the breakup of Yugoslavia into seven.
Czechoslovakia lately split in two. The Donbass seeks to secede from Ukraine. Is that so different from Transnistria splitting off from Romania, Abkhazia and South Ossetia seceding from Georgia, and Chechnya seeking separation from Russia?
After World War II came the disintegration of the French and British empires and birth of dozens of new nations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. America returned the Philippine islands to their people.
The previous century saw the collapse of the Spanish Empire and birth of a score of new nations in our own hemisphere.
In Xi Jinping’s China and Putin’s Russia, nationalism is rising, even as China seeks to repress Uighur and Tibetan separatists.
People want to rule themselves, and be themselves, separate from all others. Palestinians want their own nation. Israelis want “a Jewish state.”
On Cyprus, Turks and Greeks seem happier apart.
Kurds are fighting to secede from Turkey and Iraq, and perhaps soon from Syria and Iran. Afghanistan appears to be splintering into regions dominated by Pashtuns, Hazaras, Uzbeks, and Tajiks.
Eritrea has left Ethiopia. South Sudan has seceded from Khartoum.
Nor is America immune to the populist sentiments surging in Europe.
In Bernie Sanders’s fulminations against corporate and financial elites one hears echoes of the radical-leftist rhetoric in Greece and Italy against EU banking elites.
And as “Brexit” swept the native-born English outside of multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual London, populist-nationalist Donald Trump and antiestablishment Ted Cruz swept the native-born white working and middle classes in the primaries.
In Britain, all the mainstream parties—Labor, Tory, Liberal Democrat, Scottish National—supported “Remain.” All lost.
Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party alone won.
In the past six months, millions of Democrats voted for a 74-year-old socialist against the establishment choice, Hillary Clinton, as Bush-Romney-Ryan Republicanism was massively repudiated in the Republican primaries.
As Trump said last week, “We got here because we switched from a policy of Americanism—focusing on what’s good for America’s middle class—to a policy of globalism, focusing on how to make money for large corporations who can move their wealth and workers to foreign countries all to the detriment of the American worker and the American economy.”
Yesterday, news arrived that in May alone, the U.S. had run a trade deficit in goods of $60 billion. This translates into an annual deficit of $720 billion in goods, or near 4 percent of our GDP wiped out by purchases of foreign-made rather than U.S.-made goods.
In 40 years, we have not run a trade surplus. The most self-sufficient republic in all of history now relies for its necessities upon other nations.
What might a Trumpian policy of Americanism over globalism entail?
A 10 to 20 percent tariff on manufactured goods to wipe out the trade deficit in goods, with the hundreds of billions in revenue used to slash or eliminate corporate taxes in the USA.
Every U.S. business would benefit. Every global company would have an incentive not only to move production here, but its headquarters here.
An “America first” immigration policy would secure the border, cut legal immigration to tighten U.S. labor markets, strictly enforce U.S. laws against those breaking into our country, and get tough with businesses that make a practice of hiring people here illegally.
In Europe and America, corporate, financial, and political elites are increasingly disrespected and transnationalism is receding. An anti-establishment, nationalist, populist wave is surging across Europe and the USA.
It is an anti-insider, anti-Clinton wave, and Trump could ride it to victory.
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of the new book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.