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We have never had so much access to information as we have today, but in the other side, we have never been so subjected to manipulation, simplification, and scam. It is the so-called ‘Post-truth’. We have seen a lot of it during the last 2016.
2016 was the year in which the United Kingdom voted its divorce from the EU, blaming migrants and refugees, without receiving any of the latter as it was agreed within the EU system of quotas of distribution of refugees. The two great leaders of the campaign, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage admitted, after winning the referendum, having lied about their utopian promises. About the one which spoke of recovering for the United Kingdom 350 million € which, supposedly, was wrongly spent by the European Union. The British newspapers did not want or could not explain that the UK refused to receive in the previous months a single asylum seeker. The number of those who crossed UK borders was zero. The Brexit has been one more exponent of the alarming clashes of legitimacies that the Populisms put forward to end to the Rule of Law and the representative democracy in Europe.
The year 2016 will be remembered in the history as the year in which a multimillionaire disguised as ‘an outsider’ has broken all the prognoses when reaching the White House. Erratic, politically incorrect and unpredictable in his governing form, his victory can bring about a profound reversal of American politics. And the world.
It was 2016 the year in which there was a “near-coup” in Turkey and by which Erdogan, taking advantage, put in prison tens of thousands of people in Turkey accused of coup’ plotters without having presented a single evidence against them. Now Erdogan is about to seize all the power, the absolute power, once and for all, so that no one ever snatches it from him.
2016 was the year in which Bashar al-Assad razed Aleppo by killing thousands of civilians while using forbidden weapons. For many, he became the new liberator of the Middle East.
2016 was the year Putin imprisoned most of his opposition in Russia, including the communist, but managed to galvanize many left-wing sympathizers around the world, for being iron fist against the West. Including Donald Trump, who praised the Russian president’s response to the sanction imposed on his country by Obama’s White House team: “A great movement, I always knew he was very intelligent!”
It was also 2016 the year in which it is observed that of, after the economic crisis of 2008, the largest of recent times, the social democratic left has been giving power and losing influence in the main developed countries.
We are already in 2017. Europe, the world, are changing so much that the stillness, the calm, seems no longer the worst of the scenarios. There are coming critical elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany and, as the EU idea about integration, collaboration and the transfer of sovereignty has become a first-class throwing weapon, Paris and Berlin will try not to make big decisions, announcements or new strategies, so as not giving ammunition to the populists. The scenario has changed completely in just a few months. After the British referendum on ‘Brexit‘ the EU split in two. On the one hand, those who like France, wanted more Europe. On the other, the side led by Germany, Holland or Finland, the economic hawks, who prefer a break for the time being.
Thinking over before acting, consolidate before proceeding. It seems obvious that the reaction of the citizenship to a possible greater integration is not wanted. Those referendums in Europe, the Greek on the bailout, Brexit, the Hungarian on quotas, the Dutch on Ukraine, or the Danish on participation in the EU in internal affairs, that of Renzi in Italy, were all lost. The Eurosceptic groups are proliferating. So, the Heads of State and government have chosen to give a truce. The issue is, that of at least two new elements have showed up in the equation. On the one hand, Trump, whose messages are very disturbing in Brussels and which may force to the member states to take a few steps forwards on issues of common defence and security policy, in the fear that NATO, its natural shield, will be affected by which it seems the new doctrine of the United States.
In Britain, Theresa May has given up her asymmetric free-market claim among European and British goods, as opposed to the barriers to the citizens who produce them. The imminent ruling of the British Supreme Court, which will rule on respect for parliamentary sovereignty over those who are based on the will of the people, has led the British PM to anticipate and dispel doubts about the actions and positions of her government around the withdrawal from the European Union.
Progress, integration, growth, are the natural EU’ movements, and much to do still remains. But doing it without a right plan, without any guidance or goals could become an equal or greater threat. One for which Putin and the Europhobes are already preparing. “We are witnessing the beginning of a new era, distinguish by the triumph of fear and anger; a brazen lack of respect for the truth; xenophobia; the weakening of liberal ideas and the rejection of the economic globalization’ achievements. “, was appointed by David Held, Professor of International Politics and Relations at the University of Durham in the UK. In 2017, the temptation for those leaders handling the planet’s geopolitics hot spots, (Trump, Putin, Erdogan, Assad, Al Sisi, Le Pen, Wilders …), will further abuse of this Post-Truth lab, in order to win contracts, elections or wars. While the emotions are occupying more space than the real facts.
Thus, begins 2017. Happy New Year!