When domestic politics fail: Go to war

I hate to say “I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so”, which is why I’m very pleased to say that for once my predictions weren’t altogether accurate.

Avid readers may remember how I, in a late December 2016 blog post, appointed the Middle East the new East–West battlefield. Turned out that I was indeed right, but what I failed to see, was the escalation of the Southeast Asian conflict now materialising in North Korea’s armament and the U.S. Navy’s race towards the Korean peninsula’s shores.

The Middle East Midtøsten

Make no mistake about it: We may think the Middle East resembled hell on earth, but I fear we haven’t seen the half of it. With Southeast Asian conflicts on the rise, on top of Russia’s aggressive stance on neighbouring countries, such as Ukraine, it’s safe to say that it’s been some time since we were this close to a potential world war 3, hard as it is to imagine.

Of course it’s all to do with both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s lack of success in domestic affairs and their need to show international force, coupled with fellow madman Kim Jong-un’s megalomaniacal delusions.

Kim Jong-un og Malaysia Airlines
Kim Jong-un and Malaysia Airlines aircraft. Blogger’s manipulation.

While I hate to admit failing to see this development in advance, there’s no denying it’s currently playing out right under our noses, and I, for one, am scared shitless.

But it doesn’t stop there: With Brexit underway, and Spain and the UK fighting over Gibraltar, Europe’s stability is at risk, too.

The situation may be diffused, if parties involved are willing to take a step back. At present, however, that doesn’t seem very likely.

And then, of course, there’s Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

At the risk of repeating myself, I think I’d better repeat myself:

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Top illustration: U.S. President Donald J. Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Blogger’s drawing.

 

Britain, oh Britain …

Que sera sera
What ever will be will be
We’re gonna kill Argentines
Que sera sera

My British fellow tourists sang on a Spanish beach in the summer of 1982.

The current situation, as we see it unfold, confirms our deepest fears as we saw the early signs of European disintegration last summer, also proving that the EU is and was the most successful peace project ever seen.

Photo: EU flags flying at half-mast in front of the Brussel Berlaymont building on 22 Match 2016, as if in anticipation of events to come. Photo from the European Commission.

There you have it, then.

Suffice it to say I’m deeply saddened.

EU-flagg på halv stang foran Berlaymont-bygningen i Brussel, 22. mars 2016. Foto fra EU-kommisjonen
EU flags flying at half-mast in front of the Brussel Berlaymont building on 22 Match 2016. Photo from the European Commission.

So terrorism is a thing now, is it?

I hate to admit this, but scary and absorbing as yesterday’s London events may have been (and they were), one should perhaps own up to the fact that one finds oneself in danger, not of terrorism, but of considering acts of same a very usual order of the day, which is why I haven’t brought myself to share any thoughts on last afternoon’s Westminster incident.

Which I find perhaps even scarier than terrorism itself, much as I sympathise with the victims, those affected – and the United Kingdom herself. Not so much because of the scene, or the country in which it all took place, as the realisation that acts of war and terrorism have become very ordinary elements in modern everyday life – extremely mundane.

It may sound a little unsentimental, but therein, perhaps, lies the real threat.

I don’t know.

Illustration: Houses of parliament in Westminster palace. Blogger’s watercolour, by way of Waterlogue.

Good for you, Scotland!

Much as I’d hate to see the UK break up, last year’s tragic Brexit outcome left the Scots with very few options, as I predicted in the immediate wake of the British referendum.

Which is why I’m glad that today First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon announced a second Scottish independence referendum, in order to secure the Scots’ continued EU membership.

While harbouring a strong resentment towards the demolition of the United Kingdom, my distaste for a shattered Europe, in times calling for unity, is even stronger (even if I indeed live in a country sharing Britain’s sentiment).

Ideally the situation calls for a Brexit annullment, but I suppose that’s wishful thinking.

The British isles, comprising three sovereign states: Ireland, Scotland and a united Wales-England (Wangland?), of which only the former two EU members. Bloggers own graphics.
The British isles, comprising three sovereign states: Ireland, Scotland and a united Wales-England (Wangland?), of which only the former two EU members. Bloggers own graphics.

At any rate: Good for you, Scotland!

Illustration: Scottish flag with EU stars. Bloggers drawing.

Although certainly debated at the time, the pre WW2 United Kingdom’s failure to invite German dictator Adolf Hitler on a state visit may arguably be construed as everything but a failure.

(Begging Barbara Kruger‘s forgiveness)

Those among us who’d side with US/UK/Russia against Germany 75 years ago, are probably likely to side with Germany against US/UK/Russia today.

A slightly too special relationship underway

The UK’s pending Brexit has brought about an urgent need to seek out viable alternatives. Most analysts would say they never expected it to come to this. Truth of the matter is that neither did the British voters, who probably didn’t expect their fellow countrymen to cast the same vote, leading to the country’s current predicament.

In a bid to salvage her country’s economy Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May finds herself in America, as one of the first world leaders to meet with the recently appointed U.S. President Donald Trump, in just a couple of hours, following yesterday’s appearance in the annual Pennsylvania Republican retreat, foreboding attempts at spearheading international politics alongside the United States, in an Anglo-American leadership, as if the United Kingdom remains head of a long-lost empire.

Speaking of the special UK-US relationship she even made a reference to President Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, failing, however, to mention Reagan’s famous “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”. Instead she kept speaking warmly of President Trump’s new approach, omitting the US-Mexico wall.

She did, however, express high hopes that both America and Britain are entering a new era, which indeed they are.

Not entirely sure that we see eye to eye on the implications thereof, though:

Watercolour painting: UK PM Theresa May. Blogger’s illustration.

So you think 2016 was bad?

I’m sure we can agree that it’s been a terrible year, what with the countless terrorist attacks, the war in Syria, the innumerable refugees and their suffering, the immense growth of fake news, Russia’s continued intervention in Ukraine, Brexit and the U.S. presidential election, won by Vladimir Putin’s very own Donald Trump.

And then, of course, there’s the incredible demise of uncountable artists throughout the entertainment industry, which really shouldn’t come as a surprise in times sporting more celebrities than ever before, among whom a considerable share in the geriatric segment. But you cannot help wonder how some regard that the worst aspect of the year now approaching its ultimate finale. Text continued below painting.

David Bowie (1947–2016). Blogger's own watercolour painting, made with Waterlogue.
David Bowie (1947–2016). Blogger’s own watercolour painting, made with Waterlogue.

While I wouldn’t even dream of making fun of the fans’ undoubtedly sincere grief (I’ve been mourning some of them, too, in my own small way), perhaps pointing out that we do have bigger fish to fry – or much bigger problems – is in order?

Terrible as 2016 was, I fear it didn’t even come close to what the upcoming year has in store.

I’m confident that, like me, you never expected to live to see Donald J. Trump elected president of the USA, which, I’m sure, adds up to nothing, compared to experiencing him executing his job while in office. Text continued below photo.

Donald Trump og Nigel Farage (foto fra UKIP).
Donald Trump and Nigel Farage (photograph from UKIP).

Seeing as I accidentally happened to pick a photograph of him and fellow nationalist Nigel Farage, there’s no avoiding next year’s consequences of Britain’s 2016 decision; the implementation of the EU’s article 50, which once and for all is going to sever the United Kingdom from the European Union, with all its implications (covered in this blog throughout the first half of the year). Unless Westminster finds a way to declare the outcome of last June’s referendum null and void.

Worst of all, however, is the fact (?) that we no longer seem able to distinct facts from fiction, as the number of fake news outlets grows every day, a matter I touched on in a blog post the other day, and make no mistake about it: It’s all Vladimir Putin’s doing, in an attempt at destabilising the west, which he successfully achieved in Britain last summer and in America this autumn. However, I fear we’ve only seen the beginning. Text continued below photo.

Festung Europa? Fotograf: Schroeder Alain/Den europeiske union
Festung Europa? Photographer: Schroeder Alain/The European Union.

We should, I’m afraid, brace ourselves for global tension the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades, possibly not since the early 1960s, for those of us who recall the Cuban Missile Crisis.

But please … Pretty, pretty please stop this talk about the possibility of a cold war. It’s been around for years, even if you didn’t notice.

Having established that, I find that the Russian national anthem, performed by Russia’s Red Army Choir, whose members died in a Christmas airplane crash last week, rest their souls, en route to Russia’s latest occupation, Syria, is in perfect order:

Judging by current goings on, people around the globe may as well start rehearsing its lyrics, the sooner the better.

And of course, as indicated by the top illustration, the Middle East will continue to play a vital part in next year’s news. Predominantly, I’m afraid, as a Russo-Turkish conquest. Also, as indicated in the illustration, the ripple effects will be significant.

Meanwhile we may as well conclude that we’re already there, unless you can provide evidence of other reasons why Vladimir Putin is the one to declare a Syrian ceasefire today.

Oh, and a very happy new year to you.