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Western Disquietude

by
Forerunner, "WorldWatch," January-February 2019

A troubling trend is developing among two of the most prominent nations of the West.

The respective governments of the United Kingdom and the United States are so overwhelmed with corruption and political infighting and distracted by partisan backbiting that they are struggling to get anything useful done.

Moreover, each nation faces economic and sociopolitical challenges that, if left untended, could develop into existential threats.

Historically, these two stalwarts of modern, liberal democracy have enjoyed strong, visionary leaders who were able to rise above petty politics to steer their respective nations through troubled waters. Their ability to do so created powerful empires and political systems that have dominated global geopolitical affairs since the dawn of the nineteenth century.

Each has endured challenges to its reputation and power over the past several decades, and both have sustained significant damage—especially the U.K.—but their ongoing status as faithful allies and their shared dedication to systems of liberal democracy enable them to maintain an unprecedented level of global sovereignty.

However, the year 2016 introduced equally unprecedented challenges to their respective governing machines—the U.K. Brexit vote and the U.S. election of Donald Trump—that continue to give rise to an extraordinary level of adversity and perhaps irreversible deterioration.

In June 2016, the big story in the U.K. was that the Kingdom had voted to leave the European Union (E.U.). Since then, however, the narrative has changed to an embarrassing description of extreme division, corruption, and utter incompetence within the government as it “negotiates” the departure. With unending caustic deliberations dominating the time and energies of the entire government—as well as the media—the country is no closer to departing the E.U. than it was before the initial Brexit vote.

Quoting a December 15, 2018, editorial from the Observer:

Brexit has paralyzed British politics: it has left the government utterly incapacitated, ministers warring and both main parties riven by splits. It is absorbing every shred of political energy. . . . We also face huge social challenges that require action now. . . . All this is going ignored, with detrimental effects on people’s lives.

From Spiegel Online, December 25, 2018:

Britain’s departure from the EU has paralyzed almost the entire government apparatus. . . . The very same problems that were responsible for Brexit in the first place are worsening by the day.

Back in the States, all political norms were turned inside-out by the election of Donald Trump. As a political outsider with a churlish and childish demeanor, President Trump evokes feelings of dismay, despair, and even revulsion over his perceived inability to govern in accordance with mainstream political standards. Since day one, his opposition, in an equally childish manner, works incessantly to delegitimize his presidency. Spearheaded by the Robert Mueller “Russian collusion” investigation, Trump’s disloyal opponents hasten recklessly to counter or prevent any possible productive efforts from his administration. The nation has entered a perpetual crisis mode with seemingly nothing more than squabbling children to look to for help.

From a March 28, 2019, editorial in the USA Today, Kathie Obradovich opines:

All of the hubbub over the Mueller report in Congress reminds me of a fifth-grader poring over a comic book while his homework piles up on the desk, gathering cobwebs. . . . The time and energy that Congress has and will spend on either trying to take down or defend the president comes at the expense of a better future for the entire country.

Journalist Naveed Jamali, in a March 28, 2019, article published in Newsweek, writes: “Allowing politics to creep into what should have been a counterintelligence effort [the Mueller investigation] weakened our country and fundamentally damaged our national security.”

Ironically, the best description of our sad state of affairs comes from a true, political insider, former Vice President Joe Biden, from a recent speech:

Our politics have become so mean, so petty, so negative, so partisan, so angry and so unproductive. . . . Instead of debating our opponents, we demonize them. Instead of listening, we shout. Instead of looking for solutions, we look to score political points. . . . But no more. No more, because this politics is pulling us apart. It’s ripping this country apart at the seams.

Currently, these two nations, whom we believe to be the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh, remain strong, but their vessels are rapidly taking on water with nothing but stormy waters ahead. Without an abrupt reversal of course, we may be witnessing the beginning of the end of the modern Israelitish world order.




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