The largest question in democratic politics in Europe is: who’s in charge?
Two men of influence – the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and the politician Boris Johnson – face media bans and/or ridicule for what they saw as speaking their minds. Both, though quite different in background, manner and actions, are pioneers in the new politics.
Donald Trump cannot be, and perhaps never wished to be, the leader of the free world, the burden which has fallen on the shoulders of Oval Office occupants since World War Two. America First means America Withdrawn.
The Italian crisis is over, and has just begun. Its dimensions go far beyond Italy; they are now European, even global.
Who will rule the world? It’s a subject that more and more becomes the conversation among Western politicians and policy makers.The consensus, if there is one, is that the world sits uneasily in a gulch formed by the withdrawing roar of the United States, the flatlining or descent of Europe and the rise and rise of China.
In a revealing interview, the Chinese artist Qiu Zhijie, a dissident in his youth told the sinologist Ian Johnson that “this (Chinese) government… is not a traditional dictatorship.
The European political year, grinding back into gear for 2018, is full of doubt, even woe. In the continent’s major countries politics are stuck, or likely to stick, in cul-de-sacs from which exit is difficult.
On most material measures, the world is getting better – less poverty, more education and literacy, healthier people (though few believe it). But not for the established political parties which often helped make it so.
In the early hours of Dec 19 in the northern UK cities of Sheffield and Chesterfield, armed police blew open doors of homes and a Muslim community center, arresting four men aged between 22 and 41.