What do you tell your children when they ask you about the “North Atlantic Treaty Organization” or the “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership”?
Maybe your children are still only toddlers. One day, however, you may have to explain to them not only the meaning of NATO and TTIP, but how you used your democratic rights to support or to not support your country’s adherence to one or the other. One day, the “democratic” world’s parents will have to explain to their children how a “redneck” who refers to international agreements as “dumb” became the world’s most powerful man. I am not sure future generations will be impressed by the replies:
- (about NATO) “Well you see, first the communists and then the terrorists … “
- (about TTIP) “We were all sort of one big family, so trading mainly with each other seemed natural.”
- (about the world’s most powerful man) “We respected democracy.”
Are we, the parents – we who were once children and who now have children who will someday be parents – are we responsible for the acts of NATO, the consequences of TTIP, the stunningly irresponsible acts of the current US president? If we are not, who is?
Yesterday, there were at least 300 thousand demonstrators on the streets of Romania’s towns furiously protesting against corruption. Their votes had not been worth much, but their anger on the streets may just possibly have some effect. After all, in 1258, the English king’s angry subjects managed to restrict his power, forcing him to accept the Provisions of Oxford. True enough, rebellions have most commonly been brutally repressed, but some of them have yielded improvements for posterity.
Can we consider the election of Trump a rebellion of sorts, the result of the disenchantment of impoverished segments of the US population? Not all his voters were traditional “rednecks”, after all. Did not many of them have reason to feel betrayed, forgotten and neglected? Was their vote not a demonstration of resentment? As far as rebellions go, however, I’d say the consequences for posterity of this one seem bleak.
In my country, and probably in most others, people applying for senior executive posts are put through rigorous personality tests. They have to prove their mettle, demonstrating advanced skills and eminent suitability for the job. Not so for the president of the United States, where the voters have no say about NATO and TTIP, but they do get to decide who gets the top job.
I cannot tell you whether I would prefer to be torn to pieces by a shark or by a pack of hyenas. I have no experience of being torn apart and I’m sure I shall do all in my power to keep things that way. But I know for a fact that the US has invaded very many countries, and that the CIA has engaged in innumerable invasive, clandestine and anti-democratic operations all over the world over the past 50 years, operations the country’s own citizens don’t seem to want to know about. In many countries all over the world, there is therefore much seething hatred against the USA.
Hence, for any country, a military and / or trade alliance with the USA is a very serious liability. To put it more succinctly: Iran is far less of a threat to world peace than the USA which, under its current leadership, is even a threat unto itself.
Each country needs to consider its defences, to be sure. Self defence is indeed vital and includes avoiding entering into or sustaining alliances with bellicose expansionist states (even if they are lucrative to powerful segments of the population).
So how about reconsidering our options?