Monday, 16 May 2016
Brexit and POTUS Trump - a political fiction
Jeziorki, 17 May 2020
Was that the crump of a distant artillery barrage way off to the north-east or an unseasonal thunderstorm? As I sit at my desk in my Warsaw home, I wonder how it ever got to be like this.
Since last August, when Russian 'little green men' crossed over the border from the Russian republic of Belarus, Podlasie and Warmia-Mazury have witnessed skirmishes of increasing ferocity, some them approaching the city of Białystok. Who's doing the fighting? RT tells us its Polish citizens of Belarusian and Lithuanian ethnicity fighting for their right to self-determination. Poles don't believe these stories. Further west in Europe... well, who knows what the truth is?
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were incorporated into the Russian Federation after a three-week blitzkrieg last spring. Germany and France, the strongest members of NATO after the US and English pull-outs, did not have the stomach for a fight. Polish, Slovakian and Hungarian soldiers gave their lives for the Baltic nations, but to no avail. Germany, France and Czechia have had their morale sapped by extremist parties funded by the Kremlin, no one really knows what's what any more.
President Trump kept his word. He would not spend American dollars or waste American lives propping up effete European nations that can't sort things out for themselves. "Why should American pay for the defence of the world's richest trading bloc?" asked Trump. Within a year and half of taking office, Trump signed the Let Europe Defend Itself Act, ending more than seven decades of US peacekeeping across the North Atlantic.
Inflation in the US has topped 20%. No longer able to source from China or even Mexico, American business has been forced to make everything itself. Factories are booming, and unemployment is at a record low. But wage rises have led to runaway inflation. Ordinary Americans are feeling they are having to run faster to stand still. Prices in the shops are rising faster than pay packets; strikes are breaking out.
England has had a dismal time these past years. Since leaving the EU, the UK has torn apart. The Scots, who voted by 63% to 37% to stay in the EU, immediately demanded to split from the UK and rejoin Europe. Scotland's economy suffered, more so than England's.
The ban on EU workers taking up employment in England hit everyone. A vicious spiral took hold. Seeing the savings that President Trump had achieved by pulling out of NATO, the English government did likewise the following year. GDP growth stuttered to a halt and then slid back into recession following Brexit and Scotland's subsequent independence vote. After several downgrades affecting HM Treasury bonds, there was not enough cash to keep the NHS functioning as the English people would have liked it to. The absence of foreign doctors, nurses and orderlies was also felt - profoundly. But after leaving NATO, England had a sizeable peace dividend to spend on healthcare.
The men and women who had wrested the UK out of the EU now felt foolish; the Remainers vindicated. But it was too late. Across Europe, the lights were going out, once again.
Britain was more secure than its Continental neighbours. The German security services, working with their Dutch counterparts, proved conclusively that attacks on white women by Muslim men were fomented by migrants from the Southern Caucasians, financed and organised by indirectly Russian secret services. The Kremlin's aim was to stir up racial hatred against the refugees from the the Middle East, seeking shelter in the EU from wars that Russia was stoking. In France and Belgium, the Russians did not need to intervene - Daesh was continuing to hit civilian targets time after time, despite mass arrests and, later, internment.
Things are bad and will only get worse.
I was angry when the UK left the European Union. I was heartbroken when the United Kingdom broke up. No more Britain - the land where I was born had become a name to consign to history. Like Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia. I could see why the Scots voted to leave, and this time round, I supported their independence movement. And I support Scotland's efforts to rejoin the EU as an independent nation - which is currently being blocked for the most spurious of reasons.
Here in Poland, things had continued upon their merry way. KOD demos every few weeks, a puppet president, a puppet premier and the man who holds their strings continuing to come up with ever more worrying ideas. Still, unlike the leader next door, he's no murderer. No one had died in any KOD demo; they were always good natured, despite the occasional shows of violence from the nationalist movement. Kaczyński continued to keep the far right under control. But the government... it drifted. There was a distinct shortage of professionals in government. In the foreign ministry, in the ministry of defence, in the economy ministries. Trusted people of Prezes Kaczyński. Lack of experience or qualifications - no big problem - as long as you're 'one of ours'.
And hence the puzzle - Poland's economy just kept on growing. Exports to the former UK, once Poland's second-biggest market, shrank dramatically after England closed its labour market. But Polish entrepreneurs - who'd lost big markets like Russia and Ukraine before - carried on fighting. By some miracle, Polish consumers kept on consuming, even though the real estate market tanked due to geopolitical worries. Despite everything, EU funds for Poland keep on coming through, some of the money is spent wisely on infrastructure and innovation, some of it not. This year - believe it or not - Poland's GDP is still forecast to grow by 1.8%.
These are not good times for Europe. It was 20 years between the end of the First World War and the beginning of the Second. It has been 75 years since the end of the Second World War and now it does feel like Europe will be in conflict yet again.
Why? Because England voted for some chimeric notion of 'sovereignty' rather than the more practical realities of the economy and security. Because America had dumbed down enough to be taken in by a knave. Elsewhere in Europe, that had happened earlier.
This time four years ago:
The law of diminishing returns disappears up its own fundament
This time five years ago:
A night at the Filters (Museum Night 2011)
This time six years ago:
Warsaw's Museum Night
This time seven years ago:
Exploring my anomalous memory events