In 2015, Europe saw over 1 million asylum seekers arrive, with Germany taking the first step in August 2015 to open its borders. Other European states followed the example, and since then, that number has risen to a staggering 4 million people. But where are we today? Some of the most welcoming countries are waking up to a scary realisation of an increase of right-wing groups. More shockingly than this, is that one of the countries to report a sharp rise in alt-right activity is none other than Sweeden.
But how did a country so progressive make such a u-turn?
Most of the supporters of these right-wing groups are disgruntled conservatives and people who have just or about to fall beneath the poverty line. But many people are unhappy that the taxpayers’ money is being used to fund these welfare programs. But is the slight addition to the host country’s economy, is that really all that’s pushed so many people to support right-wing parties?
Well not quite, you see many are unhappy with what they claim to be no-go-zones.
Here is a small clip from 60 minutes on Sweeden and its so-called no-go-zone.
But, perhaps we’re overblowing this situation, and it is just limited to Sweeden?
France is also facing clashes. With incidents happening specifically on religious sites, also begs the question of drawing a line between religious freedom racist behaviour. Instead of asking if taking in refugees will make the problem disappear, shouldn’t the world be wondering about what can be done?
Countries of different cultures can co-exist, trade, and have a peaceful relationship; so what’s happening in the EU? Some believe that cultures who have been forced together end up clashing. Although others insist that this kind of suggestion is racist and that there should be no problem in taking on more refugees. But things didn’t go according to plan, and videos that have circulated online are not helping the situation.
So what happened?
Is the culture clash bigger than we thought? And was it carried out too suddenly to expect migrants to assimilate correctly? Was mass immigration too rushed? For how long can Europe continue to take in migrants?
Since the BREXIT referendum of the 23rd of June 2016 and today, it’s been 2 years 10 months and 15 days. By the time that the final date on the 31st of October comes, and the UK leaves, it will be over 3 years of exhausting negotiations between two parties which have left the British public, waiting and disappointed.
But is Brexit limited to just the UK?
But the UK is not the only country to have had a growing anti-EU movement. The two others who were rumoured to have started talking about leaving were Sweeden and the Netherlands.
The Sweedish Democrats leader Jimmie Åkesson, who held an anti-Eu sentiment has now changed this to :
“Cooperation is needed to achieve results, and it is through collaboration that opportunities for reforming the EU from the inside are improved,” he wrote, adding that the Sweden Democrats are now a part of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group within the European Parliament and that it has established good relationships with its “Nordic friends in the Danish People’s Party and the True Finns”.
However, while the world focused on the UK in the run-up to 2016 referendum, a Dutch pole by polling firm EenVandaag(source) revealed that at the height of the run-up to the 23rd of June, the popular opinion with a 3% lead, was to leave the EU. Since then, the popular vote returned the popular belief to the remain side; with a 56% lead.
Those within the EU have been given a cold shower of a wake-up call, on the benefits of the EU; not to mention the costs of leaving. This doesn’t mean that the process is easy for the EU member states, Jean Claude Juncker has been reported to describe it as a tragic failure but has also, to put it frankly, thrown David Cameron under the bus.
but can it be stopped?
The European Court has ruled that with if a democratic resolution is achieved in the British parliament to cancel Brexit or decided upon via a referendum, then the whole process can be stopped.
Can this happen?
If the British parliament cannot agree on the deal by the 22nd of May, then the UK must take part in the European elections. People are also expecting Theresa May will be forced to resign as MP’s continue to leave her side after she made the following speech and blamed the delay of Brexit on Parliament.
So now it seems the only way that the UK can hope to move to a U-turn out of article 50 will probably require two options:
Theresa is forced to stand down as Prime Minister
For Nigel Farage to repeat the same anti-EU message.
Wait, number 2 doesn’t sound quite right.
Hear me out.
As the Brexit party drives forward, so have the other parties started to speak. This time people who were silently leaning to remain will make their opinions heard to avoid Nigel Farage being successful again, if possible, loud enough to force another referendum to remain.
So, is the British Parliament just trying to buy more time for democracy or to try and restore a remain situation?
Do you think the UK can back out of this crisis? Or will Brexit go-ahead?
When we hear of the far-right in the same sentence as Europe, we picture Matteo Salvini or Marine Le Pen; we certainly don’t need to approach a Scandinavian country like Sweden, or should we?
A recent election in Sweeden nearly saw a far-right party with roots in neo-nazism take power. While this never came to pass, the threat of this was real.
It’s not just Sweeden though…
Far-right movements with anti-immigration messages are on the rise all over Europe. Many of the countries are also countries who took in a lot of asylum seekers during the Syrian Crisis.
For the first time since the death of Franco Francisco in 1975, a far-right party has seats in parliament. For the first time, political party VOX has 24 seats in the Spanish Senate.
The social democrat party defeats the right wind party, the True Finns, by only 0.25%. While relief was a general sentiment, the concern that the gap was so tremendously small and that ultra-nationalists were so close to a victory was eye-opening.
Whose Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, recently won his third term on a campaign that weighed heavily on the subject of immigration. He believes that Europe is “being invaded” and he is adamant that he won’t let the same happen to Hungary
The well known Pro-Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage with a new Brexit Party. Having one of its core foundations firmly set to get the UK out of the EU.
But why the rise of far-right sentiment in Europe? Many supporters of these far-right groups like to highlight three problems they blame on mass immigration. Crime Loss of Identity Economic Burden
Refugees who did not live in communities dominated by asylum seekers like themselves, assimilated well into the host culture, became integral parts of their communities and formed strong friendships with locals. Regrettably, many countries who took in a large volume of asylum seekers and refugees decided to house them all together in the hope of them being more comfortable if they had communities of similar heritage or backgrounds. This strategy, however, has seen ghettos forming and the crime rates are spiralling out of control.
Countries who advocated inclusion are now seeing a rise of hard nationalism at an alarming rate.
Some European citizens, however, are advocating that perhaps, the reason for the sharp increase in those who support anti-immigration policies are not due to racist reasons but for economic ones.
It has been argued that countries who have taken in a large volume of asylum seekers, now have a more substantial burden on the social welfare schemes.
Is Europe concerned about this rise in hard nationalistic sentiment amongst its citizens? Why are more people showing support for nationalistic policies in a European Climate? Can it be that these supporters feel that their government has abandoned them?
Juan Guaido, leader of the opposition, rallied his supporters at dawn and on a video shared over social media. Calling to action all his supporters and members of the civil service, including the police and armed forces, in short, a Coup d’etat.
What ensued was a violent clash with video’s depicting the violence
But how did this happen? How is this still happening today?
A glance at international news and it’s easy to find articles on the Venezuelan crisis. Reports on the ever-growing food shortages, electricity blackouts, water crisis and violent protests are the key headlines.
Volunteer members of a primary care response team, huddle together during clashes with security forces at a rally against Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, April 26, 2017. In Caracas, around 120 medicine students, doctors, and volunteers have revived a primary care response team first created during 2014’s bout of anti-government protests. While they wear white helmets with a green cross, none wear flak jackets and some resort to wearing goggles to protect themselves from tear gas. Their equipment has nearly all been donated or bought by the volunteers themselves, and they’ve had to create makeshift neck braces from shoes, belts, and hats. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/File Photo SEARCH “POY VENEZUELA” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “REUTERS POY” FOR ALL BEST OF 2017 PACKAGES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY. – RC1352F53600
This state of emergency wasn’t always the case. Up until 2014, the country had issues, but their public programs were still working.
The year 2014 is also the year that the current president, Nicolás Maduro, got elected. Since then the country spiralled out of control, and many naturally started to blame him. While Maduro’s current regime faces the disdain of leading nations, he wasn’t what caused the problem.
Enter Hugo Chavez and his socialist revolution.
Hugo Chavez’s first attempt at power was not by democratic means. He initially tried a coup d’etat in 1992 which failed. After two years he was pardoned and through a democratic means, rose to power on the promise that he would redistribute the wealth to the poorest in Venezuela.
Once elected, he nationalised more and more industries under the guise that the government would manage these corporations more reasonably than their capitalist leaders.
During the time of Chavez’s terms, oil prices kept going up. Since Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world, its export of it continued to bring more wealth. Chavez used this wealth to fund expensive programmes that brought many people out of poverty. The poorest rallied to him, and because of this, the number of people who weren’t so sure about him dwindled, with those who criticised, described as dissenters.
Venezuela’s GDP eventually became 50% coming from oil export alone.
As the years go by Chavez consolidates power through socialist style programs.
It wasn’t long before the socialist populist became the socialist authoritarian with measures like:
Elevating his friends to high ranking officials in military positions,
the same high ranking friends would then be placed in key leadership positions of the countries oil exports,
passed laws to restrict what the media could say
But Chavez had limits to his authoritarianism; he still held democratic elections. With a combination of:
friends in the state media
using state funds for his campaign
having in place a ban on criticising his government.
He just kept winning elections. And how could he not, the price of oil continued to skyrocket, and more money kept pouring into the government which continued to pour into welfare programmes, more jobs, healthcare, education. Everyone was happy as long as the price of oil continued to surge. Then in 2013, Hugo Chavez dies in office, and Nicholas Maduro replaces him since he is the vice-president. Chavez had already named Maduro as his successor, and Maduro believed he just had to continue off where his mentor left.
In January 2015, the price of oil plummeted by 49.5%.
Welfare programmes are the sole source of sustenance for many Venezuelans, so the funds were draining quickly.
The first step they took to try and keep it all going was to introduce tariffs on foreign goods; this they believed would also provide a boost to local business. The only problem was that nobody was investing in Venezuela because if a company started doing well, the government nationalised it.
There wasn’t enough local production to cater to the country’s demand, and so the price on many necessities skyrocketed. The International Monetary Fund warned that what they now call a Hyper Inflation will hit a rate of 1,000,000 %( that’s 1 million per cent) whereas the average inflation rate of North America or Europe was only 2.2%.
The country depended on external sources which their government taxed to help sustain welfare. Regrettably, this created a cycle that eventually had only one outlet, and that was outside Venezuela’s economy. Venezuela is so dependent on its social welfare programmes that it’s economy has been compared to Zimbabwe after the crises of the early 2000s or Weinbar Germany after World War 1, all this in just a few decades.
Juan Guaido’s coup failed, however, can we consider the past few decades as an example of how easy it is for a country to go from hardcore socialism to authoritarianism?
….but they couldn’t even keep it together for two months, so …
So a lot of people are surprised Trump was the one that didn’t do something silly, but Kim claims he did. Kim was hurt by the fact that Trump, wait for it, got friendly with other dictators.
As funny as it sounds, the implications are serious. North Korea is reported to have tested a new InterContinental Ballistic Missile, or ICBM, despite agreeing to stop all missile tests and nuclear programme. The question now is, how many strong-arm tactics are going to be employed to try and rein Kim in. The fact that lines of communication are at their best means that there could be a chance for discourse to succeed. To be fair though, it is not the first time that a North Korean dictator pulls a fast one on an American President. Recently Kim Jong Un sent a letter to President Trump and did, in fact, stick to a part of the agreement which was to return the remains of American Soldiers from the Korean War. The fact that a part of the agreement was respected is a step forward. Is it enough though?
Truth be told, returning the remains is purely a gesture of goodwill albeit one that wouldn’t come at a cost to Kim. President Trump thanked for returning these as it would be a relief for the families, that their loved ones remain’s, are back on their native soil; and it means he gets their support and vote in 2020.
So what’s gonna happen next?
Well, you can expect the strong-arm tactics to come back into play. This time, however, there is a wild card. Since the lines of communication have become more accessible, it would be very easy for one side to engage the other in a more informal conversation. What some are afraid of is that one side will say something wrong, then so does the other and the whole thing escalates too rapidly to contain.
They expected this at the summit, but in the hours that they were together, Trump and Kim were on their best behaviour. But this is like a first date, everybody acts right, as time goes on though someone relaxes and the truth slowly gets revealed. What is ironic, is that one of the leaders that Trump met, which made Kim angry was President Putin. All the while, Moscow continues to issue new permits for North Korean workers which is a breach of the sanctions, despite the Russian representatives having in the past agreed that sanctions have to be enforced. Yes, you read that right…
And what will these Strong arm tactics be? Well, the truth is, Trump is using heavy-handed boardroom tactics so far. However, Trump has a reputation for seeing through what he says he’ll do and he we’ve seen that in the actions that were ordered in Syria.
The question therefore is, will Trump order military action against North Korea?
Nowadays, a very quick and easy response to conservatives is the label: “Fascist!”
But where does it come from?
Now most people would automatically think of WWII and the Nazis….wrong
Some will actually say it’s from the Italian word fascismo, referring to the political movement spearheaded by Benito Mussolini…..close….but still wrong.
I say close because it did originate in Italy(not Germany) and was conceptualized by one Giovanni Gentile.
The man was the self-styled “Philosopher of Fascism” and was essential in creating the foundation of fascism.
Well, Giovanni’s philosophical mentor and inspiration was none other than Karl Marx. In his writings about fascism, Gentile explained how he believed that the entire community was at the service of the state because the state was the community. Sound familiar? Hold that thought.
Fun Fact about fascism: It’s a form of Government, not a political alignment.
The Nazi party was an ultra-nationalist party that used fascism to function.
So what exactly is Fascism? Fascism is a form of government that most noticeably uses the forcible suppression of opposition and control of media, industry, and commerce.
Notice how no mention of political alignment is mentioned there. That’s because the opposite of Fascism is not communism, but rather libertarian.
Neither a socialist or a nationalist must exclusively be a fascist.
Now ANTIFA is short for Anti Fascist. Ironic that their methods are exactly like those of those they hate. ANTIFA is a self-proclaimed left-wing group that feels that they can use any means necessary to crush whoever they feel is part of, or in support of Neo-Nazism and far-right groups. While that doesn’t sound too bad, they really do mean, any means necessary.
The real problem is, they very often award the label of fascist, to anyone who disagrees with them. This is where that previously mention, any means necessary, happens. It always involves yelling and very often if there are enough members, they will surround the person. From a bird’s eye view, it probably looks like the exact definition of a mob. There have even been serious reports of extremely violent crimes committed by ANTIFA members.
ANTIFA has been known to also start riots that commit violence by targeting anything they consider to be commercially owned, be it businesses, property or cars.
Their idea is that a community has a right to defend itself against anything it considers a threat, even if it is an idea. Freedom of speech is acceptable as long as it conforms to their socio-political ideology. Otherwise, that freedom is drowned out by the noise of being labelled and branded.
It’s ironic isn’t it, those who wish to preserve freedom of speech and freedom of expression are quick to crush the speech and expression that doesn’t agree with theirs.
The truth is if one fine day somebody could actually hand over everything this group demands, the hoped-for result of an absolute balance, would turn out to be a one-way ticket to anarchy(no stops and no turnarounds).
….and where are we today?
It is true, the numbers of this violent group are dwindling. But certain left-wing politicians, are working quite hard to push certain parts of the establishment the wrong way. Just like what happened recently in Portland, Oregon. In a violent clash between Antifa and a free-speech group(who some, have claimed are a far-right group), it was noted that police seemed uninterested in the Antifa rioters and seemed to focus on their opponents.
Many have pointed out online that Portland’s mayor has quite the reputation for being quite the hardcore left winger who prefers to turn a blind eye to Antifa as they are self-proclaimed left-wingers too. I believe this just goes to show, that while the left, makes accusations of corruption, they also make use of …the end justifies the means… attitude also.
When a cause is pushed without prudence at the helm, it’s bound to fall into the same traps as it’s failed, predecessors.
I mean it, take a good look at your local social media feeds and you’ll find too many people, complaining about too many arbitrary things.
We are slowly but surely becoming lazier, ridiculously wastefully and self-centered.
So why is it a good thing that we live in a capitalist society?
Well complaining about a problem doesn’t always solve problems and when it does, it is simply a patch up job that is only there as a quick fix; but does not solve the heart of the problem. This allows the problem to resurface later on. The best case scenario here very often is that the situation hasn’t gotten worse.
A capitalist society means that someone will find a solution, for a price. Eventually, the price goes down and becomes more affordable for the many. Many people agree that trickle-down economics backfired, but trickle down technology means that eventually, everyone gets a better quality of life.
How does capitalism therefore help?
Well, the short answer is: it drives progress. Capitalism is all about profit, this is what a business is out to acquire. Very often, that means having the latest product that offers more value for money than the competition. And somebody has to make that latest product. That somebody is paid a lot of money for a very profitable idea, so people do have an incentive to excel in the convenient world we have built for ourselves.
It’s kinda funny, isn’t it…
Human beings are the only species that could achieve a global unity; yet for us to have come thus far, we were driven by the hard-wired lesson in our minds on having a selfish sense of self-preservation.
People should try to pursue a dream with passion, even more so when it has the potential to sustain them and become their livelihood. When people do this they are helping an economy grow in a positive way, this is why we need to support our local entrepreneurs. These are the builders of a better world.
If you have a dream then follow it. If you know someone who has a dream and you can help, do it.
Is this ideal, actually yes. As society continues to advance its means of communication the world is becoming a smaller place, so the means to help one another is growing.
Progress is not driven by big corporations who handle small problems, but by small individuals who understand the big picture to find the solution.
“Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.”
― T.S. Eliot
When a progressive idea has to be enforced by the rule of law, you have a clear indication that you are faced with a destructive communal problem.
…and that’s exactly what imposed gender quotas are.
While I’m all for equal opportunity, I don’t think that gender quotas are. I will be the first person to say that anyone can try to achieve a dream or goal and I would be the first to applaud it…but this is about choosing the best person for the job.
When it comes to performance in a career, a regular job or even trying to gain recognition for your passion; people expect a lot. It’s that simple… Some people scream that’s not fair, but I think that it is. Anyone can at the very least endeavor, to take on a task with the right combination of guidance, experience and hard work (and let’s be honest a good bit of luck at the right time), anyone can achieve any realistic goal they pursue.
Sometimes, this leads to certain imbalances in certain work environments and this is to be expected. Society itself chooses its preferred opinion on various matters..much like politics. This is reflected also in various industry studies where men were more likely to choose certain career paths than women while women themselves held dominion over other industries.
Has this been affected differently across various cultures?
Does that mean we can enforce a U-turn?
So what can we do?
Well, the thing is this…
Let’s think of a job(or whatever requirement for some sort of earning) environment. Now let’s think of the team. If you want your team to win, then you need the right teammates. Anyone who has the capacity for rational thought and/or is leading a team understands that the package in which the right teammate comes in; is irrelevant…it’s the performance that counts.
It’s also important to point out that in reality, you can in the interest of equality quotas even continue to subdivide people into so many more groups that it is a short and fast shortcut to ridiculous. Instead of trying to impose a quota, the positive attitude towards working towards a dream needs to be taught from an early age onward.
I’m not talking about unrealistic expectations here, but if people can be instilled with the courage to attempt regular baby steps towards achieving a goal…then society will start to experience many more winners, a lot fewer whiners.
Here is something to think about however…you know the fact that they might bury the hatchet, actually means the hatchet has to go somewhere else.
What am I talking about?
The USA has about 23,000 soldiers in South Korea, probably some more in nearby countries too. Now let’s say that all of those soldiers, who are standing at the ready to push back an evil invader; suddenly have no one to protect against.
What are they gonna do? Send them home?….
With tension’s rising in Syria, the US will get more troops involved. Now I know he said he will get them out. Well if he is pulled into a conflict, he certainly won’t.
Syria isn’t the only problem though. Today there was another suicide attack in Kabul, journalists, and civilians the target as terrorists carried out horrific attacks.
This wasn’t your average terrorist attack either… this plan was carried out with real malicious intent.
On Monday, a terrorist detonated a suicide vest, killing and injuring various people. If this wasn’t terrible enough, it gets worse. A second terrorist watched on, then pretended to be a journalist so that when other nearby journalists and civilians would rush over; he could detonate a second suicide vest and continue to injure and kill even more journalists. I have to be honest, I think both terrorists were sick people; the second had to have certain kind of malice though, to be able to watch one person kill themselves and enough people to cause more people to rush over and use it as a way to draw them in to kill more of them… That’s not human.
The rest of the world watches as Syria continues to be eradicated by a civil war(that involves 8 different parties).
Support for the Syrian Ba’athist government
Support for Syrian opposition
Support from non-state groups
The thing is this, every one of those countries has a goal, but that doesn’t mean that their goals are also supporting what their compatriots support.
This is why the situation continues to worsen and why governments need to step up their game. The entire middle east has become a problem that is not limited to the middle east but is being suffered by everyone.
Some are even arguing that rather the rest of the world step in to set them straight, in future we should simply hang back and “let them settle it amongst themselves”. What do you think?
So that’s what has been going on, tune in next month for another perusal of problems faced by the egomaniacs we call world leaders.
Absolutely not. This is where I draw the line. Personally, I think there is no way that Trump would be awarded that award.
Obama got the 2009 award and many debates, even today if it was justified.
Why are they saying Trump should get it?
Since North and South Korea shook hands and declared; that they had started the journey of peace and to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula, the Republicans are already hailing that Trump’s initial pressure and then quick U-turn gamble in accepting North Korea’s invitation was a remarkable albeit risky victory.
Trump hasn’t even met Kim yet, but Fox News is already repeating the words “De-Nuke”.
But he isn’t going to get a prize. Should the meeting happen; he will portray it as a success over the failings of his predecessors. A success which will help him in his campaign for re-election but no more than that.
What’s are the real reason Trump won’t get it.
Well, one possibility is that it would be a PR issue that they wouldn’t recover from. Just imagine. People boycotting the Nobel Prize because they awarded it to Trump. The prestige of the various parties involved in choosing Trump would be tarnished in the eyes of too many.
So will they take that risk?….No
The result is, of course, is that many people who support him display their outrage.
Societies are constantly becoming more polarised and divisive despite calls for co-operation. Due to this, I think that it’s safe to say that just like the USA, a lot of westernized countries will soon follow the same road and this will mean a sudden rise in conservatism. I don’t think the wave will spill over into a hard right perspective but it will need to be watched and managed very carefully.
If the Democrats want to get back into the driver seat, then they are going to have to sit down and wait a bit. Trump will present a very difficult challenge in 2020 but after that will no longer be an issue. That’s their window.