Toppling old orders around the world
As often is the case, Americans last year may have established a model to be emulated by the rest of the world. This one involves politics, not technology or culture, however, and the ramifications could be earth-shaking.
Last year’s election of Donald Trump as U.S. president was not as much a triumph by the Republican against Democrat Hillary Clinton as it was a repudiation of the political establishment. Now, similar rebellions are occurring elsewhere.
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s position is in jeopardy after her Conservative Party suffered a severe defeat in elections last week. That may have something to do with anger over the recent terrorist attacks in England. May’s own comment that it is time to rethink British policies relevant to terrorism implies she understands her constituents are deeply unsettled.
Across the English Channel in France, traditional politician Emmanuel Macron won overwhelmingly — but against an upstart anti-establishment candidate, Marine Le Pen, who in the past probably would not have even made it to the runoff. Parliamentary elections in France yesterday and next Sunday will indicate just how deep anti-establishment feeling is.
Elsewhere, in South Korea, voters elected Moon Jae-in, who questions his country’s longstanding alliance with the United States — and whether it can be friends with North Korea.
It would be foolish to predict that anti-establishment politics will topple the old order worldwide. However, U.S. officials need to be considering how our country will react if what happened here becomes a trend.