Vince Dhimos answered a question at the German language sector of Quora. A translation of the question and answer appears below.
WHY IS POPULISM INCREASING IN EUROPE?
I find all of the responses to this question interesting and, as a non-German, I find it refreshing to read the opinions of Germans, who I think are beginning to understand what the US-Establishment is and how it controls Europe.
The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word “populism” is, of course, Donald Trump. I will use Trump as an example of the populism that is sweeping Europe. This man understood that Americans were sick and tired of political correctness.
So he went to war against political correctness and he won over a slim majority of Americans.
He still enjoys enthusiastic approval among many people, but there is a problem. Americans have for the most part failed to notice that Trump created his own kind of political correctness, and this was, in essence, not different from the old political correctness that he pretended to oppose. It was all political theatre, and as some of the other respondents to this question have already said, the US public was not smart enough to see through the act. And as some also said, this lack of intelligence is very dangerous.
The salient feature of this political correctness was his grovelling before Israel, which demanded war against Iran. The US Establishment has always grovelled before Israel and has gladly fought wars intended to please that nation. Its wars have resulted in an irresponsible debt so large that it can no longer be paid down. Although Israel demanded war on Iran, Trump did not have sufficient political capital to attack that country. So he did the next best thing: he killed General Soleimani. And he did this in an election year in order to garner votes and also to deflect attention from his impeachment. Trump’s assassination of Soleimani was compatible with the policies of the US Establishment and was therefore an example of the old political correctness that Trump pretended to be opposing. The only difference was that Trump’s act was more reckless than anything the old Establishment would have done.
European populists like Boris Johnson, Marine le Pen and Geert Wilders all imitate Trump in his tendency to please Israel.
This particular variety of populism was therefore superficially different from the populism of Hitler’s supporters. And yet, it was very similar in that it was not based on reason and logic but rather on slavish imitation of a popular figure. Trump’s fans don’t ask themselves why they hate Iran. They hate Iran because Trump hates Iran and he has enjoined them to do likewise. For them, imitating Trump, even worshipping Trump, is the correct thing to do, and for them, it is the intelligent thing to do. They can’t explain why this is so, but they cling to this idea tenaciously. It is the new political correctness. And Trump partisans are just as tyrannical and vindictive toward non-believers as the liberals were when liberalism was all the rage. Yet here again, Trump is in line with the old political correctness, which embraces war on the enemies of Israel (and Saudi Arabia).
Another pillar in Trump’s world view is the belief that unbridled predatory capitalism automatically brings wealth for everyone. But in Trump’s world, it is a crime for other countries, such as Germany or China, to compete successfully. When they do this, they must be punished. Therefore Russia and the people and companies that helped build Nord Stream 2 all had to be punished with economic sanctions. Of course, the US had an excuse: buying Russian gas would be harmful to European “energy security.” Europe did not ask the US to support its energy security or to define the term “energy security.” but the US is the Exceptional Nation and has the right to intervene in everything. Here as well, the Establishment agrees with this assessment. Now although Trump and his partisans call themselves “conservatives,” the Trump ideology (you could call it Trumponomics) is completely out of line with the old conservative notion of free market capitalism. Yet Trump’s supporters no longer feel the need to adhere to the old definitions and gladly let Trump do their thinking for them (thinking is hard work and can cause headaches). In Trump’s world, only the USA is allowed to have access to the free market. China must be punished because Huawei is competing with America. But here again, there is a pretext for punishing Huawei, and that is, security. Suddenly Huawei is supposedly inserting spy devices and software into its products that could be used to undermine the West. States that buy Russian weapons, like the S-400 air defence system, must also be punished. And again, there is an excuse. Supposedly, NATO member Turkey should not by the S-400 system because it is not “compatible” with the US aircraft used in that country. And of course, it simply is not “secure.”
During his campaign Trump had criticised the Federal Reserve for accruing an unwieldy debt. Yet, during his first year as president he added more to the debt than Obama had in a similar time frame. Here again, Trump was doing exactly what the old Establishment had always done. Yet, he hypocritically claimed he was different and blamed the Deep State for all of America’s ills. Yet by his actions, it was clear that Trump was an integral part of the Deep State.
Trump failed spectacularly to distinguish himself from the US Establishment and also from the Democrats in two crucially important ways:
1—He in no way opposed the high sovereign debt and in fact, he added to the debt.
2—At variance with his campaign rhetoric, he not only failed to oppose war, he in fact brought the world closer to WW III than previous presidents, because Iran, the target of his aggression, is not only a powerful Middle Eastern country but is in fact supported by the two world powers Russia and China, which are capable of militarily challenging the US.
Thus populism in America is the biggest threat to world peace. And yet, it is not very different from business as usual.
Thus the question arises: whom should we fear more? Trump or the Establishment that he is supposed to replace?