Brexit, Trump, Africa in the new world re-ordered
By Majeed Dahiru
The world is set to undergo fundamental changes, first with Brexit and, secondly and most importantly, with a Donald Trump at the White House in quick succession. Throughout the Western world, populism and nationalism is on the rise, evident in these two historic but unexpected events. If the world was set on the edge by Trump’s candidacy, the world is shocked and in some cases devastated by his emergence as the President of the United States, the most powerful nation on planet earth. Between Brexit and Trump’s election is a common thread of nationalism with questions of immigration at the core. The realities of a new re-ordered world are soon to manifest. A new world in which the developed economies of West Europe and the United States are going to compete squarely with emerging economic miracles of Southeast Asia for global wealth, resources and markets, by pulling out or re-negotiating several trade deals that are considered unfavourable. A new world in which less charity in form of aid and grants would flow from rich countries of the West to the least of the less developing countries on the African continent. The re-ordered new world would be characterised by more of realist and less of moralist foreign policies by powerful and leading member nations of the international community. Under the current reality, every job matters in Western Europe and America and their citizens willing to do them, leaving fewer opportunities for millions of economic refugees out of Africa and South America. National interests will be negotiated under the frame of bilateral arrangements rather than through multilateral approach, for maximum benefit.
The shock and disappointment expressed by the world over Trump’s election came about as a result of a complete detachment from the realities of the lives of the average American. Most people were subjective in their assessment of the two leading contenders from their comfort zone and viewed issues through the prism of their racial, geographic and religious sentiments. They were unable look beyond what they were seeing and objectively assess the candidates and what they stood for, by putting themselves in the shoes of the average American citizen, particularly the majority White working class, which forms about 80 per cent of the total population. As somebody with zero public service experience, Trump’s messages represented a deeper and larger truth that was often high on rhetoric but low on facts and figures. His opponents focused more on the method of his delivery but ignored his core message, to their detriment. With a multi-billion dollar campaign fund, Hillary Clinton’s media strategist deliberately distorted Trump’s every message and statements by taking them out of realistic context and also widely propagated same through leading local and international mass media, which contributed greatly in misleading the world in underestimating the GOP nominee and generally regarded him as unfit to lead America and concluded that he was unelectable. This strategy greatly obscured the realities on the ground in “God’s own country.” The deeper and larger truth about the American situation as espoused by Trump was understood by the masses. Trump struck the right chord in the minds of his countrymen on the danger posed to the free world by radical Islam, an issue that Clinton treated with political correctness to the silent consternation of millions of her country folks. Trump was on point on the economy and the fact that America was losing ground to other emerging economic powers of Southeast Asia. The massive trade deficits put at over $350 billion in favour of China, massive job losses as a result of unfavourable trade deals and practices and a widening budget deficit of $587 billion because of excessive government spending on issues like Obamacare had combined to make America an unprofitable enterprise. On the world stage, America has lost its leading role in international relations and diplomacy to Russia, particularly in the Middle East and continental Europe. On immigration, the developed world is not willing anymore to bear the burden of the inadequacies of continental Africa and its deficient system, which has earned it the notoriety as the largest producer of economic refugees in the world. The world was not alone in this shock. Clinton, her backers and supporters were so bewildered that her concession speech was not only conditional, her supporters took to the streets in protests in a manner that fits her own description of Trump’s supporters; “deplorable.” It was like telling a lie and believing it. They were protesting a time-tried, tested and trusted Electoral College system that produces an elected American President. Heads of government of leading democracies like the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, India, and South Africa are not elected by popular vote. They are elected primarily as members of parliament by their respective constituencies and, subsequently, elected to lead their political party in the parliament and, if in majority, head the government.
As the world begins to adjust to a new re-ordered world, Africans cannot and should not continue to lament over the new realities confronting us. A new re-ordered pan-Africanism is nigh to effectively confront the enormous challenges that may emerge from the current realities. The cardinal objectives of the new re-ordered pan-Africanism will be Africans taking full responsibility for their actions, which lead to successes or failures, past and present. Africans must stop blaming everyone else but themselves for the darkness that envelopes the larger part of the continent. Africans should begin to accept shared responsibility for the trans-Atlantic slave trade because the enterprise was a partnership between European slave merchants and African slave raiders. Africans should admit and acknowledge the good sides of colonialism, particularly the introduction of invaluable Western education, and maximise the benefit to annul its negative consequences. The continuous blame on colonialism for the plight of Africans after 50 years of independence has fostered a lethargic mentality that has led to a defeatist approach to life and continuous revelling in self-pity as a consolation. Every nation on earth was colonised at one time or the other in its history. The problem with the colonial experience of sub-Saharan Africa was that it occurred very late and ended very early. The new pan-African thinking should cease to be “how Europe underdeveloped Africa” but become “how Africans are underdeveloping Africa.” Africans should begin to transform their countries from mere assemblages of ethnic groups whose existence are more for political convenience into formidable nation states whose existence should be more for economic reasons, without which Africa may not live in the re-ordered new world but will merely exist on the fringes to be continuously exploited. Africans will never be truly respected anywhere in the world until the darkness that is the African continent is lighted up and cured of destitution.
Nigeria as the most populous Black nation on earth is naturally positioned to champion the new re-ordered pan-Africanism. The reasons for the existence of a modern state should be more economic than political. Modern states are supposed to be successful business entities, run profitably. The success and profitability of a nation state is determined by a combination of factors that include, but are not limited to, a freely elected government and entrenched rule of law with independent and functioning institutions of state, quality of human resources, developmental immigration policy and realistic, sometimes predatory, foreign policy driven primarily by economic advantage. Nigeria should begin to move towards this progressive path because our choices are limited, if we must survive the new world re-ordered.
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