Saturday, June 23, 2018

Putin and Trump Ushering in a New World of International Hooliganism, Shelin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 23 – Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, international outcasts albeit in different ways, are stylistically very similar in their promotion of narrowly defined national interests and in their willingness to overturn existing rules of the game to the horror of traditional elites, Sergey Shelin says.

            And because of the power of their countries, the Rosbalt commentator says, the two are forcing other countries, some rapidly and some slowly, to shift from seeking international cooperation to pursuing their own narrowly defined interests as well, thus ushering in a new era of international hooliganism (

                But precisely because Putin and Trump are the leaders they are, he continues, their upcoming summit is unlikely to be the occasion for cooperation but rather a test of who is the stronger because neither man “likes to recognize himself as the weaker.” Accords between such people are possible but can be achieved only “with great difficulty” and are rarely balanced.

            Consequently, he suggests, the most important result of the coming together of these two men will not be an accord but rather the spread of their habits of mind and behavior to others: “The politics of interests and national egoism, even in a significantly softened form, is [already] being mastered by even the most well-trained” in the old system.

            “Who said that Europe will not take lessons from these outsider nations?  Of course, not everyone immediately or completely will borrow from them, but ever more new countries will cease to mask their own ‘egocentric’ style. This already will include not only Hungary or Poland but also Austria and Italy.”

            According to Shelin, “the great European powers, still dominated by the old leading cadres who are accustomed to other times and other rules also will try to think up something in order to adapt to the changing era. Some in a radical way like Britain with its Brexit, others more shamefully like Germany” where Angela Merkel is making concessions to local isolationists.

            The leaders of these countries are doing so not only because Putin and Trump are setting the weather but because “today there really aren’t any alternative and popular ideas.  Slogans about world unity, openness, the equality of the weak and the strong are denounced as worn-out, insincere, unsuitable for the masses and [even] masking selfish interests.”

            As a result, a new era of international relations lies ahead, one that may be called “an era of world hooliganism,” the Moscow commentator concludes.  It too won’t last forever; but that is the direction things are going now, in no small part as a result of the views and actions of Russia’s Putin and the US’s Trump.

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