British voters have put us asea, clinging to our bits of flotsam, pondering the future and shuddering at its complexity.
Was it good, this Brexit, or was it bad?
David Cameron, the “buttock with eyes,” has had to resign as prime minister of England (good). But his likely successor is Boris Johnson (bad) — somewhat like dumping Trump only to wind up with Ryan or Cruz.
Financial markets (including ours) have tanked. As I, like so many fellow retirees, watch a hard-earned nest egg vanish into thin air, fear takes over. We survived 2008, but this . ..? Many big banks, we understand, are in trouble again. As they plummet like the pound sterling, there is a pervasive sense that, as he did in 2008, President Obama will bail them out again. With our tax money. Once again, we go broke, the banksters get big bonuses. Nothing changes.
And yet, everything is changing. After 43 years, the European Union could be breaking up. France, the Netherlands and Austria are making noises about following Britain out. Would others join them? On the other hand, Scotland, which voted to Remain, now wants another vote on independence with intentions of staying with Europe. Go figure.
Will we return to the days of a deeply, even bloodily, divided Europe? We already have a divided UK. Croats and Serbs still dislike one another intensely. Crimean Ukrainians still cannot forgive western Ukrainians for collaborating with the Nazis. Everyone still hates the Turks and why the hell did the EU expand to the East, anyway? That enabled the damned Yanks to get Europe ensnarled in the Middle East and put it at risk of suffering Russia’s nuclear wrath because American neocons like Hillary Clinton and Robert Kagan insist on twisting the bear’s tail.
Some say Brexit will deter Washington’s aggression toward Russia viz a viz the Ukraine. Cameron’s Britain, after all, has been a proxy for the U.S. within the E.U. and NATO. And what, by the way, ultimately becomes of NATO after Brexit?
We saw the rage of Brits swallowing the bitter pill of austerity while surrounded by immigrants who took their jobs and bloated the cost of welfare. What now of the Greeks, who know damned well that despite the austerity imposed by Brussels and the bankers they can never repay their debt. And that’s the very idea, isn’t it, all around the world? Keep the little bastards so deeply in debt that they can never get out, and thus remain powerless to restrain the oligarchs who run everything.
How will Brexit affect public opinion in Europe? As more and more draconian austerity is imposed upon captive citizens to pay banks and bondholders, will, as Chris Hedges predicts, the people revolt, the system crash?
And what if Trump is right? What if Brexit does indeed portend a Trump presidency? Can a narcissistic imbecile with no experience at government somehow make things better in the bitterly divided United States? Especially in a United States now confronting complex and difficult diplomatic relations in a fractured Europe and a lonely, not-very-United Kingdom?
Have the Brits set in motion a massive upsurge of populist right-wing fascism? Is this good or bad for those who champion trade agreements like NAFTA and TPT? Can the curious admixture that created Brexit transform itself into a spate of socialist movements, like Podemos in Spain, that will take many western countries leftward? Surely this would be bad for the trade agreements — and good for the masses.
Trump, the foul-mouthed phony, dared to quote Lincoln in his verbal sewage after Brtexit, calling for “government of the people, by the people and for the people.” He has no idea, really, who “the people” are but he understands that they have just voted for a profound change in Britain, in Europe, in the world — change that he sees as further enriching him. I wish a couple of gnarly Highlanders had seized him by the scruff and taken him out into the heath to be flogged with a haggis.
Right or left? Trump or Podemos? Debt or prosperity? War or Peace?