As the year 2018 draws to a close, what are the trends that it highlighted in political life?
The first trend represents a growing global disaffection with international organizations to the benefit of the traditional nation-state. Supporters of the status quo regard that trend as an upsurge of populism and judge it as a setback for human progress whatever that means.
Today it is not the United Nations alone that is reduced to a backseat driver on key issues of international life. Its many tentacles, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, too, have been reduced to a shadow of their past glory. In the 1990s, the two outfits held sway on the economies of more than 80 countries across the globe with a mixture of ideology and credit injection. Today, however, they are reduced to cheer-leading or name-calling from the ringside.
The European Union, too, is clearly on the decline. Despite Pollyannish talk of creating a European army and closer ties among member states, the EU has lost much of its original appeal and faces fissiparous challenges of which the so-called Brexit is one early example. I believe that the only way for the EU to survive, let alone prosper, is to recast itself as a club of nation-states rather than a substitute for them.