Although it yet to be perfect, I feel an urgency to “pinpoint” an idea to reflect the recent global phenomenon, in which, actually, President Trump especially his executive orders are the anti-thesis of the recent global regime, in which I’d like to call a “liberal order” or “enlightenment order”. And I know this post will shape my thinking throughout my life. It will also designate the scope and sphere regarding my future works, such as how to prepare a future leadership institute, and how to use this basic knowledge to guide both business and public leaders.
Like it or not, Trump is a revolutionist, like Hitler or Lenin. I’ve talked about this issue without prejudice. This is value-free, if you want to change thing radically, you need to do what Trump did and will do in the future. The problem is what kind of “system” that he chooses to fight with, and what kind of the world he would want to see in the future. Politicians know how to use crisis to change the “regime”. Economists learned this experience as well, such as Milton Friedman and his concept of “shock therapy” applying in various countries especially in Chile. The problem is whether the “crisis” is authentic or synthetic, or mixing? As soon as this crisis being materialized, political leader will capture the opportunity and apply his agenda with state of change.
What Bannon, Breitbart and folks at “Alt-right” chant around social media is very similar to the outcry of people at “Gates of Vienna”, a cyberspace birthplace of European far-right and people like Anders Behring Breivik. If you have read his treatise, 1500 page 2083: A European Declaration of Independence , read an academic paper talking about his writing here, you will notice that he is not insane, but a committed political revolutionist. The paper has criticized a flaw in “liberal order” thinking, multiculturalism, on how it will exploit system’s “nihilism” to lay eggs of Islamic extremism and a cause of Islamic terrorism nowadays, and call for the “West” to armed and struggle with this Islamic strategy.
Of course, Brannon and Trump are not Breivik, although being categorized as “far right”, but they are very much different. This phenomenon in the big picture just reflects the problem of the system. Followed by an idea in Keynes’ “The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919)” and Kant’s “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch (1795)”, Yalta conference and Bretton Woods have produced the recent “liberal order” system. There was a short period of competing system from its sibling, Bolshevik but it has conceded to the this hegemonic regime, and working as a de facto system ever since.
It’s not surprised to witness a solidified conceptualization from work like Fukuyama’s “The End of History and the Last Man (1992)”, one year after the end of cold war, the world has now reached to its utopian ideal, there is not anymore violence and conflict, people will live in peace and what we call “Kum ba yah”, albeit Fukuyama has suggested, according to Neitzche, the problem of “losing of human soul”, the “Last Man” effect. People will live in this nihilistic system further without realizing their authentic dignity of the Übermensch, yearning for only material life. This might be true in some sense, but younger generation will find their meaning of life through some extreme sports such as “deep diving”, “free running”, or “Wingsuit flying”, etc. These sports are very dangerous, despite heavy practice, it will still cost the player’s life. But this is a way of human-being to response to this meaningless world, produced by the unintended “utopia”.
The hidden different cultural ideologies have also emerged out of the ending of cold war. Sayyid Qutb was a notable Islamic spiritual leader contributed to a radical modern Islamic struggle against the Enlightenment project. al-Qaeda has inherited Qutb’s idea, according to some argument that without Qutb’s writing, “al-Qaeda would not have existed.”
After the extermination of Bin Laden, Operation Neptune Spear, instead of pacifying this struggle, ISIS has emerged, with more robust and concreted mission to create a global caliphate. The new Islamic “labensraum” has been established on top of the decayed old style of Westphalian nation-state border of Iraq and Syria, drawing by a secret Colonial style of The Sykes–Picot Agreement in 1916 without any consult from the local people in the Levent, extending the longest war of the US in its history since the independence.
Avoiding the public outcry and the Vietnam consequence alike, Obama administration had employed the service of “drone warfare” and “Blackwater and Private Military Contractors. The more he used it, the more nurturing the extremist Islamic struggle. This posts a question about the justification of using both “drone warfare” and “military contractors” as well, on first, it’s about a transparency and governance on using it, on the latter, it’s about the problem of one’s risking his life for money or ideology as seen on a film of 13 hours (2016). And it’s hard to preserve the ideal of Kant’s “perpetual peace”. At one point, he confessed, it’s difficult to separate the “realist” and the “idealist”. There is no more a concrete wall between the two.
The failing to deal with Assad in Syria and humanitarian case and also a failing to “undo” a violation of Russia over an annexation of Crimea have suggested the “reality” of the decay of the recent system, not to mention on a “quiet” geopolitical and geoeconomics project crafting by China’s OBOR, and a yet to finalize an unsettle cold war and the new geopolitical challenges in Asia Pacific whether on Taiwan, Korean peninsular, or East and South China Sea.
Trump has acknowledged Obama as a weak leader and a representation of a defunct “liberal order”, weakening American might through a flawed system in economic trade zone, a free-riding of American security expense, and multiculturalism, sacrifice the well-being of ordinary people to “the establishment”, which he means the corporatization, NGOs, and lobbyists in Washington. Sad but true, most people in the rust belt reciprocate this political chant. The biggest problem is at “NAFTA” and “NATO”, and also “TTIP” and “TPP”. Actually, unconsciously, the later has been shared with Bernie Sanders, albeit he has different viewpoint on the first, reflects to his alignment in the “liberal order” as of Hillary Clinton.
Although with precise diagnostic view on the problems of recent order, Trump tries to radically revert to the pre-“cold war” system, by suggesting both Germany and Japan to invest more on security budget. This reflects to the “falling” comparatively of American “national power” compare to other great powers. In the eyes of Trump this reflects to the problem in economics and free-trade system, and it will sooner or later corroding American military. This, however, inlines with the suggestion of many “realist” camp, whether in “defensive” realist, or “offensive” realist. It will only speed up “uni-multipolar power” to “multipolar” power system, as suggested by Samuel Huntington’s “The Lonely Superpower (1999)”. However, the multipolar system is neither a stable nor a peaceful system as suggested by John J. Mearsheimer’s “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics
It's prone to war-risk world, and it will post a question of an extinction of human race in the extreme case, like suggested in mutually assured destruction (MAD) during cold war, but in this multipolar system, it will be much more serious and very much possible. Let alone, this will create an endless loop between recent paradigm, and the past paradigm.
The system of the “liberal order” scheme has, however, produced the reality of idea and people who “unconsciously” aware of these long term risk as well. It has a power still, as we see protests, condemns and questions against Trump’s executive orders on banning people from seven muslim countries, whether in the US or internationally. But they need to understand they are on waging a “paradigm” war with the “attempt” to reverse back the world to pre-cold war, or before that, a multipolar system world. The medias and the people can’t use only “PC” or “rant” to fight this war any longer, but to understand that they need to invent a new idea, a new concept, and thus constitutes a deep transformation and allowing a “paradigm” switching possible. Actually employing “PC” and “rant” reflects that they can’t think out of box and reaching to the new “paradigm”.
The problem is contrary to a suggestion of Thomas Kuhn’s paradigm shift in the structure of scientific revolutions (1962), as it cannot be taken for granted, it can switch back to the reverse order, which will create a lot more problem in the future. This is why I call it “switching” rather than “shift”. To counter this trend, they have to abandon an idea of “postmodern” on neutralizing every “grand theory” and “idea”, and to re-explore and thoroughly reevaluate the recent system and the possible future first. This is not easy, it’s a long phase of intellectual painful struggle indeed. There is of course a flaw, or a problem in the new paradigm, but we can just only to give an outline to our next generation, and hope that they can try their best to inherit our struggle and creating their own better future.