Rise of the right

Muhammad Ali Baig

IS Trump going to survive the media and judicial assault regarding the Travel Ban and the US-Mexico Border Wall? Will Modi succeed in transforming secular into an India overshadowed by Hindutva? And how the Brexit will affect the European politics and the fate of the European Union? These questions though sound a bit too radical but their relevance just cannot be denied. The history of the world is a witness that almost every century certain elements of the society in a nation rise against the prevailing status quo.
In the U.S, Trump’s “Make America Great Again” and subsequent rise to power was a result of his rightist-nationalistic thoughts and fervour. His promises to build the wall, ban on certain Muslim countries and to bring the jobs and industry back to the American people paved the public opinion in his favour. Again, Modi’s consolidation of power in India though perceived as a surprise by many but it was the right-wing extremist Hindutva ideology of the Rashtriya Swayamsavek Sangh (RSS) and the Sangh Parivar with almost 90 years of conspiracies and mischievous plans, which finally paid off. The roughly 53 affiliated organizations of RSS have virtually taken over the entire India. The book “Bharatiya Janata Party and the Indian Muslims” (2014) by Dr. Muhammad Mujeeb Afzal describes that BJP is in fact the political wing of the RSS.
In Angela Merkel’s Germany, the historical injustices done to the German nation whether it was the Treaty of Versailles, Lend-Lease Agreement or the occupation and subsequent division of Germany into East and West Germany; have casted an indelible mark on the strategic thinking of the German nation. The policies of Angela Merkel are not only centred on Germany but the role played by German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier (now German President) in the Iranian Nuclear Deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action-2015); where the P5+1 was in fact dominated by him. It would not be wrong to assume that Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall and its re-unification in 1991 has again rose to the status of a great power in just 20 years time.
Ostensibly, Brexit happened due to the domination of EU by Germany and is very much indigestible for US and UK. The recent statement by Trump that Germany owes money to NATO and US is a clear sign that the great powers are again terrified by the tremendous progress made by the German nation in almost every walk of life. With Francois Fillon or Marine Le Pen or Benoit Hamon as President in Paris, it is certain that France would also leave European Union just like Britain. Marine and Hamon are more inclined towards the right in comparison with Fillon. France is in a constant state of security dilemma due to growing power and influence of Germany not only in European Union but also internationally. Whoever comes to power in France, it would lead the Fifth Republic to the path dominated by conservatism and protectionism.
Interestingly in Austria, though right-wing Norbert Hofer was defeated by Alexander Van der Bellen in the 2016 Elections, but it is fascinating that he had 46% of the popular vote in his favour. In Turkey with Tayyip Erdogan’s rightist policies; Ankara has regained its regional and international importance. Also, his growing relations with Putin with solid criticism on the West and Israel have made him a perfect rightist-conservative. Likewise, Philippines remained a colony of the democratic America for many decades but With Rodrigo Duterte as President; people of Philippines have given their verdict while breaking the status-quo.
It is a fact that the world politics is taking a turn in favour of the right-wing and conservative political parties and leaders. Is it due to the inherited anarchic international structure or a backlash of politicizing liberal values around the globe? Many analysts and political minds contemplate and perhaps are sceptical of the “Rise of the Right” on the international level. But provided the changing geopolitical and geostrategic environment, it would not be wrong to conclude that the phenomenon is not only real but is rising in a remarkable speed. A dimension can be drawn from the above discussion and facts that the “New Cold War” might turn “Red Hot” real soon.
— The writer is freelance columnist based in Islamabad.

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