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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

The following article is included in my new book, Donald Trump: Deadbeat Tyrant, published 13th January, 2021.

A French philosopher once noted of the Roman Empire’s fall:

If the chance of one battle — that is, a particular cause — has brought a state to ruin, some general cause made it necessary for that state to perish from a single battle. In a word, the main trend draws with it all particular accidents

Montesquieu was right. Rome did not fall due to the military defeats inflicted upon it by barbarians at the gate, it fell due to a combination of economic difficulties, territorial over-expansion, military overspending, government corruption and general political instability, among a range of other factors. …


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Photo by Tyler Merbler on Wikipedia Commons

It is nearly one week since America’s four-year long experiment with fascism was officially terminated. That Donald Trump refused to concede defeat after losing the election meant that the world had to postpone its long-awaited collective sigh-of-relief. In the meantime, we were treated to a glimpse of just what the Trump presidency stood for, as a motley crew of white supremacists, QAnon-ers, and assorted anti-democratic loons stormed the Capitol Building in Washington D.C., in what very much looked like a dress-rehearsal for a genuine fascist assault upon democratic rule.

Throughout Trump’s presidency there has been an ongoing debate as to whether the label of “fascist” fits the ex-president. Some argue that Trump’s cult-of-personality, his far-right exclusionary nationalism, and his contempt for democracy meant that this orange-tinted demagogue was indeed a fascist. Others hold that fascism should be understood strictly in the sense of the aftermath of the First World War, and the emergence of the movements supporting Mussolini, Hitler and others. For these theorists, fascism was an expansionist ideology that is inseparable from history’s two most destructive conflicts. Trump, by contrast, was the first president in more than a generation not to start a new war. …


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Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

Donald Trump’s love affair with Twitter is renowned. Since he joined the platform in March 2009, he has tweeted tens of thousands of times, with at least 17,000 of these coming after his 2015 announcement that he would seek the presidency. Trump’s Twitter feed has been a place to boast, an arena to engage in feuds with celebrities and political opponents, a means to threaten foreign nations, and a venue to advertise his political beliefs. …


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Photo by Jannes Van den wouwer on Unsplash

We are now approaching the final endgame of Brexit. As the transitional dark zone between full EU membership and full Brexit nears its termination, we are yet to see a deal reached. The indications are that some form of compromise will be found (although who knows what will happen given the unpredictability of the man leading the United Kingdom).

Whether Britain gets a deal with the EU or not, the outcome will likely be unsatisfactory for Britain’s Brexiteers. A compromise with the EU will mean that Boris Johnson will have failed to deliver on his ridiculous promises that Britain could break free from the EU whilst continuing to enjoy nearly all of the benefits of membership. …


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Photo by Specna Arms on Unsplash

Due to the destructiveness of modern military arsenals, war between states has become less frequent than in the past. However, growing instability and competitiveness in the international system indicates that we could be facing into a future where the likelihood of inter-state war might rise once more. The fact that climate change will result in severe shortages of resources, with accompanying instances of territorial disputes, in the coming decades only increases this possibility.

Presently, there are numerous unresolved disputes between heavily armed nations that could conceivably escalate into all-out war. What follows is a short explanation of five such cases.

Azerbaijan vs Armenia

The disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh has seen its deadliest flare-up of violence since the 1994 ceasefire that ended the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Armenian backed fighters have clashed with Azerbaijani troops in recent days, with the death toll reaching at least ninety-five, a figure that includes eleven civilians. …


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Photo by BP Miller on Unsplash

Neoliberalism has been exposed as a failed doctrine, first by the financial crisis that erupted more than a decade ago and now by the Covid-19 pandemic. What replaces it?

The seismic events of the financial crash of 2008 revealed the consequences of allowing rampant financial capitalism to operate without meaningful regulation. As capitalism teetered on the edge of collapse, the response of governments and central banks across the western world was to forego the neoliberal doctrine of limited government intervention in the economy.

Governments launched massive bailouts of banks and initiated huge fiscal stimulus programs. Central banks printed money in unprecedented amounts and trillions of dollars of new money was lavished upon the financial sector, which soon returned to profitability and to its culture of obscene bonuses. …


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Photo by Michael Vadon on Wikipedia Commons

The following article is included in my new book, Donald Trump: Deadbeat Tyrant, published 13th January, 2021.

Some critics of Donald Trump have long held that he is a fascist. It is easy to see why. He ran on an openly racist platform. He expresses admiration for strongman-type dictators. He denigrates all critical media as “fake news”. He attacks the judiciary. He seeks to erode the rights of minorities. He appears to hold contempt for democracy. His administration operates camps where immigrants, including children separated from their parents, are detained for long periods.

In recent days, Trump has burnished his fascist credentials. He has threatened (and carried out) violence upon peaceful protestors and has raised the prospect of turning the most powerful military in the world upon its own people. He has declared Antifa, a loose collection of groups and individuals who seek to oppose fascism, to be a terrorist organisation. Even The Washington Post, not exactly a bastion of Antifa, is now questioning whether Donald Trump is indeed a fascist. …


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Source: https://labourheartlands.com/

Freedom of assembly has been suspended. The free movement of citizens has been significantly curtailed. Sporting and cultural events have been banned. Even a kickaround at the local park risks a response from authorities keen to confine people to their homes. Drinking in bars is tragically forbidden, as is any number of far more wholesome hobbies. In many cases, even going to work is now illegal. A government, voted out of office months ago, clings to power while a fresh election is considered to be all but impossible.

This is not some authoritarian dystopia conjured up by a deranged conspiracy theorist, as I am sure you realise. Instead, it is life in Ireland under “The Great Lockdown” of 2020. In the face of a pandemic that threatens to kill multitudes, we have temporarily traded in our democratic rights for the wellbeing and health of the general population. …


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Image by Sean Griffin from Pixabay

The world is in the grip of a severe economic crisis. What the IMF now refers to as “The Great Lockdown” is leading to a global recession more severe than at any time since The Great Depression. While Ireland has so far avoided the worse of the tragic scenes that the pandemic has wrought upon some, it is clear that the country will not escape the economic fallout.

With businesses shuttering across the country, unemployment reached 16.5% last month as nearly 400,000 people applied for the new Covid-19 unemployment payment. At the same time, government revenues have fallen precipitously. But to prevent unmitigated economic disaster, the state must counteract the fall in economic activity in the private sector by continuing to increase expenditure. …


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Source: https://pixabay.com/

There’s a new cliché in town; pandemics are “great equalisers” apparently.

The sentiment has been expressed by a diverse range of public figures, from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to economist and inequality expert Branko Milanović. Even pop-singer Madonna got in on the act, posting a video of herself in a bath telling fans that the coronavirus is “the great equaliser”.

In some ways, Madonna is right. Once the Covid-19 virus infects you it cares not for your race, nationality or gender. Nor does it worry whether you are a millionaire, billionaire or on minimum wage. Even the Prime Minister of the UK found himself in intensive care this week; a timely reminder that once it infects you, the coronavirus concerns itself only with its own propagation and all that matters then is the strength of the immune system with which it does battle. So in theory everyone is at risk, regardless of social class. …

About

Zack Breslin

Essayist and procrastinationist with a focus on current affairs, political economy, socio-economics and ketchup reviews. Support my work: ko-fi.com/zackbreslin

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