A vor­tex at the cen­ter of the world

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY NIKOS KONSTANDARAS

the di­vide is be­tween ex­trem­ist forces of the left and the right. Don­ald Trump per­son­i­fies the de­fyall-facts, take-no-pris­on­ers tac­tics of the Tea Party ac­tivists over the past few years; Hil­lary Clin­ton, an ex­pres­sion of the pro­gres­sive wing of the estab­lish­ment, had to fight off a tough ri­val from the pop­ulist left. These rifts re­flect the hard­en­ing of po­si­tions at the ends of the po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and so­cial spec­trum. Barack Obama’s suc­ces­sor will lead a di­vided, con­fused na­tion at a time when the world needs strong lead­er­ship and moral clar­ity. Bri­tain, a pil­lar of the post­war in­ter­na­tional or­der, has im­ploded in a spec­tac­u­lar dis­play of self-ab­ne­ga­tion. The ref­er­en­dum re­sult which could lead to the end of the coun­try’s EU mem­ber­ship has shocked the econ­omy and the main po­lit­i­cal par­ties. It re­leased pow­er­ful, di­vi­sive forces that will be dif­fi­cult to tame. If that were not enough to force the coun­try into iso­la­tion and navel gaz­ing, the re­lease of the Chilcot re­port into Bri­tain’s role in the US-led in­va­sion of Iraq in 2003 will cause fur­ther in­tro­ver­sion. The re­port will most likely have much greater im­pli­ca­tions on the in­ter­na­tional scene. As mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion in Libya (when Bri­tain fol­lowed France’s lead) later showed, med­dling in for­eign coun­tries, com­pounded by the lack of plan­ning for the day af­ter, can lead to dis­as­trous re­sults. Wash­ing­ton’s re­luc­tance to in­ter­vene dy­nam­i­cally in Syria re­flects this new cau­tion. Even many ob­servers who had ar­gued against the inva-

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