A Few Observations From Across The Atlantic

As an op-ed writer I’m entitled to express opinions but they should mostly be based on at least better than average knowledge of the subject matter at hand. I’d like to think I adhere to that “rule”; today will be a bit of an exception. That does not diminish the importance of some of my observations nor excuse you from giving them thought.

I want to focus on three countries today: Israel, Spain and the UK. Each are American allies and important world players, albeit of varying degree relative to each other.

Israel’s parliament just passed legislation limiting the judicial system’s power. Like almost all Americans I’m basically pro-Israel. The degree to which that is true has, with cause, has diminished in recent years.

Israel’s treatment of Palestinians has been suspect. (I’m being very polite in my verbiage.) The situation is complicated so I’ll cut the Israeli government a bit of slack, but not too much.

Their current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a wannabe autocrat. That is certainly not consistent with democracy. This latest legislative move is designed to effectively take over and/or neuter the courts. That is straight out of the strongman playbook. (A version of which has been at hand in America in recent decades. Historically, the far right moves slowly until it is too late to stop them.)

I often ponder the pluses and minuses of various forms of democracy (which I’m convinced is the best form of government known to man). Spain has a parliamentary democracy in which a party must gain a majority of seats in parliament or form a coalition that constitutes a majority in order to form a government and rule. Spain held national elections on Sunday and no party reached the needed majority. In fact, it doesn’t appear that either of the two largest parties can form a majority coalition. New elections and uncertainly appear the most likely outcome.

In Spain the vast majority of votes went to the center-left and center-right parties. In my mind that is both good and reflective of where most people around the world stand. While extremists may be loud and get tons of press, they are relatively few in number. If only the center-right and center-left factions could come together and compromise we’d have a lot more placated, if not happy, people and get a lot more accomplished.

The UK’s economy is not nearly as strong as it should be coming out of the pandemic. While blame can be laid in many areas by far the most obvious and largest factor is Brexit. Especially since World War II, we live in a global economy and isolationism (even disguised as patriotism) is foolish!

In recent history isolationism has always been a far-right strategy which at first glance sounds good. In America in the run up to World War II we had the America First movement. In reality it was a pro-Nazi movement. (I’ll concede that many in the ranks weren’t necessarily pro-Nazi, but temporarily useful idiots.)

Worldwide anti-immigrant and isolationist stances are found almost exclusively on the far right. In fact, a large part of their initial strategy is an us against them gambit. (It’s not your fault; it’s the “other”. You weren’t given a chance.)

As many predicted, (including me in this column), Brexit was foolish. To think that by leaving a club – which you got a special deal in order to entice you to enter in the first place – you were somehow going to get a better deal from the rest of the members after you left the club was pure lunacy!

Most of my readers are Americans. I’m certain that many are sitting back and saying to themselves, “That’s all well and good, but what does it mean to me?” The very short answer is that in the 21st century what happens there matters here.

This article is the property of tellthetruthonthem.com and its content may not be used without citing the source. It may not be reproduced without the permission of Larry Marciniak.