Today is Boxing Day. I’m not going to go into the genesis; it has basically evolved into the big day for returning Christmas presents to retailers. Sometimes it is a swap based on size or color. Often it is simply returning and getting cash or store credit for something you simply do not want. There is a political version of that called elections. With all that in mind let’s explore.
On Thursday December 12th the UK held elections. It was their opportunity to rid themselves of Boris Johnson, save their economy and help the economy of the free world. The people failed miserably. They elected Johnson’s Conservative Party by the widest margin in decades. Johnson’s election (I will not call it a reelection because he did not become Prime Minister via election from the general electorate in the first place) all but assures Brexit.
In defense of the British voters I will say that the main opposition party (Labour) offered what to many was an unpalatable leader in Jeremy Corbyn who subsequent to the election resigned as party leader. Let that be a lesson to the American Democratic Party: candidates matter.
At this writing I don’t have a lot of confidence in Congress removing Donald Trump from office so the American electorate will face their “Boxing Day” on November 3, 2020. They will have the opportunity to effectively return the “gift” of Donald Trump.
You may be questioning why I am using the gift metaphor. I reality both Johnson and Trump are “gifts” given to the British and American people by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Until the last few years Johnson was mainly known as a comical if unethical “journalist” who became the Mayor of London. Until that famous escalator ride in 2015 Donald Trump was largely viewed as a joke by most Americans. His obsessions were women, creating the illusion of wealth and being featured in gossip columns.
Inequity is a problem in all societies with the UK and US being no exceptions. With that condition comes dissatisfaction which Putin saw an opportunity to exploit. Putin’s Russia cannot compete with the UK or US on an even playing field rising to their heights and thereby equality. The only way for Russia to achieve equality or superiority is to lower the competition.
The west in general is economically superior to Russia and in Britain Putin saw a “two for” opportunity. If he could get the UK to exit the European Union (EU) he could significantly weaken both. Power hungry and foolish Johnson was just his man. Putin interfered in the Brexit vote and Johnson ran around the country promising all sorts of benefits if only his countrymen would exit the EU. Aided by Russian interference the exit side narrowly won the Brexit referendum.
Using the same interference model – and in many cases the same entities and staff – Putin duplicated his victory in November of 2016 with the narrow election of Donald Trump. During his term in office Trump has done almost everything possible to alienate America’s allies while catering to Putin and other dictators. There is no question that Trump has weakened western alliances. NATO, once the foundation of post-World War II western democracy – is now an alliance of nations fearing America will suddenly pull out. Sans a strong EU and NATO suddenly the nations of Europe don’t look as formidable when contrast with Russia. Under a Johnson and Trump aided-Putin, if left unchecked, Russia will win the race to the bottom; that was Putin’s goal all along.
The UK missed their opportunity on their “Boxing Day”; I hope America doesn’t follow suit again.
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