The most ironic trend of 2016 will also lead to the death of millions.
I’m not talking about Harambe, or dank meme subculture going mainstream, or technocracy hitting only its second roadblock in 20 years, these, or political corruption being exposed DNC style.
The trend of 2016 is nationalism.
I noticed a slight uptick in Eastern Europe during the refugee crisis late last year, but who could have predicted everything since then? Brexit, Trump, potentially Le Pen, Erdogan, Xi Jinping, almost Hofer in Austria today, and Duterte.
This is incredibly dangerous for this reason: after WWII, which can be summarized as an attempt to destroy civilization using extreme nationalism, the world got together and decided that international cooperation, a good check against nationalism, could prevent this from ever happening again. So they formed the UN, NATO, eventually the EU, and big jumbo inter-national organizations.
Trump says that we will not “surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism.” But contra Trump, globalism is the only thing that has prevented WWIII for the past seventy years, and even that almost didn’t work (cold war).
The stronger that nationalist parties get across Europe and Asia, the more likely we are to enter a giant international war. We have had giant international wars even in a globally-interdependent world, but they have all been proxy wars in dinky foreign countries with small populations and little international sway (vietnam, iraq, afghanistan, lybia, etc). The wars of nationalism are in major population centers, with major weaponry, with major escalation risk.
Trump’s phone call to Taiwan shouldn’t mean anything. But it does, because the more each country nationalizes, the more risky and higher variance everything becomes. Nationalism is the gunpowder; alliances are the matchbook; phone calls are the matches; what will be the spark?