We have entered 2017, a year that promises to change the world in radical ways. Change is both good and bad and it is this ambiguity that makes the world tremble, tremble, tremble. We do know that changes must occur and that we should not be afraid of them but somehow, we are not able to shake off our fears of the unknown. Here are some of the anticipated changes that could make the world shake:
- In America (and in much of the world) the election of Donald Trump as the president of the United States is worrisome. The influence and global importance of USA is hard to underestimate. The president elect has made statements that if he implements them would shake up the world. US neighbors such as Mexico and Canada are worried about what would happen to the trade agreement that had worked very well for the past decade. Would he scrap it and what would be the replacement? Would he build a wall at the Mexican border and would he ask that Mexico pay for cost?
- In the Mideast, the president elect is generating a lot of anxiety and worry. Mr. Trump seems to be rejecting the widely accepted Two-States solution and accepting a Greater Israel solution which would trap the Palestinians in a Greater Israel where they would be second class citizens much like the blacks in the Apartheid South Africa. Both the West and East do not like a one state solution. What will this bring to the Mideast? What would the move of US embassy to Jerusalem mean to the Arabs? When Mr. Trump’s bias against Muslims is introduced into the equation what will the Mideast look like. The Arabs are trembling.
- President Obama had introduced the concept of a pivot to Asia which was thought to bring America closer to Asia and make the two peoples of Asia and American more friendly. Mr. Trump sees things differently. He seems set on confrontational relationship with the emerging China. China can fight back. Will China and USA be locked in a cold war? Or even in a hot war? Asia is nervous.
- President elect’s position on NATO is very vague. On the one hard he seems to believe in NATO and on the other hand he seems to consider NATO as an organization whose time has come and gone, a remnant of the cold war. He seems to want to charge Germany and other Europeans the cost of US military in Europe. There are no signs that he would work well with the German Chancellor Angela Meckel. He also seems to support the break-up EU countries. European countries are concerned.
- On the domestic front, many segments of the country are afraid of what a Trump administration will bring. Blacks, Hispanics, gay and lesbian people, Muslims, and other minorities fear a reversal of the gains of the civil rights movement. There is a divide between cities. suburban and rural communities; a divide between fossil fuels and renewable energies policies; a divide between politicians that had ruled the country since its inception and the industrialists who developed it; a divide between the rich who are getting richer and the poor who are becoming poorer; there is big fracture in the society’s role players: the press, the government, Hollywood, labor and employers of labor; etc. What will the United State look like after 2017 and beyond? People are anxious.
- Another factor that makes 2017 a difficult year is the Brexit vote. UK has opted out of the EU and the conservative prime Minister has stated that she would implement the will of the people. What will that mean to Europe? What will that mean to Europeans resident in Britain and the British residents in Europe? There is a wait see attitude. Britain, France and Germany are the economic pillars of EU that is keeping the union together economically as Greece, Italy, and other southern countries undergo economic restructuring. Will Germany and France be able to hold the forth alone? Will more exits follow? More concerns
- How about Africa? Will Nigeria survive another full ear under the Buhari Administration? Mr. Buhari is becoming more dictatorial and is increasing employing the tools of dictatorship in governing: secret police and secret trials (Nnamdi Kanu and his lieutenants), military occupation of supposedly hostile territories (SS and SE) suppression of the press; harassment of political opponents under the guise of fighting corruption; neglect of key areas of development such as agriculture, infrastructure and education; etc.
- Zuma’s South Africa seems to be unravelling. How will the 2018 election go? Is the division in ANC real or imagined?
- West Africa is in turmoil. It seems that the era of military takeovers is back. The Gambia, Mauritania, Ivory Coast, etc. has each experienced a complete or attempted military takeover. Has the march of democracy been stopped? Ghana is a shining example so far, but can Ghana go it alone?
There are more reasons to be concerned but the above is used to illustrate why so many people are so afraid. It seems that the world, particularly USA, is embarking on an experiment. Who is best suited to rule a nation: the experts as represented by politicians who have ruled nations since the beginning of the world or the business people who have managed business from the get go? Are the skills transferable? Can business people run a country? Can politicians’ run businesses? Can a country be run without politics?
It is a bold experiment.
We will be watching.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
January 18, 2017