How will history remember 2016? Two clear themes emerged over the past year: nationalization (or de-globalization) and asymmetry. Brave individuals stared down an entire system and won with the support of the average citizen.
The cultural identities of Western nations had been eroding for years, as leaders failed to enforce national borders under the guise of tolerance. It was starting to feel as if an invisible hand was at work, mixing all of the elements and identities that make each country and its people unique into a homogeneous stew.
Proof of this sometimes came in the form of violent reminders, as Europe in particular was struck this year by an increase in the kind of terrorist incidents more closely associated with other parts of the world.
We witnessed a gruesome epitome of Europe’s adoption of weakness and vulnerability as institutionalized political policy as 2016 drew to a close. Anis Amri, a Tunisian migrant, killed 12 people and injured dozens more with a truck at a Christmas market in Berlin before fleeing. He was finally shot and killed in Italy days later after firing on police. Following the attack in Berlin, Amri was able to bounce around Europe — from Germany to France to Italy — even as his photo was plastered all over the media, underscoring Europe’s effectively borderless nature and related security vulnerabilities resulting from a lack of political will to enforce nation-state boundaries.
Citizens of Western nations have never voted for their own endangerment. The climate of violence can be attributed to elites from a monolithic system that either sidelines or spits out anyone who dares to sing a different tune. Voters have never had a credible alternative to the status quo — until 2016.
Enter Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party. In 2010, the European Parliament fined Farage 3,000 euros after telling then-European Council President Herman Van Rompuy: “You have the charisma of a damp rag, and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk.”
“And the question that I want to ask,” Farage continued, “is, who are you? I’d never heard of you. Nobody in Europe had ever heard of you. … You seem to have a loathing for the very concept of the existence of nation-states.”
While Farage’s colleagues laughed at his tirade, they likely weren’t laughing earlier this year, when Farage successfully led the Brexit campaign under the slogan “Take back control.” He helped convince British voters to exit the European Union to reclaim national sovereignty and restore Britain’s borders, culture and economy, all of which had been eroded under the pretext of European solidarity.
Then, in November, Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election — a solitary figure campaigning openly against every aspect of the establishment.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin — the man who arguably started the trend of favoring national interests over global governance — stepped up to lead the draining of the Islamic State terrorist swamp in Syria, helping to ease the threat against the weakened and vulnerable borders of Europe.
Also very influential these days is WikiLeaks, a small, tight-knit organization founded by Julian Assange. WikiLeaks’ publication of the private documents and discreet communications of the global elite has afforded citizens a rare glimpse into the manipulation to which they’ve been subjected.
But if 2016 was the year of the rebel anti-globalist, then 2017 could well be the year that the empire strikes back in the battle for the hearts and minds of the people.
In November, the European Parliament adopted a resolution “on EU strategic communication to counteract propaganda against it by third parties.”
The German publication Der Spiegel reported that the country’s interior ministry is creating a “Center of Defense Against Disinformation” in advance of the 2017 elections, in which Chancellor Angela Merkel will seek a fourth term after leading the globalist charge in Europe. Apparently, information or viewpoints running counter to the official government line will be susceptible to attack.
Such state propaganda measures won’t be limited to the European sphere. Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama has just signed into law the bipartisan “Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act.” The measure, embedded in the 2017 defense bill, calls for the creation of a “Center for Information Analysis and Response” at a cost of millions to American taxpayers.
The year 2016 may have seen the birth of a movement against globalism, led by some courageous voices, but only the support of informed and independent-minded citizens will sustain the momentum and keep this movement from being quashed by inevitable state-sponsored backlash.