Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Tom Friedman Explains Why The International System Is At Risk

Tom Friedman reports from Italy where he has learned about the risks that we face in Europe and elsewhere.  He argues that Italy's new government came to power because of a very serious mistake by NATO.  A dictator was removed from Libya, but NATO did nothing to restore order in Lybia.  Consequently, there is no effective government in Libya. Instead it is run by a number of competing tribes.  As a result,  Italy has been overwhelmed by an unmanageable number of immigrants.  The second largest segment of Lybia's economy is moving immigrants to Europe via Italy.  Moreover, that situation has been made worse by the refusal of some governments to accept immigrants flowing into Europe via Italy.   Italians are unhappy with the flow of immigrants and they also blame the EU for not assuming more of the responsibility for accepting the immigrants.  Anti EU, and anti-immigration sentiments opened the door for the right wing coalition government in Italy.

Italy is only one of the problems that Friedman is concerned about.  Russia, of course has been active in supporting Brexit in the UK and it has fueled discontent with the EU by supporting nationalist political parties that have also taken advantage of popular concerns about the flow of immigrants and refugees from troubled nations outside of Europe.  Donald Trump's rise to power in the US has also been harmful.  He has been critical of the EU and NATO.  He imagines that he can create a new world order in which he negotiates better deals between thFriee US and individual nations. 

Friedman is also concerned about demographics.  The population of Africa, which is larger than the population of the EU, will double in size while the population of the EU is shrinking,  Unless governments in Africa become more able to deal with their economic and social problems there will be more pressure on developed nations to deal with the flow of immigrants and refugees from Africa. Friedman is also worried about the consequences of our inability to deal with global warming.  He did not have much to say in this article about global warming because he did not want to ruin you dinner, lunch and breakfast with bad news.  I suspect that his enjoyment of the great food in Italy has also been diminished by his concerns about our future.

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