Tom Arms’ World Review

United States of America

Self-inflicted cracks are starting to appear in the MAGA edifice. The two Republicans wielding the sledgehammers are Alabama’s conspiracy theorist Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and, of course, Donald Trump himself.

The former president, has time and again, demonstrated a total disregard for the rule of law, or at least its application to his affairs. Next week the judge in his New York trial, Juan Merchan, will decide whether Trump is guilty of contempt of court for repeatedly breaching a gag order against his making comments about witnesses, jurors, the judge, the judge’s family or any court officials.

It is a legal courtesy for opposing legal teams to give a day or two’s advance notice of witnesses to give the lawyers time to prepare. The prosecution has asked the judge that they be allowed to withhold the information on the grounds that Trump is likely to issue intimidatory comments on his Truth Social platform. The judge has agreed.

Marjorie Taylor Greene – who has been dubbed “Vladimir Putin’s Envoy Extraordinaire to the US Congress” by Democrats and moderate Republicans – appears determined to totally destroy Republican credibility. Her main target is the $60 billion aid package for Ukraine which has been held up for months by far-right MAGA Republicans in the House of Representatives.

The package is expected to be approved this weekend. But Ms Greene is determined to make a last ditch effort to kill the aid bill with a series of outrageous amendments, including: No humanitarian aid for Gaza, withdrawal from NATO, no support for a two-state solution, and – best of all – a demand that any member of Congress who votes in favour of aid for Ukraine be conscripted into the Ukrainian army.

Ms Greene and the other members of the right-wing Freedom Caucus have managed to alienate moderate Republican congressman who are expected to cross the floor to vote with Democrats to pass the aid bill. Republican Congressman Derrick Van Orden said that he and his colleagues were “sick and tired” of being “bullied” and “blackmailed.”

Europe

America’s “cancel culture” came to Europe this week–and then cancelled itself.

Cancel culture, is a term used by mainly US conservatives to decry the efforts of liberals to block (or “cancel”) public appearances by right-wing speakers. The tactic has become especially popular American university campuses where left-wing student demonstrations have forced the cancellation of speeches by right-wingers.

Conservatives – quite rightly – see this as an attack on free speech.

This week the Edmund Burke Foundation, a conservative American think tank/pressure group, was hosting a conference of right-wing European luminaries in Brussels. Or at least, it was until it encountered the cancel culture of a series of Brussels mayors.

Trouble started the weekend before the event when one of the mayors of Brussels 19 districts decided that the Euro-sceptic foundation’s National Conservatism Conference would not be welcome in his district which included the EU institutions. He feared that the speakers’ anti-EU, anti-immigration and anti-LGBT views would attract violent counter demonstrations. So the venue was shifted to a building near the European Parliament where another district mayor turfed out the organisers.

The National Conservatism Conference – which included political celebrities such as Britain’s Nigel Farage and Suella Braverman, France’s Eric Zemmour and Hungary’s Viktor Orban – moved to a third location, a former night club called the Claridge which lent new meaning to the word seedy.

This time, a third mayor, sent in the police with orders to shut down the event. The attendees responded by beating off the police. But then the Brussels law enforcers sealed off the venue so that no food or drink could enter and if attendees left they were barred from returning. Emir Kir, Mayor of Brussels District Saint Josse-ten-Nood, said: “The far right is not welcome.”

Nigel Farage said the action of the Brussels mayors was “akin to the Soviet Union” and former British Home Secretary Suella Braverman condemned it as the actions of “the thought police.”

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo did not agree with the basic principles of the National Conservatism Conference. But he did agree with the principle of free speech. He declared that the mayors’ actions was unconstitutional, organised a court hearing to overrule the local authorities and the following day the event re-opened and Viktor Orban appeared to address his fans.

Global population

The problems of Europe and America’s White supremacists have just begun. And there is nothing that they can do about it.

According to UN demographers the populations of Europe, America, South Korea, China and Japan are falling because as few as 1.2 children are being born for each woman. In contrast a rising African birth rate and falling mortality rate means that by the end of this century about half of the world’s population will be African. This compares to 1950, when only ten percent of the world’s population lived in Africa.

At the moment about 18 percent of the world is African. But the median age in Africa is 20. This means African women will be at their fertility peak for the next 20 years and they are currently producing 4.6 children each.

The exploding African population coupled with political instability, poverty, climate change and a host of other problems can only mean that the growing number of Africans will be pushing harder on all fronts. By 2050, Nigeria will have a population of 230 million. Ethiopia will be 130 million and the systemically unstable Democratic Republic of the Congo, 110 million.

Climate change means Africans will be fleeing in even greater numbers northwards to Europe and America to escape the creeping sands of the Sahara. Those same sands means that agricultural production will inevitably fail to meet the needs of a growing population.

An ethnic group which comprises nearly half of humanity will also demand greater political representation in relation to other groups.  Economically, Africa will over the next 30 years have the world’s largest work force. This means that it could become a major engine for world growth or a huge pool of unemployed and angry labour. The decision will be made by capital held in the Global North.

* Tom Arms is foreign editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and author of “The Encyclopaedia of the Cold War” and “America Made in Britain". To subscribe to his email alerts on world affairs click here.

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5 Comments

  • Gwyn Williams 21st Apr '24 - 9:56am

    Nigeria already has a population in 2022 of 219 million by 2050 some projections show it growing to 377 million. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1122955/forecast-population-in-nigeria/#:~:text=In%202022%2C%20Nigeria's%20population%20was,million%20people%20compared%20to%202022.
    Ethiopia’s population is by some estimates to be 130 million and is expected to reach 205 million by 2050. https://www.theworldcounts.com/populations/countries/ethiopia#:~:text=The%20population%20of%20Ethiopia%20will,and%20294%20million%20in%202100
    This emphasises the need for speedy action.

  • Catherine Wilson 21st Apr '24 - 10:43am

    White supremacists are deranged. But there is a world wide problem of overpopulation. The charity ‘Population Matters’ argues (rightly IMO) that to achieve our environmental goals we need to halt population growth. They campaign for education for women and free access to birth control in all countries. The figures for births in Europe, America etc show that this strategy works. A falling population is good news for the climate crisis and the environment – short term problems like who looks after the ailing old can be managed by immigration. If we continue to allow the population to grow, civilization as we know it does not have a future.

  • Mary Fulton 21st Apr '24 - 1:25pm

    I have no doubt that Donald Trump is more likely to be convicted in any trial held in New York – one of the areas of the country that is the most anti-Trump – than if it were held in a more neutral venue. This fact, and the fact that (as reported in the Daily Telegraph on 15th April) the judge in the case made a small donation to the Biden campaign in 2020 despite New York State law banning judges from making donations to political candidates, means that his own supporters will be absolutely outraged by what they will see as the misuse of the law to target a political opponent if Trump gets convicted. These are very dangerous times for democracy in the USA.

  • Over the past fortnight the United States Opinion polls seem to be turning, some have Biden in the overall lead, just!
    State by State unclear.

  • Peter Hirst 7th May '24 - 12:41pm

    Africa’s increasing young population will look more and more towards the developed world for employment and life opportunities. This is better allowed through management than left to each person’s inclination. Africa as a continent will need to negotiate with other countries or blocs so this migration is fair, safe and acceptable to the receiving country.

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