End of the Era of Political Correctness

Donald Trump's surprise victory is so great that more than one month is required only to understand what did happen in the American political system. Anyway, without trying to understand all the nuances, we can already appreciate the value of this tectonic shift.

The election of Donald Trump not only opens up a new era in the American and world politics, it symbolizes the sudden end of the previous epoch, the rejection of its basic principles.

Trump’s election means the end of the era of political correctness that prevailed in the United States and Western Europe since the early 1990s. Political correctness was the basis of the elite rules of the game, which allowed, using the mass media technologies, to separate the visible virtual reality of their behavior from the real content. That is, over the real, often contradictory, conflicting, and, inevitably not very clean political process a virtual circus big top was built for the public, where same politicians played a performance, where pre-agreed discussion was only allowed, usually about secondary issues, and, as in the theater for children, using only words that could not hurt anybody. The real problems were hidden from the audience, and the silence of spectators made the elites accustomed to the fact that the audience agrees with everything, and if so, there is no sense to change anything.

In recent years, many cracks appeared on the European media dome, but the audience did not understand the whole circus. The American big top was bigger and looked more beautiful, but the American middle class accumulated so much doubts and discontent, and the presence of a double play was so obvious, that the election earthquake crumbled the dome quickly and completely. At the same time, under the rubble of the virtual screen the "mainstream" of the Western media industry was buried. The forthcoming "debris" gathering in the US and Europe during the next few years will throw away the politicians and ideologues, who grew up in the era of the Cold War, and were fed from the sale of anti-Russian stereotypes, which no longer work, as the elections clearly demonstrated.

However, the end of political correctness was predetermined by the other, no less important reason. The world and the United States entered a period of rapid change in the global economic and political paradigm. Along with the balance of forces change the process of redistribution of spheres of influence in the international arena is accelerating. Like in any country, a time of challenges has come for the US. To survive in the competition and succeed, the country will have to make decisions that will be painful for many people - including the elite. Changes are always painful and frightening, and it means that someone has to explain the situation not only to those who did not understand, but also to make those who do not want. It cannot be done according to the rules of political correctness. No wonder that polls during the vote showed that the Americans want a strong leader.

Trump’s election also means an end of the globalization era. Financial circles were its main beneficiaries, first of all - the Wall Street elite. The globalization has made economic giants the US potential competitors, especially China. However, in the next 10 years we will see, especially in America, the first shoots of a new global social and technological order. The mass transition to production based on robotics, artificial intelligence and additive technologies will cause coagulation of global production chains and re-localization of production in rich countries-consumers. The primacy of the effective demand over the production factors will push the process of regionalization, "fencing", with aim to limit access of competitors to "their" customers. We are already seeing it in the formation of exclusive zones for the corporations, in attempts to rewrite the global rules of the game.

The economic division of the world into spheres of influence may be followed by a new division of the world into political and military blocs. In this sense, Trump's victory signals an understanding of the need to harmonize economic and foreign policy priorities. Just as Saudi Arabia ceased to be a priority for the United States, as soon as the latter gained energy independence, the binding of American corporations to China, and the predictability of their relationship, will cease to be an axiom. In the new economy of knowledge, where the health market may be up to 50% of the country's GDP, the importance of China as an export market for the United States should not be overestimated.

Limitation of export from competitors and struggle for resources will inevitably feed the geostrategic tensions. However, unlike the police actions in Iraq or Libya, which provided favorable conditions for the "investment projects" by the New York financiers, the conversation in Washington will focus on a long-term policy of deterrence against major opponents, which will require massive investments in military potential, and at the same time, for technological retooling of the American industry. The American business loudly demands from the authorities a clear industrial strategy. No wonder that the promise to guarantee increased investments in the United States has become a key of the Trump's programme. The coming era will be a competition of national technological and human potentials. The era of supranational cosmopolitan financial elites, which, like George Soros, put everything on Hillary Clinton, is over.

What does all this mean for Russia? First, it reminds the authorities that the media dome cannot hide the frank and hard-hitting talk about the important things. Second, it means that the United States is finally free from the mental shackles of the Cold War and is ready to look at the world through different eyes. In this change there is a prospect of more healthy and civilized relations, and also a challenge from a competitor, ready for a new technological and military breakthrough. During the increasing global uncertainty, it is time for us, with no illusions about the return of the past without sanctions, to think about a long-term strategy of investment into our own economic, geostrategic and human potential.

Andrey Bezrukov is Associate Professor, Moscow State Institute of International Relations of the MFA of Russia (MGIMO).

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.