Most presidential elections in America have been contests over different policy solutions and approaches, but rooted in a commonly agreed reality. This time around, as the back to back Republican and Democratic conventions have demonstrated, the dispute is over what constitutes reality itself. More than anything else, this election is about defining what America is.
If the aim of the coup plotters was to derail Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's march toward autocratic rule and restore the country firmly on the secular path envisioned by its modern founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, their failure achieved the opposite result. The last gasp of Atatürk has breathed new life into Erdogan's troubled and troubling tenure. (continued)
Last weekend the CEO of Nasdaq complained in the Wall Street Journal about 'The Overblown Brexit Market Panic'. Repeating the absurdity that the vote has created an "independent Britain", as if the EU is a colonial power, he assured readers that "over the next two years, the timeline for EU withdrawal, Britain has an opportunity to become a trading magnet".
The use of a referendum in such high-profile ways, however, also suggests that governments must continue to examine and re-examine what it means to engage the public effectively--before a matter reaches the ballot. Are governments enabling those affected by decisions to affect those decisions, without ballots?
"Present at the Creation" is the title Dean Acheson, the famed American secretary of state from 1949-1953, gave to his memoir, which recounts the vision and construction of the post-World War II institutions of global order. In that same era, French diplomat Robert Schuman, considered "the father of Europe," planted the seeds of European integration that have grown for the last several decades into a club of 28 countries with a population of 500 million. Brexit marks an historic turn of the tide. Today, we are present at the unraveling of those grand institutions that have outlived their capacity to deliver and lost the allegiance of their publics. (continued)