The world now belongs to Donald Trump. Such an unusual situation cannot help but alter the course of world politics. Here is how we see the political course of Western Europe changing in the wake of Trump’s victory:
Italy – The domino most likely to fall in the near future. Before America’s November election the unpopular Leftist government of Prime Minister Renzi had staked its future on winning a referendum on economic reforms early in December. With populist victories in Britain and the United States, Renzi’s referendum, which was already lagging behind in polls, now looks certain to be punished by voters in an anti-establishment backlash. A referendum loss will lead to the collapse of his leftist government and early elections that are expected to be won by a coalition of anti-euro nationalist and center right parties.
In its already weakened position the euro will enter a new crisis when an incoming Italian government prepares for Italy’s exit from the currency union.
Britain – Concern in Britain had been growing over whether PM May would encounter strong resistance to her triggering article 50 next Spring to begin formal exit negotiations with the European Union. Britain’s exit now becomes more certain after Trump’s win demonstrated ignoring public opinion is more politically untenable than ever.
Germany – Merkel’s plan for Germany’s 2017 general election was to portray AfD’s leader Petry as Hitler. Courtesy of America, Merkel has been handed a label worse than Hitler – Merkel will try to frame Petry as Trump, albeit a pixie-Trump in a skirt hiding underneath a Beatle’s moptop.
Will Petry emerge from the election standing on high heels atop the Fatherland with a Bundestag majority, whip in hand, herself wrapped tightly in a Hugo Boss outfit of leather?
Though it would make for excellent blog material, sadly she will not be Kanzlerin.
Petry is too Prussian to win what is necessary in West Germany to form a national majority. However, with Petry’s stance against increasingly unpopular refugees she will be well-poised to deny Merkel a majority or let her easily form a governing coalition.
France – Le Pen, at first glance, should be positioned to triumph in the aftermath of Britain’s referendum and Trump.
But on further examination the momentum started by Farage and Trump may not convert to her benefit in French politics. The French are natural trendsetters, not trend followers, and they are loathe especially to admit they are merely catching up with Anglo-Saxon trends, which no amount of spin on their part could deny if they elected Le Pen almost six months after America elected Trump and a year after UKIP won over Britain.
The French are too self-assured and contained within themselves for us to discount the possibility they will give in to the ancient temptation to diverge from the Anglo-Saxon world simply because they want to prove their independence.
Expect France to surprise for the sake of surprising, and no other reason.