By Newt Gingrich
While much of the American media continues to focus on gossip, trivia, and hostility to President Donald Trump, some will actually cover the meeting in Hanoi between the President and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
However, if you pull back and look at the entire planet, you will see many things are changing across the globe. Because of the mainstream media’s myopic focus, we simply don’t have a very good understanding of what is happening abroad.
In fact, the world is perhaps more in flux now than any time since the end of World War II.
Consider some of the uncertainties building around the world.
In Venezuela, the dictator Nicolás Maduro may be able to survive and keep power with the support of Cuba, Russia, Iran, and China. This would be a blow to all the democratic countries that have publicly come out for his replacement. It would be a special blow to the prestige of President Trump and the United States if Maduro is still in power a year from now.
In France, the reform efforts of President Emmanuel Macron are floundering. His poll numbers are dramatically worse than President Trump’s. The populist Yellow Vests are constantly protesting, and the economy is failing to grow.
In Italy, the economy has shrunk for the last two quarters (what experts refer to as a “technical” recession). However, the strange coalition of populists, called the Five Star Movement, has found a nice target to distract local anger. The populists are picking a fight with Macron and siding with the Yellow Vests, which of course has infuriated the French president.
The European Union has refused to negotiate an easy exit for the United Kingdom because the Europeanists in Brussels are terrified that a successful and painless British departure from the Common Market might lead a number of other countries to follow. Italy and Hungary could be candidates for pulling out – or at least threatening to pull out as a negotiating device.
The result has been an incredibly frustrating, hard road for Prime Minister Theresa May – and there is a very grave danger that the system will melt down. The Irish Republic is adamant that the open border between Northern Ireland and the South will remain open. The Unionists in the North are equally committed to keeping the border with Great Britain open. It is hard to see how you can leave Europe but retain an open border. It is possible that this problem will lead to open hostilities in Northern Ireland for the first time in decades.
In Britain itself, the agonies of the Prime Minister’s Conservative Party are being matched by the increasingly bitter fight over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. American political problems begin to seem simple when you read the British press about their multi-party crisis.
In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has shocked virtually all of his American allies by forming an alliance with a fringe party – which is widely seen as racist and hateful. The upcoming Israeli elections may have more impact than anyone would have guessed six months ago.
In Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s modernizing initiative has been made dramatically harder by his apparent involvement in killing the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In his effort to rebalance his government, the Crown Prince has been visiting nearby countries and making seemingly affirmatory comments about human rights abuses – even Chinese concentration camps for Turkic Muslims (called Uighurs).
Pakistani-based terrorists killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police in Kashmir, and a dozen Indian jets bombed a terrorist training camp in Pakistan. Since both India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons – and both are under popular pressure to be tough with the other – the danger of a nuclear war may be greater on this front than any other.
The Catholic Church continues to wrestle with a deep crisis, and each week sadly brings more painful stories to light.
Russia remains in Crimea, and its proxy forces remain in eastern Ukraine – when it is not stirring up trouble with Ukraine in the Sea of Azov.
In Barcelona this week, the Chinese company Huawei will announce a dominant lead in implementing 5G technology worldwide. This is the most important information and communication breakthrough since the invention of the personal computer. While President Trump has tweeted about the need for American success in this area, the combination of bureaucratic old corporations, uncoordinated government, and blindness to the scale of the Chinese commitment has put America well behind in what may become the first great American defeat in the long struggle with China.
There are plenty more examples of how the system around the world is fraying, but this survey gives you a context in which to measure the childishness and lack of seriousness of most of the American news media.
Remember this the next time you see a supposed “bombshell” story about the President.