Even before Donald Trump’s election victory it was becoming clear that we are living in an age of disintegration. Nation states are returning to relationships based on rivalry and friction when the trend was meant to be in the opposite direction. The internal unity of country after country is under stress or has already broken down. Governments and universities used to set up institutions to study greater integration and cooperation while in fact they might have been better looking at how things fall apart.
The phenomenon is most obvious in the wider Middle East where there are at least seven wars and three insurgencies raging in the swathe of countries between Pakistan and Nigeria. But in Europe and the US, foreign and domestic antagonisms are also becoming deeper and more venomous. In this more rancorous political landscape, the election of Donald Trump as US President feels like part of a trend, toxic and dangerous but wide-ranging and unstoppable. Distinct though the political and economic situation in the US, Europe and the Middle East may be in many respects, there is the same dissatisfaction or rejection of the status quo without much idea of what should be put in its place.