The white middle class feels like the biggest victim of globalization
Originally appeared at A-specto, translated by Borislav exclusively for SouthFront
Desislava Pateva interviews Ivo Hristov, PhD in Sociology of Law at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski “. Associate Professor in the Department of “Applied and Institutional Sociology” in the philosophical-historical faculty of the Plovdiv University “Paisius of Hilendar”.
Assoc. Prof. Hristov, Donald Trump prevailed in the battle for the White House. However, like the outcome of the first round of presidential elections in Bulgaria, this outcome came as a surprise to many people …
Personally, I was surprised. I admit. I did not expect that Trump would win so emphatically. I thought the whole financial and economic system, the system of oligarchic elites in the US, will obstruct his path to power. But apparently America is an unpredictable country, and the systemic problems in the US are monstrous. There are tectonic social processes at play that are yet to be observed.
Can we say that this is a protest vote against the status quo, that people voted primarily against Hillary Clinton?
It’s very complicated. There is also such a motive, but there are other motives. Another case entirely is the question of whether Trump is the man for the job, and whether the forces behind him will be able to solve these problems, or if they are part of the problem. But that there are deep divisions within the American elite is more than obvious.
To what do you attribute the fact that Americans voted confidence in a man who is not tied to politics and has even been criticized for not having the experience to take this post? What were the main reasons which tore down Hillary Clinton?
I attribute it to the fact that there is total disgust for the ruling oligarchic elite in the US. In this sense, anyone who is presented as a non systemic player has chances to win. Sure, Trump is not actually a non systemic player. We should have no illusions about this. But his whole image was presented as such to the audience. This is one of the decisive causes for his success. The entire American elite is deeply disconnected with huge parts of American society. Every part of society has its own reasons – there are problems with the Black population in the country, and with the Latinos. There are fundamental problems with the white middle class, which feels the biggest victim of globalization. So all this combined is a cause for the results we see.
I do not know whether in America they realized this, but the elites who stood behind Hillary Clinton, aimed to solve the systemic problems of America, actually the systemic problems of the global financial oligarchy, through military conflicts that could lead the country and the world to destruction in the literal sense. This should also be kept in mind when commenting on this choice. Hillary is part of the status quo, and more specifically from the hated status quo in the US. She represents exactly those in the American establishment who so far dictated the rules of the game. Actually, it was naive to think that Obama would fulfill the promises he had made. But many people in the US voted for him thinking that he will make what Trump promises now. The problem for Obama is that he was a representative of those who actually created the problems in the first place. He was part of the problem rather than part of the solution. Will Trump solve them is quite another matter, but that there will be a great change in American domestic and foreign policy is more than obvious.
Trump suggested that he can warm up relations with Russia. Could this happen? The impression is that the Russian president looks sideways at the businessman, although Trump likes to mention that Putin likes him.
Putin views Trump with some suspicion. It would be good to warm up relations since America has geopolitical and militarily problems. Coming into conflict with Russia, and potentially with China has accelerated the systemic crisis of global hegemon. For smart people, those who are aware of things, it is clear that the time of the US as a world empire has passed. The problem now is how to descent from that position without doing so at the expense of the country’s existence and the existence of the global security system. There are two ways for this to happen – a collapse, and a reasonable dismantling and disbanding of any other controlled system.
How do you explain the fact that the majority of Americans voted for Trump, even though he was presented as sexist and xenophobic? Does this mean that all this tolerance, this liberal thinking, which America boasts it is all about is completely devoid of content?
It’s obvious! Black unrest at every murder of a black man by an American cop, show clearly that the country is standing on a volcano of mutual racial and social hatred. On the one hand, for hundreds of years we keep talking about problems with the negro minority in the US related to its integration. To be perfectly honest, this very minority is guilty for this, as it is not making any particular efforts for its integration. But on the other hand it is clear that the whole social system does not give them a chance to integrate. Generally they are treated like the gypsies are in our country. I do not know if you know, but over 40% of children in America receive coupons for school meals. This indicates severe social problems. Problems of social segregation, problems of social deskilling, etc. All this is covered up with talk of tolerance. In fact, multiculturalism and pseudo-liberal tolerance conceal the lack of such, and replaces them with empty talk.
Can we expect a ripening of internal conflicts in the US because of this social division?
Oh yeah. The respected American sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein talks about a cruel systemic crisis on the horizon for American society somewhere in 2025-2030. I think it is not far from the truth.
How do you expect the situation regarding the Middle East to develop?
I can not predict, but what is needed is some sort of agreement with the main geopolitical players in the region. In first place Russia and Israel. Of course, the interests of big local forces must be taken into account as well. The whole strategy of controlled chaos that was imposed by the United States in the Middle East produced the destruction of the nation state in the region, a fierce internal war, and an orchestrated migrant flows towards Europe, the supposed geopolitical ally that is actually treated like a rival. All this ultimately shows that the strategists of controlled chaos can no longer manage the processes. This is a strategy that was set up in about 2001-2002, and we currently reap its negative results. Obviously, the approach needs to change.