TPPR is now co-sponsor of a think tank start-up designed for what looks to be a new era in international relations - it is called Internationalist Future. The other co-sponsor is Mark Seddon, formerly communications adviser and speech writer for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, amongst his many other accomplishments. The purpose of the think tank is exactly what it says on the tin - or rather the holding page on the internet. It is a direct response to the rise of national populism but not from a position of simple opposition. We need to understand not berate.
We take Donald Trump and his coalition of communitarian conservatives, economic and social libertarians, traditionalists and nationalists very seriously. They and other national populists emerged for good reasons. We tend to the progressive side of the spectrum although the think tank itself is and will be non-partisan. We recognise that the system that we all took for granted until Brexit this last summer was ripe for a shock. Let's face it, it had failed at so many levels. Globalisation had created intractable problems which the old guard had simply refused to face.
By not facing them head on - above all, in the neglect of the cultural identity and economic pain of the working and middle classes in the homelands as liberal internationalism was spread around the world to create an increasingly wealthy international upper middle class - the liberal classes in the big cities, universities, NGOs, media and mainstream political parties were unwittingly creating space for righteous anger and resentment to find a home in the only place that was listening to it with respect, national populism. We take that anger and resentment as legitimate if ultimately misplaced.
So what should we do? Keep digging while in the hole? Believe, as the Democratic National Committee appears to, that it is just a matter of organisation and a better candidate - the 'one more heave' school of thought? Or engage in healthy self-criticism, deeper evidence-based analysis of the roots of populism and perhaps acceptance that the new boys in town have a point on some issues - the importance of the nation state as fire break against globalisation, that not everything is about money and that dialogue with international rivals is better than confrontation.
There is another factor neglected by old-style progressives and new-style right alike - the technological infrastructure that underpins politics and society. We are about to go into the next great cycle of technological innovation - not only artificial intelligence and automation but also areas such as nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, space research and countless other scientific and engineering developments that will have direct impacts on areas as diverse as social care, transport, education and, yes, international relations. You would not think so from listening to the political class.
Internationalist Future wants to think in terms of the evidence and of social complexity under a banner of some core values (peace, individual autonomy and the organic development of stable and fair societies for the welfare of all their members on equal terms) that combine the best of internationalism, liberalism and welfarism. If the right is right. admit it and do better! Where we are now is that we are open for business as far as founding sponsors and projects are concerned. We shall keep you up to date as best we can on the web site and on this blog.
It is only two weeks since the inauguration of Donald Trump.
Last Wednesday the Economic Research Council, a think tank which promotes education in and debate around economics, had its first talk of 2017
The conflict between President-Elect Donald Trump and the Western intelligence community is a struggle over the right conduct of international relations.