Some Thoughts Worth Considering from Fiona Hill

The title of this article is not helpful, but some of the thoughts and experiences of a smart lady are worth considering. From The Guardian: Trump thought I was a secretary’: Fiona Hill on the president, Putin and populism. Some excerpts:

It’s a story really about how the US, UK and Russia have all ended up in the same spot weirdly, not just in terms of Covid-19 but also populist politics and many of the same out-of-control inequalities,” Hill said.

In her view populist governments are useless at handling complex problems of governance, almost by definition. If leaders are fit to govern, they generally don’t need populism to get elected.

“It’s all about style and swagger and atmospherics, with superficial solutions to things, with lots of sloganeering, and obviously dealing with a pandemic is pretty methodical and boring. It requires an awful lot of planning and logistical organization and you can’t just sort of do it on the fly with an ad hoc coalition.”

What interests Hill is how the three such different countries end up in the same boat, run by populists and significantly less able to cope with a pandemic than their neighbours. She believes the critical common factor is the heady rise, and then the catastrophic collapse, of heavy industry and the failure of their governments to manage the fall and cushion the impact on their people.

It is a story she feels destined to tell, as a child of deindustrialisation, growing up poor in the Durham town of Bishop Auckland at the time its mines and steelworks were closing down, destroying jobs, communities and shared identities.

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