Global peace uncertain with Trump's ascension, says historian

Global peace uncertain with Trump's ascension, says historian
The overall global peace with absence of conflict between states since world war is now more precarious than ever with the ascension of Donald Trump as the American president, noted British historian David Armitage said today. At a session of the ongoing Jaipur literature Festival, the Harvard professor was discussing the history of civil wars and its changing form.

But the spectre of the new US President, whom Armitage referred to only as "the one who can't be named" in an apparent allusion to Lord Voldemort, the prime villain of the 'Harry Potter series', kept looming large. "Someone, whose name I still cannot use with the word President will soon receive the nuclear codes... His instability, trigger-happiness, and willingness to set the US against the world means the period of long peace is set to end. I am fearful that we may return to a world where conflict between states might return," he said.

He said the American citizens were in a very "uncertain territory" with Trump's inauguration and that the new President was a sign of a "declining power". Armitage also warned that extreme polarisation among political lines is now becoming an increasingly "frightening" feature of contemporary politics. The language of civil war, he said, is being used increasingly in relations with partisanship, and battles between political groups around the world in contemporary politics.

"So civil war is not something that happens far away. In our age of extremes, civil war is returning to even peaceful communities, peaceful states and politics. "Divisions between political counterparts seem to become ever deeper. Violence seems to lie increasingly just beneath the surface, and often break out into the open as is often encouraged by the people like the current President of the United States.

"Political differences mean that those who should be our interlocutors are becoming enemies to fight, perhaps even to the death. Polarisation is a very frightening feature of contemporary politics," he said. During the session, Armitage took the audience on a whirlwind tour of civil wars, from its origins in first century Rome to the current crises in Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen.

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