The US and the UK, the twin bastions of Western stability, are now a basket of political cases

Americans and Britons once proudly viewed political rebellions, government breakdowns, and self-defeating mistakes as eruptions of unstable states and immature political systems. No longer. And China and Russia couldn't be happier.

The embarrassing resignation of British Prime Minister Liz Truss after just 45 days in power on Thursday is just the latest government failure to destabilize the two major democracies on both sides of the Atlantic.

Britain has staggered from crisis to crisis in recent years in a way that has left allies who once viewed the country as an example of good governance bewildered at its own sacrifices. This comes as the United States, the global anchor of democracy and capitalism, has gone through its own attacks, including insurgency, and intensified attacks on free elections.

The two countries, which had saved the world for democracy in World War II, were left shaken by divided leaders, who often downplayed truth and facts and built a power base by fueling hatred of the vestiges of inequality that globalization brewed. These leaders ridicule experts, declare blood feuds with government agencies and civil service functionaries and often conjure up mythical visions of past glories with vows to make their country great again.

In the United States, Donald Trump's political rise has alienated his country internally, turning the world's most vital democracy against its allies and leaving behind a democratic decay in which Joe Biden's presidency may just be an interregnum. In Great Britain, the Brexit vote to leave the European Union led by Boris Johnson left the country untethered and poorer than ever, ushering in an era of political frenzy that would produce a fourth prime minister in about three years.

Despite their toxic legacy and a messy administration of lies, both Trump and Johnson are considering returning, pointing out that this wild period of rule-breaking and personality-driven populism is far from over and that more conventional leaders are still failing to satisfy voters and restore trust. in effective governance. The chaos in London and Washington had disastrous consequences. The health of Britain and the United States is very important to the entire Western way of life.

The self-destructive Western democracy will come at a time when it is under strong challenge from a powerful adversary. Russian President Vladimir Putin interfered in the 2016 US election in an attempt to devalue the prestige of the Western political model. While its own leadership has been disastrous exposed by the war in Ukraine, Russia can only benefit from attacks on the US electoral system and the incoherence of governance in Britain that undermines the brand of democracy around the world.

The crisis of confidence of the two major English-speaking democracies also comes as an increasingly powerful and aggressive China seeks to challenge the Western-led global order that was shaped after World War II. With President Xi Jinping expected to lock in an unprecedented third term in modern times in the next few days, Beijing is increasingly touting its ruthless brand of one-party capitalism as alternative models for open and democratic market economies in the West. Miscalculation shocks prime minister

This is the most remarkable feature of Truss' tenure at 10 Downing Street: he decided that an empire was at risk of breaking apart, facing winter inflation and the energy crisis caused by European wars and once-in-a-century pandemics, and it had just lost the only king it had ever lived. known to most of his subjects, did not require a period of stability.

His sudden new budget featuring massive tax cuts for the rich, with no plans to pay them, alarmed markets, dropped the pound, nearly destroyed the retirement industry and left homeowners facing huge increases in mortgage payments.

The move, perhaps Britain's most dangerous political gamble since the 1950s Suez Crisis, shattered London's reputation for sound financial management and sound governance and drew a rebuke from the International Monetary Fund. It reinforces Britain's confusing new image as a country locked in a repetitive cycle of self-harm.

Truss was forced to withdraw the scheme, and eventually resigned after several days in government but not in power. Conservative MPs – fearful of holding the general elections the country needs because they will be annihilated – must now choose two more candidates for prime minister to be included in the membership of the party, a small bloc of Britons far to the right of most of their compatriots. It's a hilarious spectacle that has now been exposed as a deeply undemocratic way to elect a prime minister who can change the course of the country for a dime – or 10 pence.

On the one hand, the Conservative prime minister's struggle to rule reflects some of the political dynamics in the United States. Just as the Republican Party is held hostage by a far-right radical base that has tarnished its reputation for wise governance, Conservative leaders tend to appease their own extreme radicals on the right – and their deep-seated hostility to the European Union in particular.

Liz Truss made a statement outside 10 Downing Street, London, where she announced her resignation as Prime Minister. Photo date: Thursday 20 October 2022. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images) Liz Truss' resignation leaves a party in tatters and the nation in despair.

At one time, Britons used to see Italy – with its notorious political instability, economic crisis and revolving door for a prime minister – as a joke. But now their country's unrestrained faction-based politics are being ridiculed. There is also great concern among allies who have been plagued by several uncertain years in which the London government has frequently attacked its partners.

French President Emmanuel Macron, weeks after Truss questioned whether he was a friend or foe of Britain, said he had one wish about political bloodshed in the English Channel.

"Personally, I'm always sad to see a colleague leave, but what I want is to see this stability return as soon as possible," Macron told reporters on Thursday. Ireland also expressed concern about how the disruption could affect its prospects after a period in which Truss threatened to trigger a trade war with Europe by tearing up the post-Brexit deal on Northern Ireland that the Conservative government had negotiated under Johnson.

"What's important as Britain's closest neighbour - we have significant economic ties and a lot of other relationships with the UK - I think stability is very important," said Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin. Prime Minister Liz Truss resigned on Tuesday.

What happened next after Liz Truss stepped down as UK prime minister?

It is often said that Truss faces the most difficult legacy of any British prime minister since Winston Churchill. His successor, who will be sworn in next week, will be made worse off by the chaos he has sparked in the shortest term of any prime minister in British history.

The question now is whether the new leader will be able to stabilize the country amid the prospect of a bleak winter due to soaring heating costs, raging inflation and widespread industrial strikes. Or will he plunge a shaken country into a political frenzy caused by the fanaticism and fratricide that tore apart the Conservative Party whose long period of rule saw him once considered the most successful political party in the world.

Biden cannot guarantee the future of democracy at home.

Biden's response to Truss's resignation was an aptly brief statement considering he has only met the outgoing prime minister officially once, has shown little concern for his style of government and hostility to his Irish ancestral home and is now gearing up for a third British leader. from his presidency.

"The United States and Britain are strong Allies and eternal friends - and that fact will never change," Biden said in a written statement.

While Trump is instigating Brexit and delighting in London's feud with the European Union under the Conservatives, the White House Biden and Obama regard the political frenzy that has swept Britain – and the consequent reduction of the global diplomatic weight of America's special relations partners – with some disappointment. Obama stirred up major controversy when he warned during a visit to London that Britain would go "behind the queue" for a trade deal with the US if it left the European Union. His comments may have angered pro-Brexit leaders but they are true.

To the question of who the US calls when it comes to talking to Europe (a perhaps apocryphal comment often attributed to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger) the answer is that 10 Downing Street is no longer at the height of the White House speed dial. While the U.S. and U.K. still barely get closer on military and intelligence matters, Washington – at least when Trump walked out of the Oval Office – long viewed former German Chancellor Angela Merkel as its most important European leader. Now that he is retired, Macron is the main point of contact. Biden sent an unmistakable signal about the newly re-elected French leader's global role with an invitation to his first state dinner in December. Both leaders have publicly warned of threats to global and western democracies. Macron beat a challenge from far-right leader Marine Le Pen in winning re-election this year, but his party's influence has only grown. Macron told CNN's Jake Tapper in an interview last month, "I think we have a big democratic crisis, which I call liberal democracy."

He added: "I believe America is at an inflection point - one of those moments that defines the shape of everything that is to come."

But this midterm election only emphasizes the dangers ahead. A number of deniers of the 2020 election are running as Republican candidates. The former President's lies have convinced millions that the country's elections were corrupt. The "Make America Great Again" movement is more tied to its leader's cult of authoritarian personality than ever as Trump considers running for a new presidential term that is likely to tear the foundations of democratic government apart more than the former.

While it is possible to mistakenly argue that British democracy managed to quickly dispatch a failed leader in Truss, Trump has been impeached twice, faces multiple legal challenges and is still a viable political figure with a real chance of returning to power. This is why when Biden tells foreign leaders that “America is back,” many of them clearly wonder how long.

While leaders rise and fall, the enduring strength of the political systems in the US and UK is their stability, ordered transfer of power and their ability to foster conditions in which capitalism can thrive and people can move up the income ladder.

On both sides of the Atlantic, this foundation is now in doubt.

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