So, I’ve watched just about all of the Brexit Party rallies on YouTube, as well as many media pieces covering the party’s campaign. A couple of things have struck me. Firstly, the Brexit Party has really high calibre candidates. Secondly, and more interestingly, Donald Trump is *very* popular amongst your average leave-supporting Brit. His name always gets a hearty cheer from the crowds, and when the media interviews a bunch of Brexit Party rank-and-file, they uniformly profess their admiration for Trump when asked about him.
This is a really interesting phenomenon. Trump seems to be the most internationally popular GOP President in recent memory. And more consequential than Obama – foreigners liked Obama for the style, but they like Trump for the substance. They like his blunt America First approach – they want their leaders to unapologetically put their countries first, too.
I was listening to a podcast not so long ago about the rise of nationalist sentiment in the Middle East. Not the hackneyed pan-Arab nationalism of the Cold War, but Saudis who want Saudi Arabia First and Egyptians who want Egypt First and so on. This is a phenomenon largely overlooked or misunderstood by Western commentators. Who are the sworn enemies of the ME nationalists? The Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist organisations! Nationalists (correctly) view the objectives of the MB to be at odds with their own. They don’t want their countries subsumed to some Islamist caliphate. The Saudi people were, by and large, not particularly concerned about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, for example. Khashoggi was a MB stooge, after all, and that’s what comes to such people.
This new form of ME nationalism explains the popularity of leaders like President Sisi and MbS. It explains a willingness to establish friendlier ties with Israel, which is increasingly regarded as a reliable and necessary partner in the showdown with Iran that’s likely to come.
Trump is also popular in the ME with the nationalists there. They like his America First rhetoric and stances, as they want the same for their own countries. Trump is also popular in Eastern Europe, and I suspect in other parts of the world where nationalist pride is surging and the globalist agenda and its assorted organisations are being rejected. No wonder Brexiteers are fond of Trump.