I am not someone who easily sings the praises of France. Cocorico is not my style. However, on a recent trip to Paris I was most pleasantly surprised in two of my favorite haunts.
Security is a major if not the major topic of conversation in Geneva. Citizens are worried about their basic safety, from unexplained violence to robberies to excessive noise. Security will certainly be a major item in the forthcoming cantonal elections. Newspaper headlines scream that Geneva has become the Bronx, although as a resident of the Bronx, I find this comparison outdated and imprecise. Is it reasonable to compare a canton of 400,000 people with a borough of approximately 1,500,000?
There is another comparison that crops up that I find equally disturbing. Rudy Giuliani, the Mayor of New York from 1994-2002, is often credited for cracking down on crime in New York City.
Globalization and the Internet appear to have made the world a smaller place. Planes easily take us to faraway places in a matter of hours; a tap of the computer keys puts us in contact with people thousands of kilometers away. Technically, the world has become more interconnected.
But is this really so?
The stunning results of Oskar Freysinger in the recent election in Valais, the surprising showing of Team Stronach in Austria, the Tea Party in the United States, and the unexpected success of the Five Star Movement of Beppe Grillo in Italy point to a recent populist emergence. While the causes of this emergence are not difficult to elaborate – high rates of unemployment, lack of leadership at the local, national and international levels, poor economic results, growing insecurity – the very nature of populism is not easy to describe.