Social division inevitable consequence of social media

By Ai Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2018/6/28 23:03:41

The globe is becoming chaotic and worldwide analysts are looking for reasons. Most agree one of the reasons is in the US.

"Is America headed toward a civil war?" The question has been raised by a number of US media members recently. After White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was kicked out of a restaurant in Virginia last week because she works for US President Donald Trump, a growing number of observers believe that US society is being ripped apart in an unprecedented way.

Anyone who is familiar with US politics can speak to the notion of "polarization." Liberal media are finding fault with Trump all day. Given a lack of bipartisan budgetary agreement, the constant threat of a government shutdown has become the norm. Aggression between Democrats and Republicans is getting increasingly fierce. And now, the smell of gunpowder is filling the air even between ordinary citizens with different political leanings.

These problems of US politics are inevitable due to the development of postmodern society and social media. A prominent phenomenon in postmodern society is enlarging social division. People in different social classes tend to care about their own problems and vested interests. The emergence of social media exacerbated such division, with everyone having an exclusive circle of friends to share similar opinions. Consensus among different circles is increasingly hard to reach. As a result, when it looks like public opinions are becoming more diversified, they are actually being polarized.

Social contradictions are thus aggravated, including the divisions between ordinary people and elites, liberals and conservatives, nationalists and globalists, white supremacists and multiculturalists. 

Being weighed down by a severely divided society, Washington can no longer bear its global responsibilities and has to focus on its civil strife, which is also influencing diplomacy and stirring up troubles in the world order.

For instance, Trump once signaled that a US missile strike on Syria was imminent, yet later tweeted "never said when an attack on Syria would take place." After the Singapore summit, he said "there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea," but only a few days later he declared that Pyongyang still poses an "extraordinary threat" to Washington. He is constantly changing his tone in the trade war against Beijing and has created many more pendulous policies, all of which come from division within the White House.

Due to its sharpening of domestic contradictions, US economic might is declining. Moreover, Washington has no intention of making its broad market available to its trading partners. Counter to its own interests, the US under Trump imposed tariffs on the EU, Canada and Japan, went its separate way on the Paris Agreement and Iran nuclear deal regardless of advice from its allies, leading the G7 to the most embarrassing moment since the group was formed.

Worse, the US will continue forward with its social disruptions. Some say Trump is not normal. Yet his abnormality is leading to a new norm - the US inflicting its schizophrenia upon the world.

Posted in: OBSERVER

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