These leaders would sit on the UN Security Council in 2017

If people in France vote for Marine Le Pen

Cartoon made by Xavier Salvador

It is a fact that the world we live in 2016 is not the same we lived in 2008, only eight years ago. Then, the economy was growing like never before, banks and trustfunds were inflating a very profitable bubble all over the planet and it wasn’t until the end of that year that crisis struck. The Western World started to tremble not long after that.

It is true that in 2008, George W. Bush had still boots on the ground in Irak and Afghanistan, that Vladimir Putin was leading a war in South Ossetia and Hu Hintao would violently repress dissidents before the Pekin Summer Olympics. But at least in the West, the perception of the future was good. In 2011, Arab Springs showed that the Internet was a powerful tool for protest and it brought some weeks of hope in the Middle Eastern and Northern Africa regions. That same year, President Barack Obama was starting to bring back the troops home.

Of course, we were wrong to think the future would continue to be as shiny as a sunny day. The economic breakdown in the US and Europe, the Syrian Civil War were just the chance for ultra right-wing characters to take control of the situation.

Indeed, 2016 can be seen as the end of the 20th Century: Fidel Castro’s death on the last days of November and the Peace Treaty in Colombia seem to be the last nails to close its coffin.

And that’s why Professor Oliver Stuenkel of the Getúlio Vargas Foundation in Sao Paulo (Brazil), and author of ‘Post-Western World’, had something to remind us on november 11th, 2016.

Source: Twitter

Donald Trump, Theresa May, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and… Marine Le Pen (?) or the so called “Populist Club”. Four of them are already leaders on their countries — the five victors of the Second World War — and those with veto power on the UN Secutity Council’s resolutions.

1- Donald Trump: The new kid in town. The media tycoon, TV Reality Show host and elected president of the USA is clearly a character. Not only the Trump Tapes, but also the promise of building a wall between Mexico and the US. He promised to “Make America Great Again”, a simple yet powerful message to workers on the Rust Belt. Trump is an isolationist, like Wilson and Roosevelt before him — only they were not known for being pricks — and has even critisized the UN. “The United Nations is not a friend of democracy,” Mr Trump said in March. “It’s not a friend even to the United States of America, where as we all know, it has its home.”

2- Theresa May: Became Prime Minister of the UK after the Brexit and David Cameron’s dimission. She’s the leader of the Conservative Party and outlines herself as a new Margaret Thatcher. May has always insisted that "Brexit is Brexit" and there will be no second referendum on the subject. She has announced the official talks on exiting the European Union in March 2017, but weeks ago the British High Court stated that the government needs Parliament's support to invoke it, so the process may take longer. As part of "Hard Brexit", May has said that she doesn’t want to continue in the single market nor accept the free movement of people. "We have voted to leave the European Union and become a fully-independent, sovereign country. We will do what independent, sovereign countries do. We will decide for ourselves how we control immigration. And we will be free to pass our own laws", May said on her first speech as Prime Minister.

3- Vladimir Putin: In a country traditionally led by authoritarian leaders, the former KGB agent has been in power since 2000. Among his most recent acts, he has ordered Russia to leave the International Criminal Court, one of the main organs of the UN. Its military forces supported the Assad government against the rebels and against Daesh — the so-called Islamic State — in the long and complex Syrian Civil War. Russia’s presence in resolving the conflict is vital, as the United States has supported rebel groups against the Assad government. Trump has nevertheless expressed his sympathy for the Russian leader, and has been called “Putin’s puppet” by Hillary Clinton.

4- Xi Jinping: Perhaps the least known of the five in the Western countries. The Chinese Communist Party’s Chairman since 2013 has increasingly gathered power over him in strategic sectors such as industry and state security. In September Xi had a meeting with the head of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, to strengthen trade and security ties. At that meeting, Patrushev said that “closer communication between China and Russia is a factor of stability at the international level.” This is a new approach between two countries with models of communism that rivaled each other during the Cold War.

5- Marine Le Pen: Le pen would complete the “club” if she’s elected in France in the upcoming 2017 elections. In a year in which the unexpected has occurred and international politics seems to be turning to the far right — Brexit and Trump’s election broke with all the polls — this choice might not be surprising. Le Pen, daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen and leader of the “Front National”, is a favorite to the ballotage in April. If she wins, she has promised to initiate a referendum process similar to Brexit. France, which has suffered from several attacks — among them the Bataclan massacre on November 13, 2015 — maintains a State of Emergency that has the population under alert, and has given Le Pen an opportunity to jump in the polls. Following the departure of Sarkozy from the presidential race, Le Pen could face François Fillon (right winged) or former Prime Minister Manuel Valls, if he wins the left primary elections. But as the campaign progresses, nothing is said yet.