Published on: August 25, 2017
After a Chaotic Decade
The West Needs a Strategy

A decade of setbacks for the West abroad and at home point to the urgent need for coordinated and coherent strategic thinking.

Andrew A. Michta is the dean of the College of International and Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. Views expressed here are his own.
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  • Angel Martin

    Everything the author says is true. But the call for a new USA-euro foreign policy vision and grand strategy sounds ludicrously implausible.

    It reminds me of the high minded and unrealistic ambitions the EU had for itself before the financial crisis. They were going to be the world’s technological and economic leader, as well as its “moral superpower”… etc. etc.

    The EU should have been focused on structuring itself to avoid near-disintegration in the next economic downturn.

    I suggest that instead of the implementation of any grand strategy, there are many political entities like the USA, Canada, UK, EU, Spain, Italy… that themselves face political disintegration in the next big economic downturn.

    Every previous Depression has produced a sharp closure in trade, investment flows and migration.

    Any future economic downturn even close to the 1930’s will produce an economic fight to the death between the economic beneficiaries of globalism and economic openness, and nationalist and protectionist forces.

    Divisions of that magnitude are capable of blowing up states as strong as the USA, as well as weak, divided entities like Canada, Italy, Belgium, Spain, the EU…

    Forget the grand strategy until you have a plan to save the furniture.

    • Gary Hemminger

      Completely agree with you here Martin. These elites creating these articles stating the answers to our problems are things that will never occur is not going to solve any of our problems. And what did they expect as the US loses power relative to other countries? It was the fact that we had so much power that allowed us to basically get others to agree on these strategies. These same people who are now saying we should have common agreements were probably the folks railing against our power in the past.

      But I don’t see political disintegration as long as there are at least 40% of the people that are reasonable. 30% of the people in the US are idiot progressives. 30% are whacko right wingers. As long as we get them to fight it out and the 40% of us that have actual brains and reasonable thoughts, we should be okay.

      • Angel Martin

        I wish the USA luck and I hope you are right.

        As “Anthony” is quick to remind everyone I am up here in Canada. I have had a front row seat to observe how economic change strengthens and weakens Quebec separatism.

        The danger for the US is that competing priorities on economic openness reinforce political divisions. That was not true 20-30 years ago.

        What seem like political fringe movements like CA separation could become a reality if a future Depression leads to economic closure on trade, investment and immigration.

        Port and coastal cities are disproportionally hurt by economic closure. And the economic case for political independence becomes much stronger.

      • Pete

        So, Gary, you’re one of te ones with ‘brains’?

  • FriendlyGoat

    We in the USA have chosen a grand strategy: Reject anything to which the term “politically correct” was ever applied, whether subjects at home or subjects abroad. Question whether “human rights” is even a worthy goal wherever such might find itself in conflict with any religious dogma. Declare America First to the world while dividing that same America into irreconcilable factions on nearly all matters. Elect a celebrity leader who raises doubts from nearly every serious constituency on earth. Flip-flop a lot. Tweet more. Maybe this fall, we’ll try “ruin confidence in America’s national credit” as a cherry on top.

    • Gary Hemminger

      FriendlyGoat…this was a problem way before Trump came into office. I would say that the main driver of the problems in the west are the vast difference between what the elites and progressives think is the answer to all of our problems and what conservatives think are the right answers. You can argue that the conservatives are the idiots (I am sure you would argue that) but the fact is that if the west continues to be divided 50/50 between those that want open borders and those that want to build walls; 50/50 between those that want to drive everything based on identity politics and those that don’t; 50/50 between those that believe in global warming and those that don’t; and 50/50 pretty much on all the main ideological flash points; then there is little chance of any strategic agreements either internally or externally. You can count on more internal and external strife. either one side must win the war and kill all of the other sides ideology, or someone that is actually a leader needs to lead us into realizing that all of these ideological flash points are idiotic and not important in the smooth functioning of our society. that is what I would argue.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Okay. I won’t fight you on that, except to point out that the chances of one side winning the “war” and killing the other side’s ideologies are slim to none in America. Some conservatives (not necessarily you) believe such has already occurred, of course, because they flipped the electoral college on less than a tenth of one percent of all American voters. So, they are implementing the “grand strategy” they prefer for the time being with as much winner-take-all as political structure can provide. It is the answer to TAI’s article question. We HAVE a grand strategy. We are speaking it to ourselves and the world daily. It disses “political correctness” and is relatively silent on “human rights”. It does not appear to particularly highlight “Us and Europe Together” against other forces. And, we have (IMHO) a good chance of raising doubts again this fall about the full faith and credit of the USA.

        • Isaiah6020

          “It disses “political correctness”
          What the hell does that even mean? Anyone? A little help. I’ve always tested really well on verbal sections of standardized tests, but my reading comprehension skills are failing me. Is that one of those terms that means anything to the right of extreme doctrinate Leftism? Sure sounds like it.

          • DiogenesDespairs

            One quick working definition: Anything that has been vigorously promoted by The Village Voice. Logical consistency is not a requirement. The aptness of this rule of thumb suggests we are dealing with mental or emotional issues more than with political or even philosophical ones.

          • D4x

            Dude: take it up with the “Unregistered Words Committee”, dead white guys in the Scriptorium, might be Political Correctitude.
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9ab360ce4e8fbf725ddb6967af42891574826f5b5fa140f2fce4db3cd1f07ed4.jpg
            James Murray in the Scriptorium at Banbury Road
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_English_Dictionary

            Oxford English Dictionary was the idea hatched by the “Unregistered Words Committee” in June, 1857.

            political correctness (also political correctitude)
            noun [mass noun]

            “The avoidance of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize,
            or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.”

            https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/political_correctness

            “Word of the Year 2016 is…

            After much discussion, debate, and research, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is post-truth –
            an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less
            influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’.”

            https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/word-of-the-year/word-of-the-year-2016

            Always more fun to read the comments first. Next up: FG

          • Jim__L

            It = grand strategy, in this case.

            This grand strategy “disses” political correctness by advocating freedom of speech, and advocates human rights by protecting freedom of conscience.

            I actually in favor of reducing the “winner-take-all” character of our national government, but comrade FG would probably object to the severe reductions in Federal power and scope that this reduction would require.

        • D4x
          • Jim__L

            OK, can anyone tell me how we’re supposed to fight stereotyping, if Democrats are pushing Identity Politics — which is just stereotyping yourself?

            Honestly, it’s not so much a political philosophy as an artifact of market segmentation, gone horribly pathological.

          • D4x

            My reply to you at Willick’s post on “Libertarians go the alt-right”, applies more seriously to your question here, which I failed to see first. Cluster segmentation is the specialty of Claritas, which has been used by retailers, advertisers, and political parties since the 1990’s.

            Individuals like us cannot do what POTUS Trump is doing. The available data, as used by Claritas, offers thematic language for speeches, rallies, Tweets. I am seeing the Ben-Rhodes ‘echo chamber’ being replaced by his replacement on the NSC, Michael Anton, deploying serious voices like Victor Davis Hanson and WaPo’s David Ignatius, and the NY Post. The Monument War seems to be working on exposing the extremism of Identity Politics, and the futility of the DNC doubling down on Identity.

            It’s interesting that I dot-connected Oceania’s Newspeak from Orwell’s “1984” on August 14, two days after Charlottesville! Two weeks later, there is now a chorus of pundits making the same point.

            Guess we have to wait until September 13, 2017, to see what effect the Monument War! has on primaries for Mayor in NYC, and Nov. 7 for the results in a lot more elections, including Governor (VA & NJ), and mayor (New Orleans, Atlanta, Charlotte, NC):

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_elections,_2017

            As for foreign policy echo chambers? I am keeping my eye on the Wilson Center, which is the Monument I want to see “erased”, or, at least, exposed, and de-constructed.

            https://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/support-the-wilson-center-every-amazon-purchase
            Support the Wilson Center With Every Amazon Purchase!
             Jun 1, 2017

            If you shop online, the chances are you shop on Amazon. The retailer accounts for more than half of all
            internet-based sales in the United States – amounting to nearly $140 billion last year. What if you could give
            some of that money to a noble cause with just a click of the mouse?

            Now, thanks to the AmazonSmile program, you can support the Wilson Center’s crucial research
            with every purchase you make! It’s fast, it’s free, and it’s a way to help us make sense of today’s
            most pressing security and foreign policy issues – automatically!

            Simply visit http://www.wilsoncenter.org/amazonsmile and set
            “Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars” as your organization of
            choice. Use the smile web address every time you shop and Amazon will donate
            0.5% of the price of your purchases to the Center, at no cost to you.

            SUPPORT the Wilson Center with every Amazon purchase.
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d80f1627882c812301031e1947092324eb516658044596c6bbedd20ed3a5d632.png

            Adding, some more context on cluster segmentation and TeamTrump. Based on how Kushner’s team used micro-data during the election, my bet is they used Claritas data, probably through the RNC database. Claritas had long been using ESRI’s geo-mapping of U.S. Census data since at least the 2000 Census. The 2010 Census had a lot more detail.

            “…”We played Moneyball, asking ourselves which states will get the best ROI for the electoral vote,” Kushner says. “I asked, How can we get Trump’s message to that consumer for the least amount of cost?” …

            This wasn’t a completely raw startup. Kushner’s crew was able to tap into the Republican National Committee’s data machine, and it hired targeting partners like Cambridge Analytica to map voter universes and identify
            which parts of the Trump platform mattered most: trade, immigration or change.
            Tools like Deep Root drove the scaled-back TV ad spending by identifying shows
            popular with specific voter blocks in specific regions–say, NCIS for anti-ObamaCare voters
            or The Walking Dead for people worried about immigration.
            Kushner built a custom geo-location tool that plotted the location density of
            about 20 voter types over a live Google Maps interface. …”
            https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2016/11/22/exclusive-interview-how-jared-kushner-won-trump-the-white-house/print/

            Which makes it all the more interesting that The Carlyle Group bought Claritas from Nielsen on January 5, 2017:
            https://www.carlyle.com/media-room/news-release-archive/carlyle-group-completes-acquisition-claritas-Nielsen
            Time to “mow the lawn”, for real 🙂

          • Jim__L

            Interesting that Amazon is aligned with Wilson.

            Interesting that the Walking Dead is popular among people who fear being overwhelmed by immigrants.

            The rest is a lot to digest.

          • D4x

            Thank you for reading my dot-connecting . I read somewhere else that AmazonSmile uses SPLC criteria to determine which non-profit ‘qualifies’ as “your organization of choice”. The Wilson Center (TWC) is a non-profit, but I thought it off-putting that every page had that pop-up at the bottom of the screen, especially as I was seeing the web of people influenced by TWC narratives, and Amazon’s Bezos also owns WaPo, and now, Whole Foods.

            Anyway, every time I read a pundit calling for a “strategy”, I see code for “we need more think-tank papers, symposia, Congressional testimony before POTUS can make a decision on anything”.

            “The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.”
            Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

          • D4x

            Someone else is going to be keeping an eye on The Wilson Center, from the inside: August 30, 2017: “The President intends to appoint Frederic Malek of Virginia to be a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in the Smithsonian Institution and to designate him as Chair.”

            https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/08/30/president-donald-j-trump-announces-his-intent-appoint-frederic-malek

            Fred Malek has the skill-sets to digest whatever he finds: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Malek
            Malek is also the founder of American Action Network:
            “Mission: Our primary goal is to put center-right ideas into action by engaging the hearts and minds of the American people and spurring them into active participation in our democracy.”
            http://americanactionnetwork.org/about-aan/
            Not aligned with AmazonSmile. 🙂

    • Isaiah6020

      “we’ll try “ruin confidence in America’s national credit” as a cherry on top.”
      Please note how all of this memory holes all those government shutdowns of the Obama years. Was it blamed on Obama by Comrade FriendlyGoat? Of course not. Not to sound cliche, but this blatant disregard of other people’s intelligence is why Trump won.

  • JamesDrouin

    “The West Needs a Strategy”

    It has one; it’s called “Make America Great Again” in the US and the strategy is to lift liberals out of the diseased mental condition they’ve mired themselves in.

    And it may involve killing a lot of Muslim terrorists until they learn that actions have consequences.

  • Adrian Howard-Jones

    A little over half a century ago, Western Europe was well on the road to recovery from the devastation wreaked by WWII.
    The United States had come through the war years with a strengthened industrial base.
    In Britain the industrial base covered almost every niche in manufacturing from ships, to cars, planes, trains, electronics, computers, clothing, shoes, pottery and porcelain, furniture, iron and steel, coal and so on. A visit to the shops in Britain was then likely to fill the shopping basket with exclusively British manufactured goods augmented to some extent by meat, fruit and vegetables from the British Commonwealth.
    The industries provided employment to a large part of the population and were supported by a widely distributed base of skills and technical competences. At school I was to learn the geography of the British Isles in terms of the different principal economic activity of each city or region. It was a time in which some of the barriers of the British class system were being eroded.

    What happened since? Were we invaded and conquered? No! Were we nuked? No, but none-the-less, almost all these industries have become greatly reduced or have disappeared altogether from Britain. It was unimaginable then that so much productive industry could simply disappear. However, we followed an economic path which was rich in philosophic idealism but light in systemic analysis. The result was that we exported most of our productive industries to other parts of the world without giving a second thought to the impact on our own working population, or to the effect upon our own national balance of payments.

    Britain has evolved into an advanced society; a fairer society with improved access to health care, education, social protections, opportunities, and a general improvement in living standards. But advanced societies have high internal overhead costs. It is an unavoidable consequence that costs associated with employing a worker in an advanced society will always be greater than in a less developed region. In an advanced society all citizens have an overhead cost to the state, whether they are in productive employment or not, but an employer has to bear the full cost for those that he employs, and indirectly some of the cost of those that he does not. This creates a conflict between the national interest, which is to maximize the productive output of the whole national workforce, and the interest of the private employer which is to minimize the cost of his workforce. The employer can avoid the ‘advanced society’ cost overheads, very effectively by transferring manufacturing internationally to a less advanced society. This serves to enrich the employer at the expense of some of his own fellow citizens and the national interest.

    It was explained to my children’s generation in school that we were progressing into a ‘post industrial age’. This was of course an absurd misconception. Global manufacturing volumes have increased steadily over the intervening years, and there is nothing ‘post industrial’ about our thirst for manufactured goods. The only problem is that the UK no longer makes them, and we live now with an ever increasing deficit in the national balance of trade. And we have stranded cities that were built around industries that have now long since departed, and for which no continuing economic purpose still exists.

    Much of what I have written about the British experience is just as true for the USA, and to varying degrees for most of the rest of the ‘West’.

    Given the extent of devastation of ‘Western’ industry, it is not surprising that a large part of the population has become disaffected with the traditional political parties. In Britain we have Brexit, which looks dangerously like an attempt at economic suicide, and a generation of politicians made up of opportunists, rogues and fools. In the USA you have Donald Trump.

    It used to be assumed that in the land of the blind, the one eyed man would chosen as king. However, our democratic political processes no longer seem to be concerned to find those best fitted by virtue of knowledge, training, experience, wisdom, and forbearance. In this world of social media and electronic communications politicians are as likely to be selected for their entertainment value as for any other attribute. The result is a parliament filled largely with political sheep.

    The article speaks eloquently for need for ‘strategic dialogue’ but dialogue in itself is not enough. Dialogue is valuable when supported by creative ideas, information, and systemic analysis. Where can we find the institutions with a broad enough remit, or the politicians capable of formulating the philosophy and guiding principles for the appropriate strategies? We have been in a political drift for years, who can pull us out of it?

    Modern society and its operation are highly complex.

    In the UK, the Brexit referendum was not a fine example of democracy at work, it was an abrogation of responsibility by our political leadership. If the questions involved were too complex for our politicians to comprehend fully, what chance did ‘joe’ public stand? Our supposed democratic choice for Brexit is based upon the votes of less than 3/8 of the British electorate, none of whom had any clear idea what they could hope for. A low point in British politics was reached when an eminent Conservative politician advised voters not to listen to the opinion of experts but instead to go with their gut instinct. Even today, over a year after the referendum, our Prime-minister and leading politicians still have no idea what precisely Brexit is, or how it can be made to work.

    Trump and Brexit appear to be tragic aberrations in the political process. But the problems within our societies are real enough, and were really very obvious. Trump and Brexit have filled a space left vacant by the main political parties. Neither Trump nor Brexit stand any real chance of improving the lot of displaced industrial workers, but politics does need realignment to focus on developing a more inclusive understanding of the wider interest of the whole nation. This wider interest differs in many respects from the individual interest, or the corporate interest.

    We live in an exciting era in which access to knowledge and information is easier than any time before in history. However, we have very serious new considerations for which political leadership is required. Global warming is not a small problem, nor is global resource depletion. What Science tells us clearly that we cannot continue on a path of ever increasing consumption for very much longer, if the continuance of mankind is not to be brought into question.

    We need a new politics that stops seeking growth without limit. We need to reduce energy demands, recycle more effectively, reduce long distance transport, reduce waste contamination of the environment. We need to test many of the assumptions with which we have lived for many years. We need to rethink globalization. Aside from causing social dislocation within developed nations, globalization increases global consumption and has other associated environmental dis-benefits.

  • ვეფხისტყაოსანი

    Strategy is secondary to ideology. Since the American Left (and much of the Right) and the European Left and Center (and much of the Right) are unwilling to acknowledge that Islam has something to do with terrorism and that there might be any conceivable downside to the current open-borders regimes operating East of Hawaii and West of the Urals, no strategy is going to be forthcoming.

    Moreover, none of our politicians are remotely intelligent or wise enough accurately to predict — much less deal with — the coming technological and climate (if they ever manifest themselves) disruptions.

    • Angel Martin

      We are fortunate that “climate change” is a pseudo-menace.

      Because there is no way these jokers could actually organize and implement an effective strategy.

  • Ace 1

    “The United States and Europe both face a combination of internal political pressures and external threats of a magnitude not seen since the Cold War” Of course the West ( UK and USA) will make up threats when required ,such as WMD’s , in order to attack and / or invade another country that poses no threat at all to the West or the USA. This lame brain of a writer must be paid by one of the think tanks or the MIC to put forth continued aggression (strategic response) based on exaggeration and / or untruths to rule the citizens by fear and flag.

  • Bankotsu

    I think it’s better for U.S. and EU elites to focus on domestic issues instead of making trouble in foreign places.

    But then, writers like the above will be out of jobs if that were really the case.

  • Boritz

    “the starting point for a coherent grand strategy has to be a clear elucidation by the United State and Europe of shared threats to their
    vital national interests”.

    For some reason this strikes me as completely the wrong question. The existence of United States and to some degree Europe are the problem and as a matter of settled politics the chief problem is the settled science of climate change — that along with insufficient mass immigration. Read NYT and WaPo and there is no other conclusion. You can’t just jump head first into the moral hazard of defending the “vital national interests” of such.

  • oakhill1863

    Barack Obama set out to take the United States down from the exceptional to the so-so, and Donald Trump, whose supporters would bristle at the thought, largely accepted Obama’s mission statement and has accelerated its accomplishment.

    The rest of the West, as Trump rightly points out, has mooched off us so that its people could enjoy generous welfare instead of our own.

    So, don’t expect the author’s hope for the implementation of a new and successful strategy any time soon.

    • Jim__L

      The rest of the West has accepted our dominance because they could mooch off us and enjoy generous welfare.

      What we’re getting now, though, is the worst of all possible worlds — Europeans criticize us for not matching their unrealistically large welfare programs or unrealistically small defense budgets (as idiots in this country enthusiastically bobble their heads in agreement), we have less influence than our spending really ought to bring us (it probably doesn’t help that our recent wars have not been clear-cut victories), and Europeans are still mooching.

      Unwinding this puzzle would require a clear outside threat, a clear victory for America, and / or the collapse of unrealistic welfare states. Unfortunately the US media fights valiantly against covering all of the above.

  • Frank Blangeard

    The United States has had an ‘overarching foreign policy’ since the end of the cold war and perhaps even before that. That policy is to achieve ‘full spectrum dominance over the entire world’ on land, sea, air and space (and now cyberspace). Most or all of the problems we have can be traced back to this arrogant and unrealistic goal that will never be reached and which could bring us to ruin (if it hasn’t already done so).

  • Matthew Kilburn

    Being strong abroad requires being strong at home. And most of America’s domestic problems can be traced – at least in part – the dramatic leftward cultural shift during the last third of the 20th century. Particularly, the collapse of marriage and birth rates. The anemic organic (i.e. non-immigration based) population growth put downward pressure on GDP growth, housing prices and demand, exacerbated the outlook for the debt, and helped put even core social programs like SS and Medicare on shaky footing.

    Speak the national langage. Go to church. Get married. Have kids. Push back against the ever-increasing credentials requirements to enter the professional workforce. Be selective about which foreign nationals you bring in. Stop giving away the farm to China and other nations through free- and other trade deals that have had vastly disproportionate benefit. That would solve most of your problems.

    • Jim__L

      **Cheer**

  • Mel Profit

    Dr Michita’s piece has merit, but in reality there can be no strategy, whether US or transatlantic, until some coherent, hysteria-free consensus on Russia is reached. Is Russia truly a “demonic” state deserving to be “strangled” and “killed” (the words are Graham Allison’s), or a more or less normal country driven by geopolitical, economic, and national pride factors like any other?

    At present, the American neocons and generals seem to have the whip hand, restrained only by an American president who appears to have no settled views about anything, much less NATO and a New Cold War. Regrettably, the rest of the West’s leadership–Merkel, Macron and May–is not much better. With a bunch like this–and an American Congress of alternating bellicosity and stupefying dysfunctionality–strategic dialogue is going nowhere.

    • Bankotsu

      “(the words are Graham Allison’s)”

      Also bastard.

      According to Allison, Russia is a bastard.

      Actually, I consider Graham Allison to also be a bastard.

  • mf

    as in the 1930-ies, the “conservative” policy of putting capital over labor spectacularly backfired. The fall of the Soviet Union reinforced the arrogance of these policies which then backfired some more, which in turn sent “conservatives” in search of power saving scapegoats. Immigrants, Islam, political correctness, minorities, Jewish cabal, you name it, it is there all over again, nearly all mentioned with varying prominence in this “conservative” piece. All of this scapegoating happened in the 1930-ies as well, except back then it ended up half contained in the US, while erupting spectacularly in Europe. Seems like the opposite is happening this time around.

    Scapegoating is a fascist methodology of governance. What the West, particularly the US needs to survive is to reject the scapegoating and the scapegoaters, decisively, recommit to Western values, and confront the reality. The reality is that the population of the Earth more than doubled in the last century, which is putting immense pressure on resources as this added population is trying to emulate Western standards of living. The solution is, again, technological progress. Unfortunately, in the past, technological progress often came from the war effort. We may not survive another war effort in the era of widespread nuclear proliferation, so perhaps we should urgently look for some new ways of doing business.

    The reality is also, that there can be no market economy without consumer markets. Consumer markets are formed by labor. An economic system that fails to support labor leads to a collapse of market economy. You do not have to be a Marxist to appreciate this particular bit of his insight. It is as valid today as it has been in his time.

    “Conservative” policies of Capital Uber Alles are a straight road to fascism. You can see this clearly in this piece which bemoans “our falling out with Russia”. Russia was the first harbinger of a return of fascism to Europe ,and is the leading bastion of it in Europe. Fantasies about aligning with Russia to combat China reveal the true nature of the “Conservative” thought. Fascism works, for it keeps the rabble in check. Just look back at the history of wide cooperation of US business with Adolf Hitler. All you need to know.

    We need business and we need labor. We need a reasonably efficient government to keep the balance between the two, without either getting an economically destructive upper hand. We do that, we may still survive this, but the time is running out, so we better get our rear end in gear.

  • Mark Thomason

    A strategy starts with strategic goals. This article examines how to get somewhere without first examining to where we might want to get.

    The EU has no interest in getting to the places the US neocons and liberal interventionists want. Therefore, they won’t join in a strategy to get there. It won’t help to hide where “there” is behind a failure to discuss it.

  • Matthew W. Hall

    In order to have a strategy, the west would have to acknowledge that it exists at all. For western liberals, this is beyond the pale.

  • Debbie

    The greatest long term threat to the West is the current revival of traditional Islamic supremacist expansionism. The current crop of Western political, media and academic elites is with few exceptions either unwilling to see this threat or unwilling to acknowledge it. Even the Big Orange Doofus has surrounded himself with “Islam is peace” Kool-Aid guzzlers and pushed out Islamorealists after making vague noises in his campaign that fooled some into thinking he understood the problem.

    Hopefully, this situation wherein most of the masses can see what the elites can’t or won’t see isn’t sustainable in most Western countries, no matter how hard the elites try to squelch dissenters and make speaking uncomfortable truths about Islamic ideology socially taboo (or even illegal in some European countries). A generational war of ideas will be essential in any successful strategy to contain Islamic supremacists’ expansionism and far more important in the long term than having whack-a-mole shooting wars with whichever Islamists are currently asserting themselves the most violently. The war of ideas can’t really begin until the masses begin voting out this crop of blind and deluded elites.

  • Dsakei

    No mention of Japan when Japan is for all intents and purposes part of the West.

    • Bankotsu

      How so?

      What about China? Is China part of “west”?

      If Japan is considered “west”, I was wondering whether Saudi Arabia should also be considered “west”.

      • Dsakei

        The West (please note capitalized “W”) is a club of prosperous liberal democracies.

        • Bankotsu

          I don’t think “west” is good term to describe prosperous “liberal” “democracies”.

          • Dsakei

            Frankly, I don’t care what some Chinese wumao propagandist who cannot differentiate between “west” and “The West” thinks.

          • Bankotsu

            Good for you, because your defintion is pure, total and complete garbage.

          • Dsakei

            Good definitions have a genus and a differentia to clarify what are in and what are out. It is easy enough to determine that Taiwan, Japan, Australia, Chile are “prosperous liberal democratic” countries, while wumao mainland China is not.

            China is simply, purely and totally not a prosperous, liberal, nor a democratic country.

          • Bankotsu

            Garbage definition is garbage definition my friend.

          • Dsakei

            Any definition that clarifies that Japan and Taiwan are wealthy liberal democracies having more in common with each other, as opposed to authoritarian China is a good definition in my book. 🙂
            The only garbage here is the wumao employer. 🙂

        • Is Latin America part of the West then? Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia, those countries?

          • Dsakei

            The West is a club of prosperous liberal democracies.
            Taiwan and Chile could definitely qualify.

            Mexico, Brazil and Colombia are on their way if they could further improve peace and order, as well as make more equal the distribution of wealth and income.

          • Jim__L

            The West is a group of countries that trace the roots of their cultural, societal, and political norms to European sources, with particular attention to democratic Athens, republican Rome, Greco-Roman citizen military, Judeo-Christian morality, Protestant independence of conscience, Enlightenment politics (British / American), Catholic university academia / Royal Society scientific culture, British industrialization / American mass-production / corporate structure, etc etc etc (including banking, literacy…)

            Insofar as the rest of the world has adopted these cultural assets that lead to human thriving, they are Westernizing.

        • Bankotsu

          What about Greece? Greece is poor state.

          Is Greece part of west?

      • Jim__L

        During the Meiji restoration, Japan had a deliberate program of Westernization. Education, science, technology, military, police forces, and government were consciously rearranged along Western lines.

        It’s actually a very interesting question as to whether the China’s recent reforms (starting with Deng, say) qualify as Westernizing, and to what extent.

        • Dsakei

          I think China would be more comfortable calling Deng’s reforms as Modernization rather than Westernization.

          • Jim__L

            Modernization, Westernization — what’s the difference?

          • Dsakei

            In practical terms they are almost equivalent.
            In propagandistic terms their differences can be bent over backwards blown up to justify an oxymoronic state-led thought. Exhibit #1 here is “Socialism with Chinese characteristics”.

  • The West today is far too deeply divided by internal political and ideological differences (such as the approach to the refugee situation or how best to deal with terrorism). It needs to be more unified. You can criticize China or Russia for many things, but they are in fact hugely nationalistic, and much less polarized on these kinds of issues.

  • ErnestinHouston

    Many of the developments cited would have developed regardless of Western strategy (an oxymoron if ever there was one).
    The European self-disarmament in the decades following the end of the Cold War and the US removal of the vast majority of its European-based miltary forces explains why “Czar/Commistar” Putin feels free to embark on his consolidation of ethnic Russians in the near abroad into his “Greater Russian Empire.” Only in a nearly militarily neutered EU/NATO would he dared to wander into other nations.
    Of far greater need of illumination is the threat posed by war (accidental or planned) between the US and the PRC, which would END the global trading system and have political impacts that would resound for DECADES. Yet, the pages here and the powers themselves seem oblivious to the threat that looms.

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