Наметились тенденции к
восстановлению признаков старого миропорядка, сформировавшегося после «холодной
опираясь на общность языка, истории, религии и культуры.
Take Europe. The decades-old
vision of a united pan-continental Europe
without borders is dissolving. The cradle-to-grave welfare dream proved too
expensive for Europe’s shrinking and aging
Cultural, linguistic, and economic divides between Germany and Greece,
or Holland and Bulgaria,
remain too wide to be bridged by fumbling bureaucrats in Brussels. NATO has devolved into a euphemism
for American expeditionary forces.
Nationalism is returning,
based on stronger common ties of language, history, religion, and culture. We are even
seeing the return of a two-century-old European «problem»: a powerful Germany that
logically seeks greater political influence commensurate with its undeniable
The tired Israeli-Palestinian
fight over the future of the West Bank is no longer the nexus of Middle East tensions. The Muslim Arab world is now more
terrified by the re-emergence of a bloc of old familiar non-Arabic, Islamic
With nuclear weapons, theocratic Iran
wants to offer strategic protection to radical allies such as Syria,
Hezbollah, and Hamas, and at the same time restore Persian glory. While
diverse, this rogue bunch shares contempt for the squabbling Sunni Arab world
of rich but defenseless Gulf petro-sheikdoms and geriatric state
Turkey is flipping back to its pre-20th-century past. Its
departure from NATO is not a question of if, but when. The European Union used
to not want Turkey; now Turkey does not
want the shaky EU.
Turkish revisionism now glorifies the old Ottoman sultanate. Turkey wants to
recharge that reactionary model as the unifier and protector of Islam — not the
modern, vastly reduced secular state of Kemal Ataturk. Weak neighbors Armenia, Cyprus,
Greece, and Kurdistan have historical reasons to tremble.
Japan’s economy is
still stalled. Its affluent population is shrinking and aging. Elsewhere in the
region, the Japanese see an expanding China
and a lunatic nuclear North Korea.
Yet Japan is not sure
whether the inward-looking United
States is still credible in its old promise
of protection against any and all enemies.
One of two rather bleak Asian futures seems likely. Either an ascendant China will dictate the foreign policies of Japan,
South Korea, and Taiwan, or lots of new freelancing nuclear powers will
appear to deter China since
it cannot count on an insolvent U.S.
Oil-rich Russia — deprived of its
Communist-era empire — seems to find lost imperial prestige and influence by
being for everything that the U.S.
is against. That translates into selling nuclear expertise and material to Iran, providing weapons to provocative states
such as Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela,
and bullying neighbors over energy supplies.
Closer to home, Mexico
has become a strange sort of friend. It devolves daily into a more corrupt and
violent place than Iraq or Pakistan. The
fossilized leadership in Mexico City
shows no interest in reforming, either by opening its economy or liberalizing
its political institutions.
But American citizens are
tired of picking up the tab to subsidize nearly 15 million poor illegal aliens.
The growing hostility between the two countries is reminiscent of 19th-century
tensions across the Rio Grande.
How is America
reacting to these back-to-the-future changes?
Politically divided, committed to two wars, in a deep recession,
insolvent, and still stunned by the financial meltdown of 2008, our government
seems paralyzed. As European socialism implodes, for some reason a new statist
U.S. government wants to copy failure by taking over ever more of the economy
and borrowing trillions more to provide additional entitlements.
As panicky old allies look for American protection, we talk of slashing
our defense budget. In apologetic fashion, we spend more time appeasing
confident enemies than buttressing worried friends.
Instead of finishing our border fence and closing the southern border,
we are suing a state that is trying to enforce immigration laws that the
federal government will not apply. And as sectarianism spreads abroad, we at
home still pursue the failed salad bowl and caricature the once-successful
American melting pot.
But just as old problems return, so do equally old solutions. Once-stodgy
ideas like a free-market economy, strong defense, secure borders, and national
unity are suddenly appearing fresh and wise.