From the Awesome Conversation
ISO Radical Moderates.
Cultural extremists and party zealots may be laying the groundwork for extraordinary blowback. However, that reflexive response would call for a renewal of enthusiasm for the most advanced standards of western culture and its modern (rather than medieval) devotions.
Has EU / NATO, much less the United States, the educated and enlightened empiricist and humanist populations for that?
We’re certainly living through the process of finding out.
States contributing to political incoherence associated with or within EU/NATO might include Hungary, Italy, Poland, Turkey, and the United States of America. Authoritarianism, extremism, feudalism (family as state mafia), and unreasoning religious faith have long had their posts in the medieval world. The learning modern west has battled even longer, however, to overcome its own worst tendencies to produce a world and associated politics steeped in compassion, empiricism, equality in justice, humanism, and mutual responsibility for improving (rather than degrading) Qualities of Living (QOLs) across Europe, throughout North America, down through Latin America and against the intellectually limited and nefarious dictatorships of the world.
How goes the battle for mankind’s more enlightened future?
The blood-and-soil nationalism buoyed by revivals of church and military enthusiasm following 9/11 and numerous other Islamist attacks (perhaps associated with Moscow’s covert influence) has marched a portion of the 21st Century political establishment headlong into the political models of the 19th.
How else to interpret the big picture for the BREXIT or Trump narratives?
Add the Syrian Tragedy as challenge and goad to Western resolve.
Obama had offered Putin his “Come Westward” in 2011 (it’s now hard to find that moment online, but I recall the same as the “Syrian Gambit”), and Putin said “Nyet!” while Obama scoffed at the return to the “KGB Playbook”.
Well, here we are — and here is EU/NATO — talking up Western Values while nonetheless losing momentum and a handful of compromised or, as with Hungary and Turkey, philosophically and spiritually traitorous states.
While lumping America’s President Trump with others possessed of autocratic and martial patriotic fervor, I would note that his Administration’s actual policies and postures fall into line with greater American state tendencies in judgment and policies. For example, he has not been wrong about China (i.e., https://conflict-backchannels.com/2020/07/16/barr-chinas-abuses-of-power-and-privilege-against-client-states-and-the-west/). Moreover, the Trump Administration’s leveling of sanctions against Crimean officials (“so-called”) has been especially caustic as well as damaging.
One might suggest with relation to Donald Trump that he has been a worse candidate, one deeply inspiring his own opposition, than American President.
In any case, the United States is not Hungary, and while Viktor Orban has been able to degrade his state’s political character, I believe the present polarization and related turmoil in the United States will abate with a greater general want of return to “normalcy” — and normal in the United States involves much, much greater mutual concern and regard for one another and related practical political reason and compromise.