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“In an ironic twist of fate, two decades after Western experts touted various “state-building” and “nation-building” theories and projects as the precondition for democratization and stability in the Muslim world after 9/11, democracies across Europe and North America are now also fast approaching the point at which systemic state failure is no longer a fantasy. After decades of multicultural deconstruction of its nation-states, the Western democracies are internally fracturing, and their societal and national bonds are dissolving. Today, thinking about national security in the West means taking stock of the effects not only of the dwindling sense of mutuality of obligation among the citizenry but also of levels of ethnic, racial, and political polarization not seen since the late 1960s. The current fashion for identity politics has advanced to the point that the progressive decomposition of Western nation-states is now a near-term possibility.
While civilizational collapse may still be a long way off, Western democracies face an erosion of the consensus of what constitutes the larger national community, and hence why its members should rally to defend it in an emergency. As internal national bonds weaken, the viability of a Transatlantic solidarity that rests on more than just geostrategic calculations loses some of its luster. A 2015 Pew study offers disturbing insight into the views of Western publics when it comes to allied solidarity: In the polling only Americans and Canadians declared themselves willing to go to war to defend their NATO allies in an Article 5 emergency, and even in these cases the numbers were not that impressive (56 percent for the United States and 53 percent for Canada); by contrast, in no European country was there a majority in favor of meeting the NATO commitment if this meant possibly going to war.
For close to half a century now, the United States and some of the most storied democracies of Europe have framed their key domestic and foreign policies around the foundational premise that democratic governance and systemic stability rest on rightly sized political institutions, normative systems, and the rule of law. The borderline fetishization of diversity as a value in Western political discourse offers both a safe haven from “nationalism” and, more importantly, the ultimate justification for democratic institutionalism as a panacea for the messiness of representative government.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"The biggest topic in British political circles on Monday wasn’t the country’s impending departure from the European Union. It was milkshakes..."
"I often disagree with Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., but I've been disturbed by the idea that he should be run out of the Republican Party just because he believes President Trump committed impeachable offenses."
"The Icelandic band Hatari, whose members are quite vocal in their animosity towards Israel, held up Palestinian flags... Madonna, likewise, had two of her performers wear Israeli and Palestinian flags on their costumes."
"To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, I turn to movie critic Roger Ebert's old review of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." (Trust me on this one.)"
"The money is already here—and has been for years. In the midst of a housing crisis, an injection of cash into the superheated real-estate market seems likely to cause an uptick in evictions and displacement."
"Parents concerned about YouTube debate whether to let their children have their own channels; some forbid it, others send them to summer camp..."
"‘I Had Completely Lost the Knack for Staying Alive..." Warmer weather brings daffodils, rhubarb at the farmer’s market — and, for some, despair."
"With his new book, Howard Stern proves that his rightful place is among the prophets and moral visionaries, not the ‘shock jocks’"
"I’m terrified of parenting in the anti-vaxxer age: Anti-vaccine propaganda isn’t just harmful to children. It threatens to erode our entire sense of community."
"...doctors are starting to think more about specific nutrients that feed tumor cells. That is, how what we eat affects how cancers grow..."
"...it represents an impressive achievement: a victory of humankind against the chaos that pervades the universe."
"If trends continue, in 20 years the majority of the world’s Jews will be living in Israel. The United States will see a continuing decline in overall numbers, with a growing observant Jewish population..."