Europe enjoyed nearly 100 years of peace.
One reason was the 1815
Treaty of Vienna had given top priority in negotiations over how
various territories were to be ruled.
Second, the new liberal order, powered by the Industrial Revolution
was producing improved apparent domestic prosperity reducing the
attractiveness of war.
Third, British and European states territorial ambitions and
colonial land grabs offered more upside with less risk of manpower
Lieven. a professor in the War Studies Department of King’s College
London and a senior fellow of the New America Foundation in
Washington DC. See Anatomy of American Nationalism republished in
September 2012. Originally published in
National Interest on December 22, 2018;
cross posted from
Peace ended with
World War 1 in which some 16 million
Europeans died, two great European countries destroyed, and others
crippled was recently celebrated. This year may be the last of 29
relatively quiet years before the world’s major powers once again
moved into deep and structural mutual hostility.
WW 1 engendered the scourges of Communism and Nazism. It led to a
Second World War and the near destruction of European civilizations.
Nothing the political and cultural elite who were swept away for
leading their countries into war could potentially be worth the
portrayed the war as civilizations against German barbarism. Today one can certainly say
the British and French systems were better than the German; but one
must admit that an Algerian subject of the French Empire or an
African subject of the British Empire might have a different
perspective. Also, the Russian Empire made a pretty odd member of
the supposed alliance for democracy.
The 1914 barbaric threat to European civilizations was the ruling establishments. It came from decades of social and
economic changes which generated hatreds and tensions building
within European societies.
Before 1914, the European conservative elites encouraged aggressive
nationalism to divert mass support away from socialism. To preserve
the old European order, they moved in a most disastrously direction.
Today, the new cold war against China and Russia represent grave
threats being generated by the conservative western establishment. A
new geopolitical direction, it is comparable to that taken in during
the early 20th
This new cold war is serving as a distraction from vastly graver
threats. Western political elites are unwilling to address threats
which would involve radical changes to their ideological
positions. Their obsession with their own righteousness and
civilizational superiority is leading to the moral civilizational
fantasies that had helped bring on the 1914-18 disaster. This is
liable to engender the distortion in judgment which, in the
blindness of crusading frenzy, destroys nations and civilizations.
Ironies involved with the US leading a new “league of democracies”
against an “authoritarian alliance” include the anti-Chinese
participation of Vietnamese communists, murderous Filipino
authoritarian populists, and above all Indian Hindu neo-fascists.
Authoritarian and cultural nationalistic member Poland is bitterly
anti-Russian. Add France in 2022 if she elects a president from the
Diverting domestic discontent into external hostility rarely works
because the factors that created the discontent remain unchanged.
Does anyone who has interviewed the “Yellow Vests” in France
seriously think that they are acting as they do because of
manipulation from Moscow? Does anyone who has seriously studied the
crisis of the white working classes in the USA believe they have
voted for Trump because they have been swayed by Russian propaganda?
A More important link between Russia and America is the rise of
Putin and Trump. Another is the rising death rate among working
class males since the 1990’s in Russia and recently in America. In
addition is the diseases and addictions fueled by economic, social
and cultural insecurity and despair. In Central America a far more
terrible version of these pathologies is driving millions of people
to seek US asylum. This is driving U.S. radicalization. Yet total
US aid to Mexico in 2017 was less than that to is Ukraine or Egypt,
and a fraction of that to Afghanistan. Does any truly responsible
national establishment neglect its own neighborhood in this way?
Climate change threatens damage greater than anything the Chinese or
Russian governments could or would wish to inflict. Yet
media-politically generated hysteria over a minor Russia/Ukrainian
clashes in the Sea of Azov could overshadowed close US-Russian
co-operation to block the latest UN report on climate change.
There are real threats from Russia and China (notably trade) where
the USA needs to push back. But these are limited issues which are
negotiable or containable. They do not justifies restructuring
western national geopolitical strategies and institutions around a
new cold war.
Khrushchev had not transferred Crimea from the Russian Soviet
Republic to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic in 1956, everyone would
recognize the Sea of Azov as Russian, and this issue would not even
exist. In the South China Sea, the USA is pushing back against China
in the name of an international Law of the Sea which the USA itself
does not recognize. If the Chinese were ever so mad as to use their
position in the South China Sea against US trade, the US Navy could
block Chinese trade to the whole of the rest of the world.”
Serbian nationalist triggered WW 1. Most British soldiers who died
in the First World War had ever heard of Serbia or of Sarajevo. In
the name of God, let us not make this mistake again.
This entry was posted in
January 17, 2019
Part 7 Foreign
Policy Options for the 21st Century
Designing U.S. International Strategy by
Responding to China: A
Strategic Plan by
Creating a New
International Order by
Trump's Foreign Policy
Worldwide Threat Assessment
Designing U.S. International Strategy
Peter Zeihan on Power and Global Disorder in 2018
22 min video11/8/18
See book videos
The Accidental Superpower
The Absent Superpower
Friends and Family Plan
A Strong U.S. Position
Requirements for Success
Expected Global Conflicts
Very Recent Changes
Determining what we want requires
Fixing the Political Party System
at a time when political parties are in a
which last like
1930's when it took 12 years.
Have a Conversation
the Breton Woods trading system
which was designed to win the
Cold War by fostering world trades.
Set a Foreign Policy Goals
Friends and Family Plan
Earn agreement of countries
that are cultural and politically similar to US.
Canada, New Zeeland, United and probably Mexico
Earn agreements from a next group
countries needing little maintenance
France, Japan, India, Thailand and some other southeast Asian countries
TAKE IT or LEAVE IT message to
Germany, China, Russia, Korea and say
A Strong U.S. Position
1. Largest strip of high-quality arable
land in the world
2. Most Navigable Water ways in the world
3. Control best parts of a continent with
moats on either side
4. If US trading system breaks down, US
suffers the least! but
5. Trade is how we subsidized the Global
system so getting NAFTA correct is important.
6. US delusion of China being the next
given she has only managed to hold
together for 300 years, is amusing.
Requirements for Success
Geography that is productive and
protected from outside forces
U.S very good , Georgia very bad
Economically Favorable Demography
for high growth with
younger members spending, mature members earning and investing.
US doing well as baby boomers had kids, the Millennials.
Financial burden of the US relatively small baby boomer demographic will end.
China, Japan, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain
have the highest tax paying work force they will ever have.
Only Spain and GB are not past the point of Demographic regeneration.
The others are "terminal countries."
Few countries, maybe the French and
New Zeeland have a favorable demographic
3. Ample energy to fuel the economy as
dependency put a governor on grown
Doing this analysis was reported in
Expected Global Conflicts
Nuclear armed Russia, a seriously
terminal country is our biggest fear
and we should keep relations reasonable positive.
She is an economic and demographic tragic disaster and
will probably not exist as a country within 40 years.
Bush 2 and Obama's Russian relations were criminally mishandled
Withdrawing as world's protector means
little need to
contain China, that is Japans concern
contain Iran, that is
Turkey and the Saudis concern
Nukes will be used but not against us as no one is close
to our equal except Russia, which is a US concern.
Korean nukes are only a delivery problem,
there existence is a South Korean/Japanese worry
Very Recent Changes
Happening faster because Obama did
less than expected,
almost as if he did not want to have conversations with people.
Near the end he new how important factors were Interconnected.
How China's economy worked
Why Russia interfered with the election system,
Solar energy needs a backup
What a good tax policy would look like
Obama did not care enough to have related policies.
He had understanding but no policy.
With Trump, no understanding but a commitment some policy
Which is worse?
US has forced a acceleration of
adjustments by world players
Brexit as the European Union disintegration accelerates
Chinas need for rapid growth while US still managing World security
Xi tries to cooperate as without free trade, china fall apart.
to China: A Strategic Plan
U.S. Government Not
Designed for Governmental Grand Strategies
a. Separation of powers
b. Many want limited government
c. Private Sector Renewals solve problems
Exception After WW 2
very aggressive Soviet Union.
b. Result was a 40-year multi-administration coordinated
policy of containment.
c. It worked-The Cold War ended peacefully
a. Fragility of
Soviet Economy and Society Caused Implosion from Within
b. China is very different.
Trump Would Say We Have a Strategic Policy
1. National Security Strategy
issued in 12/2017
2. National Defense Strategy issued in 1/2018
3. Future of US Defense Manufacturing Industry issued mid
2. US Strategic
Era of Strategic Engagement Over Replaced by Strategic
a. Engagement-you engage and
one side backs down.
b. Competition is more adversarial but no guidelines given.
c. Rules to be determined
3. Washington's Latest Attitude Toward China Not Positive.
a. Makes any kind of
convergence of societies difficult
b. Move toward McCarthyism in U.S. and Australia is
not good Foreign Policy.
Geopolitical Factors for Next Four Years
a. China under Xi Jinping
"will resist any forces: economic, social, political, or
which in any way challenge the long-term
survival of the Communist Party.
b. Strong-man, long-time party member, assistant Vice
has moved toward markets rankling
conservative politburo bureau members.
Creating a New
Creation of a New International Order
Dr. George Friedman, Geopolitical Forecaster
20 min video
1. The 21st century will be politically volatile,
more like the 19th century than the second half of the 20th
2. World is no longer "hard wired" to a liberal international
The nation state is needed to bind people together.
3. The French Revolution and Enlightenment were correct.
4. World will revolve around nations
with 25% of the world economy, even when acting stupidly, still
must be considered.
dependent on oil prices, will again continue her decline.
will begin more normal economic growth
but must deal with a billion poor people.
is trade dependent in stagnating world, continues mercantilism,
will not lead.
has third largest GDP, a stable society, a strong Navy and is the
who faces an equal Turkey, hopes for coexistence, and hopes not
is fastest growing European economy and must be considered.
1. Multilateral Organizations Solve All of Problems.
2. Harvard Graduate Manage Organizations Solves Problems.
The Next 100 Years
has won, by Robert Kagan at NYT.
Saving Liberal Democracy from the Extremes,
FT's M. Wolf
The Far-right Book Every-Russian General Reads
Trump's New Political Era?
Trump's Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy Is No Longer Unpredictable
Trump visceral foreign policy
instincts date back three decades. He has long rejected the
1. US security alliances as unfair to
the taxpayer, with allies of conning Washington into defending them
2. Trade deficits are a threat to U.S.
interests rejecting virtually all trade deals that the United States
has negotiated since World War II.
3. Admires strongmen around the world:
in 1990, for example, he lamented Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
had not cracked down on
demonstrators as Beijing had in Tiananmen Square
one year before.
Phase 1 was that of constraint from his
inauguration until he grew
frustrated at [things like]
McMaster’s arguing to keep troops in place.
Phase 2 began in 9/17with the unilateral
action began to bypass the formal deliberative interagency decision
making process and announced the U.S. embassy in Israel to
Jerusalem. Soon he ended the Iran nuclear deal, imposed tariffs on
friends and rivals alike, renewed his criticism of NATO
keeping troops in Syria. Most famously, he decided to meet
with Kim in Singapore without consulting his national security
cabinet and made the unilateral decision to meet with Russian
President Vladimir Putin.
A new empowering team began 2018 with
the removal of Tillerson, McMaster, and Cohn over three-weeks
with their replacements—Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, and Larry
Kudlow—all having personal loyalty to Trump. Then UN Ambassador
Nikki Haley’s departed then the Mattis’ resignation on December 21.
A recent positive development
from the administration was welcomed by many foreign policy experts
was a new National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy
moving focus from terrorism to great-power competition.
This strategy recognized that
Russia and China posed to the U.S.-led international order and
affirmed the importance of alliances. But Trump seems uninterested
remarks introducing the National Security Strategy he uttered a
single sentence about rival powers followed by a plea for the
importance of cooperation with Russia.
This unified foreign policy has
no permanent friends and no permanent enemies. It takes a
transactional place ing little value in historical ties.
Authoritarian governments often offer such swift concessions it
easier to deal with them than with democratic allies. For example,
Saudi Arabia was
able to reduce the price of oil to appease the president after
the president sided with it following the murder of the journalist
The administration regularly uses
leverage to gain an economic advantage over other countries. For
example 1) Trump’s team entertained Poland’s bid to pay for a
U.S. military base in its country 2) has
pressured the United Kingdom to pursue a hard Brexit so that the
United States could pocket concessions in talks on a bilateral
U.S.-British free trade agreement.
Paradoxically, the advent of a more unified
and predictable U.S. foreign policy is likely to
weaken American influence and destabilize the
international order. A deeply divided Trump
administration was the best case for those who
believe in the United States’ postwar strategy,
defined by strong alliances, an open global
economy, and broad support for democracy, the
rule of law, and human rights. Because Trump was
never going to change his worldview, his
administration has had to be marked by either
division or agreement on his terms. We now have
the latter. Thus begins phase three—the impact
of a unified Trump administration on the world.
methods puts much of the foreign establishment out of
business, trusting this and similar Trump articles is
difficult. As a result, I include few opinions reporting
mostly historical activities.
GZERO Worldwide Threat Assessment
As we noted in the Wednesday edition, the US intelligence community
has released its latest Worldwide Threat Assessment.
Much of the media focus this week has fallen on
President Trump’s criticism of the US intel chiefs,
but let’s begin with the report itself. Here are its key findings:
The Trump administration’s trade policies have damaged US interests
by pushing allies to build new relationships with other governments.
“At present, China and Russia pose the greatest espionage and
cyber attack threats.”
ISIS isn’t finished.
Climate hazards such as extreme weather are
threatening infrastructure, health, and water and food security.”
“is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capability.”
North Korea has continued nuclear development in some areas
and taken actions that are reversible in others.
Iran continues to support terrorist groups in the Middle East and Europe,
but it’s still complying with the terms of the nuclear
Trumps Energy Dominance Actions
The Bad and Soon to Be Ugly
1. Cold War to 1980 AD > AS
2. Neo Liberal Reset 1980- 2008 AS > AD
3) Reactions to Neo Liberalism
Full Employment Goal = Inflation, Debtors
Business Responded to
Inflation Led to
Deflation and a Creditors Paradise
Sustained Deflation has
Winners and Losers
3Pickett's R > G
and Back to Equilibrium
Historical Long Run?
Return on Capital Growth R > Growth rate of the Economy G. 90% of Income
Gains Went to Top 1% and since 2012, most of this (70% of that 90%) went
to Top 1/10 of 1%. Credit to consumers, business and governments
expanded to equate AD with AS.
Restricted, Rigid Labor Markets
Central Government Strong
Central Bank Weak
Open Flexible Globalized Labor Markets
Government Less Economic Responsibility
Central Bank More Economic Responsibility
Debtors: Can't or Wont Pay as
Deflation Kills Wage Growth and Increases Real Debt Value
Creditors lost as
Real Value Up
But Some Don't Pay
World's Very Poor and
Very, Very Rich Win
Vast Middle of Rich
Western Nations are Stagnate
Wages Share All Time High
Corporate Profits All Time Low
Wages Share All Time Low
Corporate Profits All Time High
Populist Nationalist Parties
attracted voters with renationalization and anti-austerity policies
Center Left Parties in control
lost as lower wages and fighting more over less cartel politics blamed
capitalism and globalism
parties in control blamed immigrants and globalism
Francis Fukuyama may yet prove to be right in predicting the
end of history. But there is no doubt that he was premature. The
idea that people have reached an "end point" of "ideological evolution
and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form
of human government" quite obviously seems out-of-step with our
political reality in 2018. It could still happen one day. But it surely
hasn't happened yet.
Fukuyama knows this. However, to ensure that this is only a temporary
setback — not a permanent blow — for his thesis, he has penned Identity:
The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment.
Collapse of Soviet communism, Western liberal democracy and the free
market had triumphed and history had reached its "end" — Humans had
finally formed a political organization in harmony with their inner
nature. Though nations still on the other side of history could
certainly cause trouble for liberal democracies, they could not offer a
America and populist
right wing "dietarian" movements all around Europe have jolted Fukuyama
out of his Hegelian certitude. And so he has hurriedly written Identity:
The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment, a book
that goes back to the beginning of Western thought and retraces its
evolution to see where it took a wrong turn.
What emerges from it, however, is not a
new way forward but an old and beaten path of income redistribution and
a national unity program. Basically, Fukuyama's solution is to redirect
the ethnic identity politics of the left and the right into a renewed
"creedal identity" that satisfies the natural human need for dignity and
recognition that Hegel said was the main driver of history. Such a Big
Government roadmap will actually work or make matters worse.
Hegel postulated that as human consciousness evolved so would human
institutions or social organizations until all the internal
contradictions of the psyche were resolved in a final rational polity.
Hunter-gathering and tribal societies developed into slave-owning ones
that morphed into monarchies or theocracies that finally modernized into
liberal democratic polities.
So why are liberal democracies in trouble? Because, notes Fukuyama, they
have ignored a core psychic need.
Plato and other ancient Greek philosophers believed that thymus, or
pride, was as essential as desire and reason.
And it craved satisfaction just like the others. But they also believed
that this part was in tension with itself. On the one hand, individuals
wanted equal recognition of the fundamental worth or inner dignity of
human beings (isthmian). On the other hand, they also wanted
to be recognized as better than everyone else (megalothymia).
Megalothymia results in constant jockeying for power and domination
in every facet of human life, especially politics.
Hegel's great insight was that recognition achieved through domination
is self-defeating because people crave the recognition not of their
inferiors (slaves) but superiors (masters). The minute they succeed in
dominating someone, that person's recognition becomes worthless. The
quest for recognition can thus only be satisfied in a society of equals.
For Hegel, the quest for dignity and recognition — or identity politics,
in our parlance — has been the ultimate driver of history, and will end
in an egalitarian liberal democracy with a commitment to individual
rights and justice.
Two developments have prevented liberal democracies from delivering on
Hegel's utopia, as Fukuyama explains.
First, the rise of income inequality. Thanks to globalization and
productivity growth between 1988 and 2008, the world has become
immensely richer. However, the lion's share has gone into the pockets of
the rich, hollowing out the middle class. Fukuyama does not claim that
this growth has necessarily hurt anyone. To the contrary, he admits that
those in the 20th to 70th percentile experienced bigger income increases
than those in the 95th. However, the global population around the 80th
percentile — which corresponds with the working middle class in the West
— experienced only marginal gains. These trends were most pronounced in
Britain and the United States, the two countries at the forefront of the
"neoliberal revolution" that Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan
Middle-class stagnation, in Fukuyama's telling, is more problematic from
a thymotic standpoint than an economic standpoint because the
real purpose of income, once you reach a certain point at least, isn't
to feed material needs but positional ones. So even if the middle class
in the West has suffered no absolute loss of income, the relative loss
of status makes these people feel ignored and invisible.
The other factor is the rise of the wrong kind of dignity or identity
Some identity politics seek to honor the inner "dignity" of individuals
by extending basic state protections to all citizens irrespective of
race, caste, creed, or religion. This is noble, but in practice has
transmogrified into a "therapeutic state" whose main aim became to
rescue what the French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau called the
innate "goodness of man" from the corrupting demands and conventions of
society. Self-actualization rather than social cohesion became the
political project. As but one example: California formed a task force to
"Promote Self-Esteem and Personal Social Responsibility." The 1990
manifesto could have been plucked out of the Esalen
Institute. (Sample statement: "The point is not to become acceptable
and worthy, but to acknowledge the worthiness that already exists.")
This type of identity politics has uncorked personal pathologies that
religion had kept in check, particularly an unquenchable narcissism that
social critic Christopher Lasch famously called out because it sought
external social validation from the very society it constantly
Another kind of identity politics seeks the dignity of "collectives,"
essentially rejecting the idea of some generic inner dignity of
individuals while disrespecting the sense that their particular racial,
cultural, religious, linguistic, and other connections could satisfy
the thymotic needs of marginalized groups. Fukuyama
acknowledges that this sort of identity politics has done some good.
After all, blacks couldn't launch their struggle to end the atrocities
of the Jim Crow era without building black pride. Similarly, women
couldn't dislodge engrained social "discrimination, prejudice,
disrespect, and simple invisibility" without a feminist movement that
But the advent of multiculturalism took things too far, Fukuyama
believes. It encouraged an ever-proliferating panoply of
micro-identities to seek not equal treatment from society but separation
from it because, ostensibly, each group's "lived experience" of
victimization — another concept borrowed from Rousseau, Fukuyama points
out — was different and inaccessible to outsiders. Multiculturalism
built silos instead of bridges with broader society.
Multiculturalism also prodded the left to abandon its traditional
emphasis on economic inequality precisely when the dignity and status of
the Western middle class was taking a beating from globalization. This
left many ordinary people without a political home to voice their
insecurities, paving the way for right-wing demagogues to launch their
own brand of reactionary blood-and-soil identity politics — using the
language and tactics of their leftist fellow travelers.
"That the demand for dignity should somehow disappear is neither
possible nor desirable," notes Fukuyama.
This is a charmingly old-fashioned idea. There is much to like about it.
But the Big Government roadmap that Fukuyama lays out is problematic to
say the least.
Fukuyama admits that he has no use for limited government libertarianism
and, in fact, believes that it was unfortunate that the right's critique
of the unintended consequences of ambitious social programs unnerved the
left. It's high time, he thinks, to stop being shy about using
government to achieve national unity.
The Netherlands, for example, must end its age-old acceptance of "polarization,"
or letting different religious groups establish their own schools,
newspapers, and political parties. It was one thing to go along with
this arrangement when it meant buying social peace among Catholics,
Protestants, and secularists. But it has ghettoized Muslim immigrants
and prevented them from assimilating, claims Fukuyama.
This sounds good on its face. But America's relatively limited
experiment with state-enforced busing to end segregation was a disaster.
White families who didn't want their children to have to spend hours
being transported to another school district put their kids in private
or parochial schools or fled from inner cities to distant suburbs
outside of the busing zone. All of this exacerbated segregation and
racial tensions. But Fukuyama seems so determined to ignore the danger
of unintended consequences that he doesn't entertain any downside to his
proposal, much less question its feasibility.
In America, Fukuyama believes, the left needs to return to a class-based
politics that unites various marginalized groups around pocketbook
concerns. At the electoral level that means that Democrats should quit
playing identity politics and nominate a younger version of Joe Biden
who can connect with the working class, regardless of race, sex, or
religion. At the programmatic level, it means a renewed embrace of
redistribution programs on the scale of the New Deal and the Great
Society. He also wants a "national service" program that replicates the
military's stellar success in assimilating recruits of diverse
The primary point of returning to a redistributive politics is not so
much to expand the social safety net as to even out envy-inducing social
hierarchies. In other words, make the rich poorer and the poor richer to
make the working class feel better about itself. That such policies
would be fiscally unaffordable and economically deleterious, Fukuyama
doesn't consider. But the bigger problem from his own standpoint is that
giving government more control over more wealth is likely to deepen
existing social fissures by triggering a fiercer race for the spoils,
especially in the post-Trump era where whites are emboldened.
Fukuyama's call for national service is perhaps more innocuous, but it's
hard to see how it'll accomplish much. The military is united around a
clear mission — protecting the nation — that helps overcome other
divides. What would be the unifying passion of national service? Digging
sewers in poor neighborhoods might appeal to congenital do-gooders but
it's not the kind of thing that brings people together like the enemy at
What's befuddling about Fukuyama's recommended agenda is that it
ultimately departs from his own Hegelianism. Hegel, contra Marx,
believed that ideas shaped the material — economic — world, not vice
versa. That means that the political battle is ultimately an ideological
battle. Victory depends on winning hearts and minds, not economic
appeasement. If that's the case, Fukuyama would have been better off
exposing what's false, contradictory, and self-negating about the new
and pernicious identity politics of the left and right and leaving it at
Nevertheless, Fukuyama has written an intricate account of this peculiar
phenomenon. It is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding our
bewildering political times in a broader historical and philosophical
What's needed now is a renewed commitment to "e