Our imperialist mindset — a hangover from the 20thcentury — suggests that developing countries are always helpless without the West. That says more about our limited analytical abilities than about how the emerging world will fare, writes Zachary Karabell
Yet again the Western world gazes baffled and powerless at the ever more tragic mess unfolding across the Middle East. The wishful-thinking euphoria that greeted the “Arab Spring” two years ago seems a million miles away as Egypt plunges into bloody chaos…
This week, Michael Sheridan of the Sunday Times revealed that China’s Communist Party is internally circulating an anti-Western screed, “Minutes of the 2013 National Conference of Propaganda Chiefs: Briefing on the Ideological Situation at the Present Time.” Among other things, the document tells officials they must “completely understand the harm of viewpoints and theories propagated by the West.” Moreover, officials are exhorted to “use battlefield tactics” to defeat China’s own liberals. The party must “stand up” to Western nations.
Modern history is the story of how liberal democracy, originating in the U.K. and America, spread around the world. This may sound like an absurd fantasy. In actuality, this Whiggish narrative of progress underpins most newspaper editorials, political commentary and speeches in the West, and frames larger views of political developments in the non-West.
The United States is rising; Europe is stabilizing; and both are moving closer together. That was the principal message earlier this month at the annual Munich Security Conference (MSC), a high-powered gathering of defense ministers, foreign ministers, senior military officials, parliamentarians, journalists, and national-security experts of every variety.