Role in a Darkening Age
by Patrick J. Buchanan: The
Old Republic and Obama's America
When, in the
1950s, Nikita Khrushchev said, "We will bury you," and, "Your children
will live under communism," Eisenhower's America scoffed.
By 1980, however,
the tide did indeed seem to be with the East.
suffered a decade of defeats. Southeast Asia had fallen. The ayatollah
had seized power in Iran. Moscow had occupied Afghanistan. Cuban
troops were in Ethiopia and Angola. Grenada and Nicaragua had fallen
to the Soviet bloc. Eurocommunism was all the rage on the continent.
Just a decade
later, the world turned upside-down.
Wall fell. Eastern Europe was suddenly free. The Soviet Union disintegrated.
China abandoned Maoism for state capitalism.
Now, 20 years
on, the wheel has turned again – toward darkness.
do we hear chatter about "The End of History" and triumph of democratic
capitalism, of America imposing her "global hegemony" or leading
mankind into "a second American century."
is gone, and triumphalism has given way to anxiety, apprehension,
In an essay,
"The Return of Toxic Nationalism," Robert Kaplan, a geopolitical
analyst for Stratfor, writes that Western elites are even yet failing
to see the larger, darker picture of our evolving world.
identify with the like-minded in other lands and "prefer not to
see the regressive and exclusivist forces ... that are mightily
reshaping the future."
Egypt and the
Mideast offer "a panorama of sectarianism and religious and ethnic
divides. Freedom, at least in its initial stages, unleashes not
only individual identity but, more crucially, the freedom to identify
with a blood-based solidarity group. Beyond that group, feelings
of love and humanity do not apply."
This is "a
signal lesson of the Arab Spring," and out of it will likely come
an "Islamist-Nasserite regime" in Cairo.
"Asia is in
the midst of a feverish arms race," writes Kaplan. Nationalism there
is "young and vibrant – as it was in the West in the 19th and 20th
centuries." Having consolidated the homeland, China is moving to
annex her adjacent seas, and a formerly pacifist Japan is "rediscovering
nationalism as a default option."
is "alive and thriving in India and Russia," with New Delhi building
armed forces that will be among the world's largest.
against Muslims is high among Russians, and just as there are large
rallies by civil-society types, there are also marches and protests
by skinheads and neo-Nazis, who are less well-covered by Western
European Union has spawned a "resurgence of nationalism and extremism
in ... Hungary, Finland, Ukraine and Greece."
"We are truly
in a battle between two epic forces," says Kaplan, "those of integration
based on civil society and human rights, and those of exclusion
based on race, blood and radicalized religion."
the United States deal with this darkening age?
like minority rights are under attack the world over, the United
States must put them right alongside its own exclusivist national
interests, such as preserving a favorable balance of power. Without
universal values in our foreign policy, we have no identity as a
nation – and that is the only way we can lead with moral legitimacy
in an increasingly disordered world."
But is this
not itself utopian?
A great religious
awakening is taking place from Morocco to Mindanao. If these hundreds
of millions believe there is no God but Allah and he has shown the
way to eternal life, why would they, why should they, tolerate pastors
and preachers from heretical and false faiths?
How do we
preach women's equality – an easy access to divorce contraception
and abortion – to people who swear by a sacred book that says you
kill people like that?
How do we
preach the blessings of racial and ethnic diversity to a world where,
as Kaplan writes, ethnonationalism and tribalism are being embraced
and people are willing to die to create nations where their own
kind and their own culture are dominant if not exclusive?
put our "values" up there with our vital interests, as the object
of our foreign policy, what exactly are we talking about?
in the grip of a social-moral-cultural war even agree among themselves
Amendment protects freedom of speech to call the Prophet vile names.
Our freedom of the press protects pornography. Our freedom of religion
means all religions are to be equally excluded from public schools.
believe in indoctrinating their children in their own beliefs and
values. Where do we get the right to push ours in their societies?
did the internal affairs of foreign nations become the portfolio
of American diplomats? Did James Madison's first minister to Russia,
John Quincy Adams, demand that Czar Alexander free the serfs?
values in our foreign policy, we have no identity as a nation,"
But that is
not our history. America has indeed been about ideas, but America
is now and has always been about more, much more than abstract ideas.
J. Buchanan [send
him mail] is co-founder and editor of The
American Conservative. He is also the author of seven books,
the Right Went Wrong, and Churchill,
Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. His latest book is Suicide
of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? See his
© 2013 Creators Syndicate
Best of Patrick J. Buchanan