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John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat
Source: U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The National Interest: Opinion: Peter Harris: Losing the International Order: Westphalia, Liberalism and Current World Crises

President Barack Obama, United States
The National Interest: Opinion: Peter Harris: Losing the International Order: Westphalia, Liberalism and Current World Crises

To put it mildly the world is a lot more complicated now and the developed world which is mostly in the West is different now and less united than it once was. America and Europe, still believe in great liberal values like freedom of speech, free assembly, freedom of religion, personal freedom, self-ownership, the ability for one to live freely and make a good life for themselves and basic human rights and civil liberties. And even though we’re no longer fighting Marxism and Communism in general at least in the traditional sense, the West is dealing with a different type of authoritarianism that in many cases is not state-sponsored and organized from some authoritarian state.

Islamism, and private Islamist groups, have now replaced Marxism as the main competitor when it comes to liberalism and liberal values. The liberal order, to use a German term, is now facing Islamism as its main enemy when it comes to whether countries are going to live in free societies that are governed responsibly. Or are they going to live in the stone ages where women, gays and non-Muslims are treated like second or third-class citizens and even prisoners. The West and their Arab allies, haven’t figured out how to deal with Islamism and ISIS effectively yet. For one, a lot of those Arab states don’t believe in liberal values and human rights and are just looking to protect their own authoritarian regimes and monarchies, but don’t want to move to some fourth or fifth-world theocracy. The other being the West, America and Europe, aren’t sure about how much they are willing to invest to fight ISIS in Arabia.

This is a different battle or war taking on Islamism than the Cold War. During the Cold War, the main and really only major enemy to America and Europe was Russia and their Marxist Soviet Union. The People’s Republic of China, was still a very poor Marxist society similar to North Korea today for most of the Cold War. With Islamism, it’s not countries that we have to fight for the most part. But groups and groups powerful enough to knock out weak government’s and states and take at least part for their land. As they’ve done in both Iraq and Syria. But the only way you defeat a group like ISIS is through a strong broad committed coalition, which is what liberal internationalism is. That is going to go in and take on ISIS until they’ve defeated them. If you want to protect liberal democracy, liberal values and free societies, you have to fight for them and be united behind that.