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Anarchy is coming The liberal world order has failed to usher in global peace

Wars in the Middle East are now increasingly fought by proxies. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

Wars in the Middle East are now increasingly fought by proxies. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images


March 22, 2021   8 mins

When the Biden administration undertook its first known act of war a few weeks ago, it provided an illuminating snapshot of conflict in the 21st century. The aerial strike on Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia militias in eastern Syria, facing territory held by American-backed Syrian proxy forces, in response to the shelling of American positions in Iraq by Iranian-backed Iraqi militias which led to the death of an American private contractor, encapsulates the central role of surrogate warfare in modern conflict. 

Like the Karabakh conflict last year, when Turkish-backed Syrian rebel militias fought Armenian conscripts as disposable cannon fodder, as they had previously done in Libya, while Turkish drones cleared the way for Azerbaijani forces to advance, we were presented with a sobering image of the new face of war. Like the Spanish Civil War before it, the decade-long Syrian Civil War, a conflict perpetually about to conclude which yet may never fully end, has revealed itself as a harbinger of dangerous new trends the full implications of which we are yet to fully understand.

It is only natural, for example, that last week’s Integrated Review notes that Britain’s state competitors are likely to use proxy forces to challenge the international order, while the forthcoming defence review will mandate the creation of a new elite “Rangers” regiment formed precisely to advise and fight alongside proxies of our own.

A recent new book, Surrogate Warfare, by the professors of Security Studies Andreas Krieg and Jean-Marc Rickli, does much to synthesise recent academic work on the deteriorating global situation brought about by both technological advance and globalisation. Echoing research on neo-medievalisation within International Relations — the dawning realisation, first voiced by the theorist Hedley Bull in 1977 that late modernity was heading inexorably to the weakening power of the Westphalian state system and its replacement by an overlapping web of transnational and sub-national actors — its authors present a stark vision of a world of growing anarchy brought about by the intersection of new technologies and the unintended consequences of globalisation.

As they warn, “the world arguably looks more anarchical in the early twenty-first century than it has ever been in modern times,” as ”with its 9/11 attacks and the spread of global jihadism, massive transnational migration streams, the financial crisis of 2008, and the wide-spread collapse of state authority across Africa and the Middle East — the idealist, classical conceptualizations of conflict in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries appear as historical anomalies.”

The liberal world order, and the unhindered global movement of information, goods and people it accelerated, was intended to usher in an age of global peace and harmony. Yet instead, it has undermined the basic foundations of the global order, and “state-centrism, the idea that individuals can escape the state of nature only through a covenant binding them to an authority modeled on the Westphalian nation-state, has become archaic in a world of porous borders and growing migrant populations”. Instead of promoting good governance across the globe, postmodernity has eroded the authority of the state at home and the stability of the international system itself, returning us to a situation analogous to that of the Middle Ages, where sovereignty was widely dispersed, contested and partial.

By dismantling physical and informational barriers across the globe, the basic capacity of states to provide security for their citizens has become weakened, perhaps fatally. By eroding the lines between home and abroad, postmodernity has globalised conflicts, and eroded even the very distinction between war and peace. Instead of perpetual peace, it has ushered in an age of perpetual anarchy that states are finding themselves powerless to contain. As Krieg & Rickli note, “the globalised conflict is transnational in nature and disregards the state-centric norms, conventions, and laws put in place in the nineteenth century to limit war.” We have entered an era of “everywhere conflicts” where “the authority of the state in the twenty-first century is the weakest it has been since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648.” 

Which cheerleader of globalisation a generation ago would have foreseen that children in Manchester would be blown apart by a British Libyan suicide bomber as a downstream consequence of wars in Syria and Iraq? That social media would inspire young British citizens to journey to the Middle East to keep captured minorities as slaves and slaughter their compatriots on hi-definition video for the horror and delight of their online audiences at home? Such atrocities, and the state’s desperate attempts to provide security to an increasingly unsettled public, are not anomalies, but the natural outcome of the waning of the Westphalian state and the rise of challengers to its authority from both above and below: “insecurity, not security, has become the norm in postmodern society.” 

As a result, both liberal Western states and their illiberal competitors are driven to intervene in complex and tangled wars with strong ethnic and sectarian dimensions by an unstable and often contradictory mix of humanitarian concerns, security fears and realpolitik. Yet at the same time, both are conscious that their domestic publics are increasingly averse to casualties, particularly in wars not of obvious strategic necessity, with the result that the burden of fighting is shifted to expendable local proxies, while the brunt of casualties is borne by civilians on the ground at the mercy of stand-off weapons. 

Eager to avoid unpopular casualties in these “wars of choice,” states are subcontracting the bloody business of fighting on the ground  to local proxies, whose goals may differ from those of their sponsors, and whose behaviour is not subject to any meaningful legal oversight. As Krieg & Rickli note, “the need to remove military action from society’s checks and balances is the single most important driver and aspect of postmodern surrogate warfare in liberal and illiberal states,” driving the push towards stand-off weapons like drones and local proxies on the ground, almost entirely to the detriment of the civilians who live there. 

The catastrophic civil war in Syria, the parallel conflict in Yemen and the widening destabilisation of Iraq, Lebanon and Libya exemplify these trends, where external actors like the United States, Russia, Turkey, Iran and the Gulf kingdoms manipulate their local proxy militias like chess pieces while their drones, ballistic missiles and jets lay waste to the ground on which they fight. Instead of democratising the  Middle East as pundits first hoped, the unintended intersection of the Arab Spring, globalisation and new technologies have seen the entire region spiralling into a giant arena of experimentation in 21st century warfare, almost wholly disastrous to its people, as a result of global trends they had no part in making.

It is precisely the internationalisation of the wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen that has made them so deadly. Insulated from taking casualties of their own, intervening states have little or no inclination to moderate their activity. Drones and proxy militias are cheap, compared to the mass mobilisation of armies in the 19th and 20th centuries: proxy-centred conflicts  are affordable for even mid-ranking powers, lowering the barrier for entrance into conflict and limiting the need to end them quickly. Claims that Russia, or Iran, or Turkey would soon find themselves bogged down in wars they cannot afford have been repeated for years now, without this moment ever being reached. It is for these reasons, and not solely the inherent instabilities of the nations suffering them, that the conflicts of the Arab Spring have continued for so long. Like the Congo war, a parallel case of intervention by regional powers worsening a local conflict, there is no particular reason why they should not smoulder on for decades.

Yet one innovation marks out the Syrian War from its neighbouring conflicts: the centrality of social media in its prosecution. Beginning in 2011, the Syrian conflict’s early stages tracked the transition from Facebook to Twitter in the global information economy, as the site became the chosen platform of journalists, activists and policymakers. The result was not good for journalism, nor for Syria. As Krieg & Rickli note, “the emergence of social media has not just changed patterns of communication across communities but has become a major means of warfare in itself,” where, “in conjunction with kinetic operations on the physical battlefield, the clash over narratives in the cyber sphere sets the parameters for strategic victory.” 

Social media is not just a novel add-on to the modern way of war: it is a weapon that actively shapes the war itself, turning those sharing it into participants themselves. The inherently toxic dynamics of Twitter’s discourse, which inexorably blurs the distinction between journalists, analysts, activists and trolls, reflected the growing divisions on the ground in what became a shifting multipolar conflict between Assad’s loyalist forces, rebels, al-Qaeda and then Islamic State jihadists and Kurds. It also, arguably, exacerbated them. As the Syrian journalist and revolutionary activist Zaina Erhaim remarks, “international experts and media have also played a role in over-simplifying our complex conflict into two dimensions — ‘good vs bad,’” hardening and exacerbating the divisions lived by the Syrian people themselves.

In that the perceptions of intervening actors, whether governments, foreign fighters or NGOs, were partly moulded by this hyper-combative Twitter environment, it can be argued that Twitter helped shape the choices made by external actors which prolonged the conflict. Certainly, Twitter was the dominant means by which Western recruits were entranced by the war’s drama and bloodshed to actively take part: simply by acting as the recruiting sergeant for the Islamic State, Twitter demonstrably worsened the war’s outcome for both the Syrian people and those of neighbouring Iraq. 

The Syrian War blurred the distinction between fighter and content creator, armed group and social media account. Militias proliferated on YouTube videos designed to  be shared on social media to attract funding from external sponsors. ISIS cynically gamed journalism, producing lurid and exciting content expressly designed to be shared on social media, and relying on journalists — including me — to spread their propaganda for them. Indeed, ISIS had a symbiotic relationship with both legacy journalism, itself struggling to navigate the new world of social media and declining budgets for original reporting, and on the new hybrid role of online analyst midwifed by Twitter. 

As Krieg & Rickli note, journalists and analysts are themselves surrogate actors in the new conflicts, active participants in a new and only partly-understood form of warfare.  “ISIS’s strategy as a global terrorist organisation relies on social media influencers to target the sociopsychology of Western publics,” they write: “Superinfluencers, such as journalists, analysts, and commentators, become unwilling, somewhat coincidental surrogates for the Islamic State as they spread the images and messages of terror.” 

Perhaps no state actors have understood these new dynamics as well as Erdogan’s Turkey and  Putin’s Russia. While both use their respective television news networks, staffed by ambitious Western journalists, as traditional forms of propaganda, they are also both sophisticated and competent manipulators of the online battlefield. In Libya and the Karabakh war, Turkey exploited the Syria-derived fashion for online “OSINT” analysis in its favour by opening social media accounts in their image, utilising the high-quality cameras on their armed drones to provide exciting war imagery that online journalists would eagerly share on its behalf, just as Russia produces thrilling gonzo war footage from Syria for its social media fans. Drone, camera and social media sharer thus become a single, integrated weapon system, a hybrid semi-autonomous proxy as useful and as cheap to operate as the expendable proxies fighting on the ground. 

With the barriers between home and abroad, war and peace eroded by postmodernity, it is not difficult to interpret our own interminable culture wars as part of the globalised everywhere war, with the social media platforms celebrated a decade ago for upturning the sclerotic states of the Arab world now vilified for doing the same at home. Now that our own systems are the focus of popular discontent, we are lectured on the evils of social media, and treated to long and convoluted conspiracy theories of foreign bots and disinformation campaigns precisely mirroring those used by Arab regimes to explain away their peoples’ anger. 

America’s generation-long war on terror has come home, as a new Green Zone sprouts up in the heart of the imperial capital and terror experts refocus their gaze on the internal enemy. Journalists are no longer chroniclers of political conflict but active participants, proxies in a sprawling, decentralised war of narratives. Instead of the claimed depoliticisation of liberal technocracy, every aspect of life now functions as a source of conflict. There is no objective truth or reality, just warring narratives dismantling the political contract between people and their governments, “unable to contain the multiplicity of opinions, narratives, and messages being exchanged in an unconstrained cyber sphere.” 

Like the new print media which drove the rise of nationalism, we can interpret the global internet as the mother of new political identities, of micro-nationalisms and never-before-seen ideologies, imagined communities birthed by the online world’s partisan dynamics. Yet perhaps the death of the Westphalian state has been pronounced too early: we are already witnessing the first stirrings of deglobalisation as the nation-state, desperately fighting for its own survival, seeks to regain control of its own destiny. 

The increasing regulation of social media, like the re-erection of barriers between the free flow of capital and people, perhaps marks a resurgence of the Westphalian system. States that have come to rely on proxies to do their fighting for them may yet be forced to return to wars of citizen soldiers to preserve their place in a newly fractured global system. To win a conflict between peer competitors, wars of necessity and not choice, states will be forced to reassert their control  of both physical and virtual space in a way we have not seen in decades. Krieg & Rickli’s book is a valuable study of a neo-medieval order that may already be receding: if the high water mark of globalisation has already been reached, then its ebbing tide may yet reveal the Westphalian system born anew. 


Aris Roussinos is an UnHerd columnist and a former war reporter.

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David Lawler
David Lawler
3 years ago

Not allowing backward societies to migrate to the west in their millions might help

Last edited 3 years ago by David Lawler
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  David Lawler

Only for a very short period.

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

That never really works. Those who can afford to make the journey tend to be the brightest and best of their nations; those who, when the fighting eventually stops, will be needed to rebuild their societies.
Refugees, once they have arrived in a safe, prosperous country, tend to make a new life there. Having been forced to give up one successful life, it is understandable that they do not wish to give up another voluntarily.
We are told that we must do more to help these “most vulnerable people”, but those who arrive in Europe are not usually the most vulnerable. They are still stuck at home, and if we genuinely want to help them in the long term, we should encourage to stay in the country those who will be needed later, so that they might lead the reconstruction when the time comes.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  David Brown

How do you propose to encourage them to stay in their countries? Surely not as this ‘encouragement’ has been exercised in the past.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  David Brown

I didn’t mean to imply the west should allow large scale migration. I meant the west will shortly be affected on a big scale, at home, not so much by the proxy wars it is conducting, but by the technologies it has created (currently being used to conduct those wars), in the same, and also, different ways. Now the technologies are there, there is no avoiding the ensuing chaos. For anyone. Not that the option to pick and choose which technologies you create (or utilise) ever existed – tech advance is a package deal, and comes with what it comes with.

Josie Bowen
Josie Bowen
3 years ago
Reply to  David Brown

You are correct, those who have the means to take the journey are not the most vulnerable.

Bertie B
Bertie B
3 years ago
Reply to  David Lawler

I’m not sure you have quite followed the thread of the article. “backward” societies (as you call them) might be a problem, but they don’t have to be in the West to influence the West or its people.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago
Reply to  Bertie B

It is truly remarkable that we see images of street protests and backbiting and brawls overseas, and now have imported this to our own ways of life.
It also is a real drag that we allow the conflicts from the home countries to continue by proxy in Western nations. There is no “leave the cr*p you are supposedly escaping at theborder when you enter.”
I think it is rather parasitism, like cuckoo birds laying eggs in other birds nests, by political actors who come.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Delszsen

One aspect of modern imperialism has been the change from direct rule to rule by proxies and agents. Those at the dirty end of the stick turn out to be able to figure out who’s at the other end and respond accordingly.

ricksanchez769
ricksanchez769
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

The liberal world order was never interested in peace – only power and control.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  David Lawler

Especially when, owing to our own educational and welfare systems, we have enough of our own uneducated and uncivilised to deal with. And that’s just the politicians.

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago
Reply to  David Lawler

Yes, the more we bring people from places like Syria, Somalia and Iraq here, don’t be surprised if society here starts to resemble Syria, Somalia and Iraq. This is undermining the nation states of Europe.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

You can only bring people from over there to over here for so long before over here starts to look like over there.

Peter de Barra
Peter de Barra
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

… axiomatic : when people come, their culture comes : Rochdale, Rotherham…

Helen Lang
Helen Lang
3 years ago
Reply to  Peter de Barra

Nah, you just gotta be more like the Amerrcins, look how well our melting pot’s working!

Jonesy Moon
Jonesy Moon
3 years ago
Reply to  Helen Lang

LOL

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Most big cities its been doing that for man a year already.

Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
3 years ago
Reply to  David Lawler

I’m not sure that what this article is describing is caused by “backward societies.” Reading this, they might well say the same about the west.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago

I think many are crying. Many come to escape and did actually look to the West as a beacon. Yet the West sold out their dreams by letting in so many bad actors.

michael.ekinsmyth
michael.ekinsmyth
3 years ago
Reply to  David Lawler

Why restrict English emigration?

Eric Blair
Eric Blair
3 years ago
Reply to  David Lawler

Maybe if the west stopped destroying “backwards” countries militarily and economically the people living there wouldn’t feel the need to migrate to wealthier countries. Western governments have perfected the art of shirking responsibility for fixing their self-created problems and blaming their woes on scary foreign devils.

If the west wants to live in peace it needs to stop exploiting the global south via the IMF/World Bank, drop the delusional belief that liberalism is the natural ‘end of history’, rather than an ideology, and give up the supremacist idea that liberal countries have a divine right to wage aggressive war thousands of miles from their borders and force other countries to submit to western political and economic domination.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
3 years ago

Mostly, I want to say: “thank you for this well-written and interesting article”. But somehow, I also feel like saying: “cheers mate, you just depressed me on a Monday morning.”

Last edited 3 years ago by Katharine Eyre
Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

Yup, and yup.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

“The liberal world order has failed to usher in global peace”
as will any and every “world order” since world order isn’t a thing.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

Well, there are many who would like ‘world order’ to be a thing. Whether or not they will achieve it is another matter. Probably not, given that those who seek it tend to be incompetent, particularly compared to the Chinese, who will probably beat them to it.

Bertie B
Bertie B
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

With the Chinese view of world order?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Bertie B

Yes. Perhaps. Would you put your money on anyone else right now? The US has become a divided gerontracy and the Anglosphere in general is being undermined by forces and trends too numerous to list here.
Meanwhile the EU has been a disaster for 20 years and cannot even organise a mass vaccination campaign, one of the few useful things a state – if you want to call the EU a state – does.
Russia is too small to impose a world order but the disastrous policies of the US and NATO have driven Russia into a growing alliance with China, and they will he happy to help China wherever possible.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I feel our leaders are still playing high school government. We are the future of America speeches and all that. They do not look at the big picture, but play petty games. I am pro mask,and it still seems stupid how much time we talk about masks and let the politicians waste important congressional time. Someone take Pelosi to the hairdresser and lock the door on her for a month, please. Give Fauci a long holiday and basically let’s have a new list of items to tackle.
We pay for these people to play their stupid games that benefit only themselves. Heavy sigh. Why do we aspire to be, say, Mexico?

Last edited 3 years ago by Alex Delszsen
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Wanting “world order” to be a thing and it being a thing are radically different.

henk korbee
henk korbee
3 years ago

You’re right. It’s only some kind of phantasy the world should be. There isn’t any world-order to find but some want to have such an ‘order’ by transferring national political power to a central world-institute.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  henk korbee

If that sort of thing worked, the EU would not be such a disaster. If a central institute can’t even work with 27 European nations, how is it going to work with the entire world.

Geoff H
Geoff H
3 years ago

Quite so. Unfortunately, it is not ‘World Order’ per-se that the individual nations want, but rather their idea of what constitutes world order, which, regrettably, is not in line with what someone else wants.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  henk korbee

The intelligence community who dream up these ideas seem to be constantly surprised that the world doesn’t react as they expect. The West has interfered in 3 of the most secular muslim countries-Iraq , Libya and now Syria and far from ‘containing’ whatever they hope to contain, things have just got worse.The west cannot take the overflow from these troubled regions, perhaps people in their billions, without turning into a troubled region itself without the finances left to help others.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

You have an unusual definition of “interfered”. Did the US interfere with Germany twice in the first half of the last century? Syria kills its own people, should we just look the other way? Why there and not with Germany?
Iraq invaded a neighboring country. All okay, nothing to see here? After being forced out of it, Iraq then refused to meet its UN surrender obligations. If this were a European country being invaded, no one would call it “interference” for action to be taken against the invader. Why the hypocrisy?

Robert Montgomery
Robert Montgomery
3 years ago

You write nonsense, Western armedand supplied terrorists fed in through Turkey,Jordan and Iraq have been responsible for a lot of the killing in Syria, also over 100,000 of the dead are SAA and allied militia, did Assad kill them too? Your comment about Iraq “not meeting its surrender obligations” is even worse, not even the war criminals who ordered the illegal invasion and occupation pretend any more that Iraq had WMD. “7 countries in 5 years starting with Iraq then Syria Lebanon, libya, Somalia Sudan then finishing with Iran” General W Clarke, that was BEFORE the invasion of Iraq and 10 years before the war in Syria started. Have you been in a coma for 20 years?

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

Pretending that Iraq did not invade Kuwait is nonsense. Were you asleep at the time? If you can show how Iraq met it’s surrender obligations under UNSC resolutions, I invite you to do so. Your comments make it highly unlikely that you have even read the UNSC resolutions concerning Iraq, as you don’t appear to know what Iraq was required to do to avoid a resumption of activities stopped by the ceasefire. Your defense of Assad is touching but the facts are not on your side.

Robert Montgomery
Robert Montgomery
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Your reply is kind of contradictory. Those (in your opinion, others may disagree) most secular Muslim countries were not “troubled” regions till the supposed “liberal West” as you put it interfered. Libya topped the tables in terms of prosperity, education, hospital care etc till the West decided to intervene in a civil war Gaddafi was winning, now there are 3 groups claiming to be the government and slave markets, we did that.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

“most secular Muslim countries were not “troubled” regions till the supposed “liberal West” as you put it interfered.”
are you auditioning to be a comedian?

Kate H. Armstrong
Kate H. Armstrong
3 years ago
  • thank you for both your posts; which convey the best and most intelligent/informed, summary I have yet read of Western ‘interference’ in “secular Muslim states”. In today’s world, anyone who believes one word of that so-called ‘global institution’ (i.e. United Nations), has clearly been brainwashed by the self-aggrandising, financially motivated politicians, best described in ‘Brave New World’.
kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

I agree with you , that is what I was saying -obviously not very clearly.

Alex Mitchell
Alex Mitchell
3 years ago

Not “troubled” just in the middle of a civil war? What does it take to be troubled on their own?

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago

Throw in the use of integrated drones in the near future, and the first battle fought between an army of people, and an army of drones – on the ground, low flying and high flying. Possible hundreds of thousands, wave after wave, all in communication with each other, all using AI to decide which targets to eliminate and you will see the first battle where people lose to AI and robotics. (Think of those massive drone displays that China does on New Years day etc)
That will change war forever.
The country that effectively fields the AI, drones and robotics will face no casualties at all and so be eager to fight casualty free wars against low tech human armies.
Then it will be a technological arms race, and AI arms race. Whoever gets the lead first could well hold it forever by defeating all the competitors before they even get a chance to catch up.
The biggest wars are ahead of us.
The illiterate third worlders we have imported will be no use in this technological field of high tech engineers. They won’t even be worth anything as soldiers.

Last edited 3 years ago by Richard E
Corrie Mooney
Corrie Mooney
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

This is the dystopian future we are most likely to face.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

They vote and create jobs for those in religion and state who earn from migration and social programs.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

Actually, drones, powerful computers, and AI are widely available and are ideal weapons for terrorists and insurgents since a massive establishment such as World War 2-style army isn’t needed for them. Of course the established powers will also use them, but in an increasingly chaotic environment.

Jon Walmsley
Jon Walmsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

War has always fundamentally been a ‘technological arms race’ – the first hunter-gatherers to develop spears not just for hunting but for warfare would have been the most successful warriors back in prehistoric times, so not much has changed in that respect – just the sophistication of the tools and the scope and scale of the destruction. Oh, and the extent of human folly given we’ve been around tens of thousands of years (in terms of hunter-gatherers) and we still haven’t figured out how to live together without war. If we’re even still around in 10,000 more years time, it wouldn’t surprise me if we still hadn’t learned how!

Last edited 3 years ago by Jon Walmsley
Russ Littler
Russ Littler
3 years ago

When are the public going to get it through their thick skulls that “the globalists” want war, they want chaos, they want panic and fear, they want riots, they want upheaval, they want displaced peoples, they want famine, they want division. When we look back, ever since Blair and Bush, the Clintons, Obama, Kerry, Rice, Bolton, etc, these are all war-mongering pawns of the military industrial complex, the globalists. The man everyone love to hate (Donald Trump), was the only one who tried to broker peace.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

They are just Narco capitalists in good guy hats.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Russ Littler

Sadly I think you are correct , but what is their purpose-do they gain financially in some way , is it a distraction for the rest of us so we don’t organize or are they just anarchists?

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

To make the whole world into a third-world state with them as despotic rulers. What we are witnessing now are the breaking of social contracts and betrayal of the people by once-trusted institutions. We already see it with the media which has positioned itself as a bullying cultural scold.

William Harvey
William Harvey
3 years ago

You may wan to consider that it is possible that having the borders of “countries/states” in Mid east and Africa entirely redrawn by Europeans at various points over the last 150 years may contributed to the multi ethnic squabbling that we are now witnessing. Syria/Iraq(Mesopotamia)/Iran(Persia) all had their physical geography dictated to them with virtually no thought to the ethnicities/cultures/peoples that were living there. No small surprise then, that these groups are now trying to redraw these borders via the bomb and gun.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  William Harvey

Yes, there was peace throughout the Middle East right up until 150 years ago. Seriously, do you really believe that?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

There were major wars in Europe until 70 years ago as Nation States fought to establish and differentiate themselves. I think its fair to point out that attempts to impose the same nation state solution elsewhere in the world might be contributing to current conflicts.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

those things may contribute but when do we grant that Arabs are human beings with agency, just like Europeans? That maybe, just maybe, they have the capacity to form their own societies but instead choose to bog down in endless bickering and warfare?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I don’t disagree (though I wouldn’t restrict it to Arabs) – and continued and disingenuous meddling from outside the region doesn’t seem to be helping.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

They have always been bogged down in warfare. It’s a western affectation to believe that except for the west the Middle East would be a bastion of peace. It never has been, at any time.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

That has certainly been their history. But some see history as beginning about 1938. And like Europeans, middle easterners have been capable of things like genocide and invasion of neighboring countries. When Europeans do that, the rest of the west is required to jump right in and make it stop. When Iraq invades Kuwait, oh well, no big deal, let’s not meddle. It’s a very Eurocentric view.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Seventy years ago? There were wars in Europe much more recently than that. What you meant is that Europe hasn’t caused a world war in 70 years which is not the same thing as an absence of wars. And there have been wars in the Middle East for hundreds of years.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

Fair points. The more recent wars in Europe providing further evidence that the desire to establish Nation States can create or encourage conflict. I suppose my point is that the concept of the Nation State was a fix adopted by European Nations for a relatively short period of time specific to European circumstances, European religion and the growth of the European version of capitalism. As a war avoidance scheme it wasn’t a very successful exercise. Exporting it as a fix for regions with very different histories and circumstances is proving similarly unsuccessful.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

You mean you actually know an alternative to the nation state that will be much more peaceful?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

There are plenty of alternatives which may or may not be more peaceful ranging from Empires to International Federations – one fix does not necessarily fit all.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

It wasn’t the drive to create nation states that led to recent wars in Europe. It was based far more on religious conflict.
The Middle East has been war torn for hundreds and hundreds of years, long before anyone tried to create a nation state out of any of them. And you are overlooking the impact of tribal conflict which long predates anything to do with nation states. You’re also assuming that only Europeans create nation states which of course is far from true. Sorry, much as you’d like to, blaming everything on Europeans and nation states simply isn’t factual.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

I have not said I blame Europeans or Nation States for everything. I said they have contributed to conflict.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Actually, what you said was this…..”The more recent wars in Europe providing further evidence that the desire to establish Nation States can create or encourage conflict.”
And as I pointed out, that is untrue regarding recent European wars which were primarily driven by religion. It’s also untrue regarding the Middle East and if you had any historical knowledge of the Middle East, you’d know that.

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago

Islam has been the religion of war from the 600’s until the present day. So let’s assume we are 100% blamed for all Middle Eastern conflicts of the last 100 years or so. How do you explain the war and destruction of the 1300 years before that.
And of course, they are welcome to redraw their borders.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

So what were the Crusades about. Christian pacifism?

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

It was about trying to reclaim the city where Christianity started from the invaders.

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

reclaiming the holy lands from the muslim invaders

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

In a way. There had been several Muslim incursions by then (southern Spain the rest of the Mediterranean). Byzantium also fell to Muslim invaders later on in the 1400s.

jdeclancashen
jdeclancashen
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

A very belated response to almost 5 centuries of lslamic holy war against the kuffar. The Crusades only lasted a couple of centuries, the last crusader castle fell 1291. But fourteen centuries of jihad get a pass from islamists and their. apologists

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Richard E

Why would we be blamed for conflicts in the Middle East when as you note they have been going on for hundreds of years?

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

But they used to involve and be fought by the people who lived there competing for the resources of the region – now they involve and are fought by the people who live there on behalf of other people who don’t live there competing for the resources of the region.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Well, no, that isn’t accurate at all. It wasn’t resources that caused most conflict in the Middle East over the centuries. Oil wasn’t discovered in Saudi Arabia until the 1930s. Does history only go back to the 1930s?
What resources do you believe the UK and US are competing for in the region? the UK and US are both energy independent.
It was tribal affiliation and religion that caused most of the conflict. You also overlook the entire concept of allied people. If there is no such thing as allies then the US sure threw an awful lot of lives away in Europe in the first half of the 20th century.
You give Europeans far more credit than they deserve. The Middle East has been a bastion of conflict and war for centuries. It isn’t all about Europe.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago

Resources prior to oil include land, grazing rights, water, trading routes, slaves, sea ports, markets…
The UK stopped being energy independent in 2005 – 35% primary fuels were imported in 2019.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

Detail for us how the resources you mention drove the founding of the state of Saudi Arabia. You do not appear to even recognize the impact of religion throughout the Middle East, the primary driver of instability for centuries.
Detail how much oil the UK derives from plundering the Middle East. IOW, back this up…”now they involve and are fought by the people who live there on behalf of other people who don’t live there competing for the resources of the region.”
You’ll need to show specifically how the UK is competing for the resources of the region and how anything is being fought on its behalf. These glib little things you toss out may be easy to say, much harder to back up.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

Thats the myth that is now taught as fact that the rest of the world was a veritable eden before the wicked Europeans turned up and spoilt it all

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Yes, in some ways it’s quite arrogant. Everything was peaceful until we showed up with our nation state ideas. As if the nation state is a solely European concept which would be huge news throughout much of the world. You hear this sort of arrogance, it’s all on us, we are the cause of all the mess, primarily from Brits. Other Europeans are not as quick to let other regions off the hook for centuries of religious and tribal warfare.

Jonathan Weil
Jonathan Weil
3 years ago

Well… relatively speaking… from about the sixteenth century on… yes? Most of the region was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, which whatever its failings mostly kept the peace, most the time.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jonathan Weil
Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan Weil

Islam emerged in the Middle East in the early 7th century. The al Saud dynasty (in what is today Saudi Arabia) established an emirate, a form of nation state in the mid 1700’s. But the actual state of Saudi Arabia wasn’t founded until the early 1900s and that was through conquest of 4 separate regions, all without European help or interference. From the 7th century right through to the early 1900s conflict was constant between tribes in the region as various dynasties founded their own caliphates.

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
John Lewis
John Lewis
3 years ago
Reply to  William Harvey

I think the problem is that rather than redrawing their borders they are establishing ever-widening enclaves throughout the western world wherein retaining their tribal identities is a gimme.

Basically bringing conflict to a town near you.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago
Reply to  John Lewis

People are happier with their own communities. I was using a computer at a Turkish shop in Germany. A bunch of Turks came in and everyone got so happy. Their faces froze for a moment when they saw me. Meanwhile, “white” people don’t like other “white” people. I think of all the Americans abroad who continually signal how they ar not like “other” Americans.
At one Christmas market in Germany, I thought I must be in Bethlehem, even hearing Arabic on three sides of me.
Well, the locals do get their culture swallowed up, and I suppose we in the West think that neighborhoods should change. I suppose this is what the people want, speeded up by their leaders.
I like to be on holiday, but then I want to be in the community I choose, that feels like home.
Now there iseveryday sexism in Germany, and it was not like that before. It feels more violent. Yet everyone in the West thinks change is good.

Jonesy Moon
Jonesy Moon
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Delszsen

not everyone.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
3 years ago
Reply to  William Harvey

The only difference between the ME now and 100 years ago is that weapons now are more destructive.

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Yes, but no!!
William the Conqueror did a very destructive job in the “Harrying of the North”, only using swords.
However he had no social media to worry about. So he could wipe out wholes villages and destroy all the food stores he could find.
It has been estimated that 100,000 died (probably mostly of starvation). To put that into context, that is roughly equivalent to 5,000,000 at todays population.
The West still has the military power to do similar actions. But rightly (or wrongly) does not have the stomach to do so, which makes winning wars difficult!

Richard E
Richard E
3 years ago
Reply to  William Harvey

If they wish to redraw their borders there is nothing to stop them doing so.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
3 years ago
Reply to  William Harvey

The borderless tribal deserts of Arabia and Africa could never survive as such from the moment valuable mineral and hydrocarbon reserves were found.

Corrie Mooney
Corrie Mooney
3 years ago
Reply to  William Harvey

Western nation states are overwhelmingly not monoethnic blocks. There is something to the idea that, as tumultuous and imperfect a road as it has been, they’ve been able to have nation states without uniformity is the necessary ingredient.
That ingredient I think is western culture, namely the combination of the rule of law, humanism (Christian and post Christian) and Liberalism within a cultural framework.
Non-western states need to find their own secret sauce along these lines. Considering the other forms of civilisation are The City State (not going to happen) or Empires, we really need to embrace the idea of the Nation State, and ensure its healthy maintenance.

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
3 years ago
Reply to  William Harvey

The boundaries have been redrawn by many empires over the centuries.
After all the Europeans mostly created new countries when the Turkish (Ottoman) Empire in the region collapsed.

Tom Fox
Tom Fox
3 years ago

If we don’t want chaos over there and refugees over here, maybe we should stop backing rebellions in the Middle East and elsewhere. We have systematically destroyed the stability of a variety of places by either invading them ourselves, or backing rebellions which soon morphed from liberal sounding rebellions, demanding democracy into platforms for crazy Islamist militia, and the worst of the worst, ISIL fiefdoms producing vast numbers of displaced people. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and Syria. ALL of these were disasters for us in the West, and all but one of them promoted vast movements of unsuitable people to our shores. LEARN A LESSON! THE LIBERAL MINDED MIDDLE CLASS REBELS DEMAND DEMOCRACY, BUT THEY WONT BE THE ONES THAT DO THE FIGHTING AND END UP WITH POWER. By supporting rebellions, we are probably promoting an opportunity for extremist fighters to take over and wreak havoc. Rebel armies are almost never made up of democratic minded intellectuals. The middle classes start the street protest, but they are conspicuously absent when the guns are handed out. The men who end up with guns are the power mad psychopaths, many of them with terrible ideologies.

Last edited 3 years ago by Tom Fox
Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
3 years ago
Reply to  Tom Fox

‘The middle classes start the street protest, but they are conspicuously absent when the guns are handed out.’

Very true. They outsource their dirty work to others, whilst ensuring their own privileges are protected. And then dare to lecture the rest of us on multiculturalism – a philosphy they take care not to live by themselves.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

I don’t know about Wesphalia, but we are certainly living through Western Failure.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
Matt Spencer
Matt Spencer
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Not really, all that’s happening is the thirty year post-Cold War victory lap is coming to an end and the regular international power bloc competitiveness (as seen throughout human history) is reasserting itself. It was always going to happen, but to those of us who grew up during a time when our power and the success of our way of life was taken for granted it can be quite frightening.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Matt Spencer

I think the post-Cold war victory lap ended after the Iraq debacle, or possibly even on 9/11. Since then, the West has blundered disastrously abroad and become more and more authoritarian at home, while running its societies for the benefit of international finance.
China and Russia have now see through this. They know that the West’s leaders are largely devoid of all intelligence and integrity. China is starting to turn the screw and Russia openly mocks the EU and the West, with good reason.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago

I’m sure that at some point many found the “no borders, ergo no wars” ideology of globalism/post-nationalism to be an attractive and worthy feature but as the article mentions, wars haven’t stopped and a wide range of opportunists have taken advantage of the gaping loopholes provided in the pursuit of the globalist dream.
Post-nationalists seem to have no problem ignoring such inconvenient truths and continue to bang on about the wonders of their new world order while at the same time making clear that they detest everything about nationalism, everything that is except for the nationalist taxes which finance their dream in the first place.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
3 years ago

Nice piece. Depressing, but largely agree we are headed for chaos. And while it might seem the victims of technologies created by the advanced nations are and will remain mostly those in less advanced nations, this is only the case for a very brief period: various technology enabled effects are about to affect their creators in various chaotic ways, who might think they are immune.

Algorithmic technologies obviate all distinction between the simulation and the realities they model, in both directions. So that Russian propaganda video looks exactly like a video game. And putting on some VR kit feels like a real visit to Iceland or Australia – all the way to experiencing the feeling of water and cold and so on. And tapping your mobile to pay for goods represents your labor turned into a stream of bits stored in some silent datacenter in a form that bears no relation to your perception to the reality of your labor. So humans both anthropomorphise their virtual creations modelling some physical reality, and simultaneously treat the reality being modelled as a simulation.

And in truth, there is no real way to say that a reality being modelled by technology is any less real, so perhaps it is our attachment to our historical experience of reality that is the fallacy.

David Weare
David Weare
3 years ago

A failure on the part of Western governments & Institutions to uphold the standards of probity and ethics that they espouse.
Conservatism (Small c) recognised the weakness of man. And made an accommodation for this. But excess corruption, rent seeking, hypocrisy over and above this allowance since 1945 has eroded Western liberal authority.
Now it’s time to pay.
Or put it another way, we didn’t share properly and now it’s time to give the toy back.

David Probert
David Probert
3 years ago

Interesting article. Far from reaching their “High Water Mark” Globalisation forces currently seem to making a bid for world domination.
The ‘anarchy’ around the world has been imposed of course by the United States Neo Cons pushing of their ‘New American Century’ doctrine of fermenting discord and destabilisation everywhere they sense a challenge to US interests and hegemony
The result has been a disaster for the whole world – from Libya where it generated the refugee exodus overwhelming to Syria ( likewise) form Iraq to Ukraine and Afghanistan we see the results of US meddling – the US has now lost any possibility of influencing events in Iran as the Mullahs turn to Russia and China for allies and we have now also seem the Deep State turning on its own ‘deplorables’ US backyard. Biden’s deranged opening h of the Southern border will have incalculable consequences for the stability of US society – will Texas even vote to seceded from the Union?

The Chinese of course are busy imposing their own CCP model order where their writ runs and their writ is expanding globally – even into the workings of western states

The real truth behind the origin and planning of the “Covid Crisis” is slowly seeping out – a major very weighty legal challenge in Italy on the who basis of the ‘pandemic’ and its handling by the Italian Government and Medical Establishment is currently underway in Rome and serious legal challenges to both Government actions and individuals are also underway in the UK and Germany
The suggestion of total destabilisation and rocking of Western societies through the staging a “Medical Emergency” in order to impose mass vaccinations and a New World Oder seems a science fiction fantasy, easily dismissed as wacko “conspiracy theory’ only a year ago . However, with every lockdown day that passes more people must be asking themselves what is really happening and whether it is “anarchy” or really a dystopian, totalitarian tyranny drive by a never ending “Medical Emergency”that is coming to the whole western world ?

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago

Aside—Are regional wars a way for middle class people to get their free entry into E.U. Countries? I ran into a guy getting registered from Syria, who was with his cousin, already in Germany. They said that the war was far away, but they would be foolish not to take Mrs. Merkel up on her invitation to move all the relatives to Germany.
African families with three or four children, all in designer labels, with expensive phones and handbags, were getting tours in my neighbourhood in Germany in 2016. Anecdotal evidence, but it sure pays to be middle class from a disadvantaged nation, if you want a government financed move to Germany. They aren’t even means tested, as their own citizens, or citizens from “advantaged” countries are, to profit from government support. Yes, anecdotal evidence.
Europe profits from the brain drain of other countries, their leaders are somehow living well, and the middle classes seem happy to jump ship, too.

Last edited 3 years ago by Alex Delszsen
Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

I was thinking about this very thing earlier today. I think what we’re witnessing is the rapid externalization of the internet world into the real world.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

We let ourselves be proxies for their wars while they accumulate. Until they pick us up off the street, get us high on drugs, and make us fight for their territory, we should resist.

M Spahn
M Spahn
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Dorsley

Probably so.

Real Horrorshow
Real Horrorshow
3 years ago

I’m not sure that many of the arguments in this article stand up to examination:

The liberal world order has failed to usher in global peace.

I wasn’t aware that the liberal democracies of the world had such an obligation. Efforts to do so in the 19th and 20th centuries are now labelled “imperialism” and that’s a no-no. American intervention has made bad situations worse for the most part and cost a good deal of blood and treasure. Reducing such operations to stand-off weapons and proxies seems only sensible if the West is to be involved at all – and our arms industry seems determined to be so.
As for these proxies, the writer seems keen to avoid ascribing them any agency or responsibility. Globalisation made them do it. Twitter made them do it. No, these people are volunteers. They kill each other because they want to. You may as well blame Mikhail Kalashnikov for providing the means.
A few minor points:

social media would inspire young British citizens to journey to the Middle East to keep captured minorities as slaves

There is key descriptor missing here. What matters about these people is not that they were young or British but that they were Muslim. Since the Rotherham scandal broke, investigations have established that every city in Britain, with a substantial Muslim population, has experienced large scale and decades long sexual exploitation of vulnerable, non-Muslim girls by (mainly Pakistani) Muslim men. It is not surprising to see young British Muslims eager to go the Middle East to do the same thing. Like the police and local authorities, our media seem keen to pretend this isn’t a problem. It is.

America’s generation-long war on terror has come home, as a new Green Zone sprouts up in the heart of the imperial capital and terror experts refocus their gaze on the internal enemy

I don’t believe that America’s domestic terrorism has any substantial connection with the “war on terror”. The gun-toting, racist, nationalist element in American society has its origins far earlier than that. They go back at least to the Civil War and probably to the American Revolution. Remember one of the causes of the latter was Britain’s refusal to provide troops for Western expansion unless the colonists paid more taxes to fund it.

Howard Beale
Howard Beale
3 years ago

I agree with a lot that is being said, but I think the problem is much deeper than that. Our insanity with regard  the middle east has been going on for decades. And I believe that what we are dealing with today is a leadership of intellectuals, the educated elite who have no grounding in the realities of the human condition. These intellectuals are held in and hold themselves in high esteem. They are schooled from Kindergarten through college and graduate school and beyond. But most have never owned and run a business.
What these intellectuals fail to understand is that from a businessman’s perspective (whether Henry Ford or the Walton family) doctors, lawyers, accountants, MBA’s, etc. are functionaries. A good business man gathers information
 all thoughts, ideas, graphs and spreadsheets from experts in their fields. The boss
the responsible person makes his or her determination as to how to proceed and has to deal with the consequences.
The intellectuals who now run things in the US make rules and pass bills that damage people lives and then get reelected, or if they are appointed (like appointed to head the EPA or DOB, etc.) there are no consequences to their lives. They get replaced perhaps and then show up as a Czar!
 

philipewan28
philipewan28
3 years ago

What we are seeing is not so much the collapse of the Westphalian system, as the failures of many of the postcolonial countries, that became part of the international community during the 20th century, to adopt the Westphalian covenant of protecting all their citizens, rather than only the client groups of those in power. The Treaty of Westphalia created a European rather than a world order, and is a model yet to succeed in much of Africa and Asia.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  philipewan28

Or, as I often put it: ‘There has been a failure to turn the Third World into the First World, so they have decided to turn the First World into the Third World’.

Jonesy Moon
Jonesy Moon
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

so this.

Deb Grant
Deb Grant
3 years ago

Your article mentions warring in Islamic nations and nations with substantial Muslim populations almost exclusively. It seems that the medieval religion, Islam, has the most conflict in it’s own nations as well as involvement in fundamentalist terrorism worldwide. It’s a religion which subjugates half of it’s people, leaving testosterone unchecked. When more of its women are educated, things may improve.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Deb Grant

A few years ago, the UN analysed something like the largest 130 or so violent conflicts then taking place across the world. Something like 90% of them involved the religion of which you speak. It is utterly incompatible with any other belief system of form of existence, and often incompatible with itself.

Alex Delszsen
Alex Delszsen
3 years ago

There will only be armies of citizen soldiers through conscription and coercion. Or making female armies, as men of fighting age migrate out of a country. In the U.S. fewer Conservatives will want to defend “America’s values” overseas.
Are we having proxy wars through BLM and anti mask protests? We certainly have been taught to hate ourselves as Americans since the 1960s.

Jeff Andrews
Jeff Andrews
3 years ago

Meanwhile we are trapped in our country and in some cases in our homes by the govt that helped cause this mess. Well as they’ve found out recently even the govts militia, the policd, ard having trouble stopping total anarchy break out here in Britain.

Paul Ansell
Paul Ansell
3 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Andrews

What can you expect when;
The guy in charge of the policing of the Colston demo in Bristol kept his head down rather than enforce the law……..
In London, the Police took the knee when they confronted the BLM rioters thus conceding any authority.
They publicly admitted turning a blind eye to the Grooming gangs in the Midlands………
Our Police service is thus viewed as ineffective and hamstrung by the politics of its “leadership”..

Zorro Tomorrow
Zorro Tomorrow
3 years ago

This is like some debating club doing a post mortem on the future. One thing’s for sure a huge majority of westerners have probably forgotten there was trouble in Iraq and Syria. Strictly or the Bake off, cook off, pottery off, will be on. If the NWO thought a pandemic would stop people moving about they must be liberals themselves. The world has never been at peace. We had short breaks, straw boaters and picnic baskets punting down the Cam with a biplane put-put- putting overhead. Behind the scenes Mitchell developing the Spitfire for the oncoming storm. Sadly we’re due a war, some of our most peaceful times were when we had nukes pointing at each other. UK is practically in a Cold War with the EU. How Putin and Xi must laugh!
Invest in inflatable boats. When the day comes the itinerary will go into reverse. Easily done with a click on their iphone 12s and Samsung S whatevers.

Corrie Mooney
Corrie Mooney
3 years ago

Great article, but it’s tough to see where things will go. More chaos with less sovereignty (and because of), or a resurgence of the Westphalian order.
As much as I prefer the latter, there seem to be scant signs of a competent representation of it in the West outside the UK.

Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith
3 years ago

In the circumstances would it not be a good idea to at least try to regulate and record who comes and who goes. At present the UK makes little effort over who comes here and none for those that leave. Departures have not been checked and recorded for two decades.
We should also let it be known by actions not by announcements that attacks on UK interests will get a response. No one is surprised when Israel attacks terrorist camps and individuals soon after an attack on its citizens and land and we should build the same reputation.
Turning the other cheek has not worked.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Smith

Well it was certainly a waste of time filling in the census since it is estimated there are at least 10 million more unrecorded people in Britain.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Estimated by whom?
That sounds like urban-myth-making and an attempt to pre-empt the data which (next year) will emerge from the Census.

Gary Baxter
Gary Baxter
3 years ago

The sad question is whether its too late to save the West from decline and demise. If it is, that will be the greatest setback of the humankind. (NB No subjunctive mood is used here.)

Leslie Cook
Leslie Cook
3 years ago

The elephant in the room is the fact that we are allowing our government to engage in proxy wars we do not have to engage in. Global competitive capital interests drive it and the propaganda that allows it. We point the finger at China, Russia, Syria, etc, to deflect responsibility for these proxy wars. It does not have to be so. Corporate media hugely culpable for continuing this false construct.

Phil Bolton
Phil Bolton
3 years ago

It seems that liberalism is to blame for nearly everything these days.

Corrie Mooney
Corrie Mooney
3 years ago

Of course, add to this the list of potentially failing states that exist outside these examples, the increasing multi-polarity of the world (think Iran, KSA, India, United East Africa, etc. etc.), population pressures, environmental pressures (including, but definitely not limited to global warming), economic pressures from this and the next pandemic… and I’m in for a gloomy morning.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago

“the burden of fighting is shifted to expendable local proxies”
To some extent, but in Afghanistan and Syria at least, international jihadis from far and wide were funneled in to do the destabilisation.

Last edited 3 years ago by Ian Perkins
Peter Mott
Peter Mott
3 years ago

A man called Byron Farwell wrote “Queen Vistoria’s Litle qwars” (1973). has recently been republished. I retain only the impression of the book that there were endless little action in c19 culminating in the Boer War which was not little, of course. There were over 100 little wars fought by the British from 1837-1901 which were not the mass mobilisation of wars of the c20 or Napoleonic era. The piece is interesting but I am not convinced it actually delineates anything really new.

Rufus Firefly
Rufus Firefly
3 years ago

lowering the barrier for entrance into conflict and limiting the need to end them quickly.

The most chilling thing I have read in some time.

Rob Alka
Rob Alka
3 years ago

I confess that I haven’t read every line of this interesting forum “essay”. But I get the drift, which is that world order can best be achieved by a Westphalian relationship between countries which, like people, lock their doors to avoid unwelcome or threatening visitors. Amen to that!
Implicit in that model isthat of a live & let live relationship between countries. But I contend it must stop short of an ill-fitting partnership that becomes a federalising straitjacket, which undermines an individual nation’s individuality, which leads to divorce or a “falling out”. The EU demonstrates this well, where this so-called togetherness becomes a threat to a nation’s sense of sovereignty or freedom and the pursuit of consensus (aka equality) grinds down or slows to a crawl decision-making individual and undermines aspiration, innovation and progressiveness. One ends up with a model which harks back to communism or Marxism before it discovered capitalism was here to stay. Levelling down is effortless. All it takes is a dull-minded excessively bureaucratic government. Levelling up effectively is quite another thing, beyond reach of most so-called democratic governments or theocracies or dictators.
At the same time, like the author, I too see how uneasy relationships, even based on a Westphalian model, turns into anarchy, violence and war.
I think it’s a trend that has grown out of permissiveness and an over-reliance on a misunderstood meaning of democracy. I fear that the quality of government these days is a depressing example of the low correlation between education, morality and IQ.  I see wars being conducted, threatened or “soldiering-up”, based on uncommunicativeness or diplomatic drivel, coupled with a simplistic over-reaction to the slightest intemperate but quite possibly innocent remark, which is fanned into Defcon 1 hostility, often with the “help” of media.
I sometimes wonder whether the root of the problem is that the world has become too crowded. I don’t see how the planet can be saved by adopting a Solent Green lifestyle, nor a Blade Runner lifestyle. Life has to be worth living. I believe the elephant in the room is birth control, any mention of which is greeted with by howls of Mengele-like eugenics.
Douglas Murray identified all kinds of threats to harmony within and between countries than emanate from “The Madness of Crowds”, which in many ways I see as the outward appearance of deliberately evil subversion and anarchy by plotters within or beyond a given country, whose “reason for being” can range from being dangerously Useful Idiots to a very organised enemy of another country.  I don’t there are communists under my bed but I’m pretty sure there are a lot of Left Wingers agitators out in the street when they’re not bumming around in academia or making mayhem from their bedsitter.
So I thank Aris Roussinos for a detailed analysis of the problems and causes of world disorder and violence. How about the next step being some bullet point suggestions on what to do about it?

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago

I deny the contrast between ‘liberal’ and ‘illiberal’. What these conflicts have in common is that they are, in origin, religious, and on both sides ‘illiberal’, and they involve various instances of a particular kind of ‘religion‘. Globalist, intent on making the whole world a conformist desert and establishing ‘peace’, but only in terms of a religious (overt or disguised) goal.
The prevailing ‘religion’ in the west derives from late-medieval Catholicism (as opposed to the early which was ‘sceptical’), which never hid its goal of, in time, bringing every human being under the wing of the one Church. This Church used to actively boast of its spread, and the number of its adherents was frequently brandished about, as if the unthinking agreement of adherents was a guarantee of ‘truth’. It hated dissidents and heretics, and actively tried to dispose of them (of course the stated rationale of this behaviour was ‘concern for men’s souls’ – which is exactly the same rationale as that of today’s ‘woke’ religious warriors (whether ‘communists’ or ‘socialists’), who are the long-term anti-intellectual descendants of these people).
Strangely it was the conviction that the making-available of as much information as possible about the origins of ‘the faith’ would promote belief which led to the first intra-religious breakdown and subsequent ‘religious wars’ in the West. Many scholars who had assumed that close study of the Biblical texts would lead everyone closer to uniform belief suddenly noticed that one result of this process is that they ceased to believe that what the documents said was ‘true’ and believed that these documents were not, in truth, any kind of ‘history’, but ‘mere’ mythology, and that the picture of ‘Man’ as drawn therein had nothing to do with ‘reality’. Since that decisive change of mind, the entire political history of the West has been the continuing effort to re-establish this global, unchallengeable dominance of the mythological-religious world-view (one little realised example in the west, for instance, is ‘psycho-analysis’, which is basically the claim that ‘Mankind’ is ruled and led astray by sub-conscious, demonic, forces – cf ‘addiction’, rather than by free choices of its own, made as a result of conscious thought). This causes problems of course when other ‘faiths’ exist, which have identical views as to the role of religion in governing men ‘politically’, but different Gods. That is really where we are today.

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
3 years ago

Capital controls might be a good start.

Andy Duncan
Andy Duncan
3 years ago

A crisp analysis, but with a glaring omission – the role of the arms trade, the very genitals of capitalism, in the manufacture of technologies of warfare.

Mora Fields
Mora Fields
3 years ago

Terrible overuse of run-on sentences in this article.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Mora Fields

Appallingly ungrammatical absence verb in comment.

Lee Jones
Lee Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Ian Perkins

“Overuse” is a transitive verb.

Ian Perkins
Ian Perkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Lee Jones

Noun case this.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
3 years ago

I think you also have to consider that perhaps it is western governments and western mefia that like to make everyone unsafe so they can justify their increasingly authoritarian measures. I don’t think anyone in western Europe is really (statistically) less safe than 30 years ago. Even if the governments, tge media and this article say so

Tom Adams
Tom Adams
3 years ago

test

Jon Walmsley
Jon Walmsley
3 years ago

Not entirely sure what this article is trying to say? Did Anarchy ever really go away? Seems to me it’s always there, under the surface, no matter what – it just takes a match to light the tinder. Sure, the so-called ‘Westphalian’ leading or leaning nation states have, for the most part, enjoyed relative peace and stability these last 70 years or so, but there’s a reason most historians recognise this period for the anomaly it is.

War, proxy or otherwise, has of course continued apace in smaller theaters even during this otherwise relatively stable period in global order, many instigated or inflamed by the intervention of superpowers, but no order ever lasts for ever; so long as order is set against chaos anyway!

Chaos will undoubtedly have its day again, though this is like pointing out it will rain at some point; even in the desert it rains. Still, when it does, a new order will rise up to face it down and replace the old order anew, and chaos will once again sleep in its dark bower for a time before the cycle continues again, and again, and again… Only when human beings collectively recognise this cycle for what it is – that of self-inflicted madness – and finally manage to look beyond it; only then will human beings finally move beyond it.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jon Walmsley
Allan Edward Tierney
Allan Edward Tierney
3 years ago

There is a central factor not touched upon here. It is the unwillingness of western nations, specifically the USA and UK to leave well enough alone. Instead of allowing for a divergence of governmental systems from their own they insist on continuing a project to dismantle them and replace them with systems more congenial to themselves. In doing this they create justifications of all kinds and they may well seem laudable to some, but the pursuit of them is, I believe, leading to endless conflict that will not eventuate in the attainment of the goals set.

The above is of course not the sole factor involved in the present movement toward the anarchy and chaos described in this article but it very certainly is a large component of it and in my opinion the chief one.

China and Russia have in recent times engaged in policies and programs that have been intimately connected to their national interests. This is a common pursuit in the policies of the West also, and most obviously in relation to the USA and UK. But when China or Russia act in this fashion, protecting their national interests, hands are flung up in the air in the West, only we can do this.

These acts of national interest by China and Russia are then used as justification for a range of what are essentially non-military attacks on those nations, sanctions and a plethora of political and media accusations, insinuations and assertions that convey a very definite aggression. That China and Russia should respond to these obviously aggressive statements and acts is regarded as another reason to use whatever means are at hand to attack them to an even greater extent.

The final point I would like to make is that even if what is said in the article is all 100% true I believe a solution is about to be seen over the next decade. China has already begun to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. The latest GDP figure we have is a positive one, 3.5%. All western nations are looking at a decline in GDP and it may not rise into positive figures for some time to come.

My point is this; China is going to continue rising now in terms of her economy. With the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative continuing to approach Europe there must surely be a rise in influence in Europe due to the ever-enhanced economic relationship that will exist with China. Economic power will increase the level of influence China has in Europe while U.S. influence diminishes. I see this as a very positive step toward a completely new geopolitical landscape where agreements are favored far more than aggression.

The Chinese are uninterested in changing the systems of governance of western nations. War is very bad for business when you need a stable trading platform. The Chinese also have no interest in creating an empire. Neither has Russia.

China will progressively neutralize the aggressive influence of the USA and UK, the determination to remold all nations into the same governance and value systems they have now will be made to wither and the determination to inflict them will falter as the realization dawns that there is no longer ANY chance of success.

In my view China will fully quarantine the aggressive stance of both the USA and UK within the next ten years or less. despite whatever protocols were written immediately after 9/11 that no president can countermand, no matter than gaining full spectrum dominance over all nations is a requirement for American security in perpetuity a time will surely come when it will be seen that these goals are simply and obviously unattainable.

I hope to live to see that day. At 71 years of age this is not certain. But it is about all that gives me any semblance of hope for a stable future for this planet currently and for some semblance of tolerance for diversity worldwide

Last edited 3 years ago by Allan Edward Tierney
michael.ekinsmyth
michael.ekinsmyth
3 years ago

The rapidly evolving competition between China – an authoritarian mono-ethnic state – and the US – a democratic multicultural, multi-ethnic melting pot – will define the first half of the 21st Century.
Yes, China has 58 (or 59) minorities, but the overwhelming Han majority means it is essentially mono-ethnic. And, under Xi, it is becoming ever more authoritarian.
The 500 years of European out-migration effectively ended in the last quarter of the last century.
The multi-ethnic migrant countries – the US, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Chile, New Zealand – often derided as ‘settler lands’ have similar strengths/weaknesses.
Will they be able to compete with the mono-ethnic authoritarian states – China, Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, the Arab and African countries?
Will they even be able to maintain alliances with the multi-cultural European states, increasingly unable to integrate immigrants?
Anyone who cares about human rights, who is an optimist about the human condition, must hope the multi-ethnic democracies do well in this contest.
Tech empowered authoritarian surveillance states only offer a bleak future for humanity.

Arild Brock
Arild Brock
3 years ago

I belive the states themselves have contributed to the weakening of the Westphalian system. A couple of decades ago, borders were still to some extent respected, even by the US. No government openly sent soldiers across borders unless a state of war was, let’s say “recognized”. There was still the difference between spies and soldiers. Later “shameless” violations have taken place. Now there is not even shame to be “-less” of.  

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
3 years ago

The obvious counter to Globalisation must surely be Subsidiarity: an avowed but oft ignored aspiration of the EU (though in its case, sadly only diwn to nation state level).
Properly applied Subsidiarity demands that political decisions be taken at the lowest practical level and here, surely is where social media can be used lically to effectively implement that same ideal?
The article assumes belligerent proxies on the ground as a given! Sadly that may be true but is it not probable that Globalised social media is the driver in that?…whereas Localised social media would be an effective counter. The vicious crazies can feel at home in a Globalised setting supported by their likes from thousands of miles away but locally, their neighbours will know them for the useless but dangerous nutters the are and hopefully their crazed efforts can be smothered at birth before they gain traction?

Edward De Beukelaer
Edward De Beukelaer
3 years ago

I tend to have a simplistic view on this: man has always been indulging in war and fighting for a number of reasons. Increased technology (travel and tools) have increased the possibility of expressing this ‘habit’.
I would like to be positive thinking that the increased exchanges due to technology will also educate man so that the balance will will edge in the favour of more peaceful undertakings.
But of course the change is slow and our individual perspective is impatient to see this happening (we all (most of us) want things to get better) and we become indignant about seeing conflicts that do not resolve quickly for which the resolution appears so simple looking from far away.
It is a process, a slow process, a too slow process for societies to find a peaceful balance. This is very difficult knowing that humans are supposed to only be capable of living harmoniously in societies/groups of about 60-100 people.
It is a challenge therefore to live with so many humans on the planet but i am sure we shall get there…. in time…. in too long a time….

Dennis Boylon
Dennis Boylon
3 years ago

The globalists are really nationalists? This author is too confused to write logically. This is the failure of “full spectrum dominance”. Imperial overreach followed by collapse. It is well deserved.

Last edited 3 years ago by Dennis Boylon
Alison Houston
Alison Houston
3 years ago

Shift the blame away from western governments who decided to blow the middle east to pieces, in order to stop middle eastern nation states from functioning, pretend everything in the hanging gardens of Babylon would now be rosy if only social media hadn’t stuck its nose in, then say the cure is more traditional nation states and governments who can make decisions to protect their people from anarchy. Read: more authoritarianism in the west, mimicking the despotism and dictatorship that it has spent the last twenty years blowing apart in the Middle East, plus more use of social media as social control, always pushing the narrative of anarchy, guerrilla tactics and terrorism of some extremist minority, so the undercurrent of dangerous anarchy can be used as a useful excuse by which authoritarian governments can impose stricter tyranny on formerly free people.

.

Bertie B
Bertie B
3 years ago
Reply to  Alison Houston

I don’t like to downvote without saying why, so here goes.
Nation states not making descisions, but devolving the responsiblity to ad-hoc groups is the definition of anarchy. Structured descion making is the only way to avoid it (as without structured descision making you have anarchy – whether it works or not)
Also social media does not exert the control of the state – it is the ability of people on social media to choose their own echo chamber that aids the dispersion of control and hinders the presentation of good quality information to the populace. I’m pretty sure that every authoritarian regime in the world would like to silence its people – particularly when they say things that are opposite to the government message.

Last edited 3 years ago by Bertie B
Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
3 years ago
Reply to  Bertie B

Just a thought but when Nation States were useful for Capital they were nurtured and protected by Capital. With globalisation Capital has no particular interest in maintaining the Nation State model or avoidance of conflict. In fact, the International Arms Trade and International Finance need a degree of instability to make speculation profitable. Maybe the issue is not that the Liberal Nation States are devolving responsibility as much as in reality they never really had the power to take responsibility and were largely a front to provide a moral justification for Capitalism. Russia and China never went through the philosophical contortions needed to make Capitalism and Liberalism appear to be in partnership rather than competition and so, with globalisation, have a bit of as head start when it comes to the new global Capitalism.

Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
Meghan Kathleen Jamieson
3 years ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

That’s an interesting idea.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Bertie B

Also social media does not exert the control of the state 
Are you sure, but it sure seems like the state has outsourced the silencing of opposition to entities that can legally do it. Actively blocking ideas from being presented hinders the presentation of good quality information to the populace.
YouTube took down videos of a US Senate committee hearing because those testifying before it were not following the approved narrative regarding covid and medications. Twitter and others actively prevented the country’s oldest newspaper from using its social channels to present a story that made Hunter Biden look bad.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Exactly. Like much of the MSM, Big Tech now exists largely to impose the will of the state.

Rybo Adders
Rybo Adders
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Agreed. It confounds/frustrates me how it is possible for the new media barons to be able to control the volume of the broadcast without any peer or self imposed control. Their “truth” gets setting 11 – everyone else gets 0.

Last edited 3 years ago by Rybo Adders
Lindsay Gatward
Lindsay Gatward
3 years ago
Reply to  Rybo Adders

Too true but they have overplayed their hand creating a new media mogul, Trump – It is going to be interesting – Those controlling bumbling stumbling Biden need to get the CCP in the drivers seat before any political mid term change of power which is a tight time line – But this ambition is hugely aided by the recent humiliation and checkmate of US diplomats in Alaska where the CCP played back word for word the Democrats own hatred of the US which is a game changer – Plus Putin’s brilliant response to the ‘killer’ insult suggesting a live chat knowing Biden’s handlers cannot countenance anything live even with a friend – Plus old timer Biden’s stairwell collapse on eternal replay Worldwide – Plus the instant Whitehouse handlers cut of transmission immediately after Biden’s “I will do whatever you want Nance, I’ll take questions now’ – (It is surreal that Biden’s handlers will put up with infinite and eternal humiliations because they are intoxicated by their puppeteering and do not want Harris because she has a functioning mind of her own).

Jonesy Moon
Jonesy Moon
3 years ago

you give harris too much credit.

Chris C
Chris C
3 years ago

Sounds as if you can’t handle the fact that you lost the election.

Annette Kralendijk
Annette Kralendijk
3 years ago

“But this ambition is hugely aided by the recent humiliation and checkmate of US diplomats in Alaska where the CCP played back word for word the Democrats own hatred of the US which is a game changer – Plus Putin’s brilliant response to the ‘killer’ insult suggesting a live chat knowing Biden’s handlers cannot countenance anything live even with a friend”
I have to say, I loved both of these. Watching Blinken flounder around with no answer whatsoever, was very satisfying. When they’re not saying anything the democrats don’t say every day, well, Blinken can’t suddenly turn around and say they’re wrong. Can anyone imagine Biden trying to debate Putin?

Last edited 3 years ago by Annette Kralendijk
Göran Rosenberg
Göran Rosenberg
3 years ago

There is a conspicuous lack of agency in this piece, except for amorphous crooks like postmodernity and globalization. How about some serious analysis instead of crude ideology. Or is this Putin writing in disguise? The re-nationalization of Europe and the break-up of EU is his wet dream. History tells us it shouldn’t be ours.