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Why the West Won’t Collapse


Published August 31, 2022

Stephen Kotkin argues that the West is not a geographic term, it’s an institutional package of financial systems, human capital, technology, and rule of law. It turns out that the West is unbelievably powerful. It just needed to remember that.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why does the West not believe or value itself?
  2. What would help revitalize the belief in the West?

Additional Resources:

  • Watch “5 More Questions for Stephen Kotkin: Ukraine Edition,” on Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson and Stephen Kotkin. Available here.
  • Read “Restoring Global Order and Stability In World Markets,” by David Mulford. Available here.
  • Watch “John Yoo Demonstrates the Benefits of Federalism in America,” with John Yoo on PolicyEd. Available here.
View Transcript

I've been arguing for a really long time that the West is unbelievably powerful, that the West has all the institutions, all the human capital, all the technology, all the power and yet, it doesn't understand that. Here we are in the West and we're talking about how we're in decline. We're talking about how transatlanticism isn't necessary or doesn't work anymore. We're talking about how flabby NATO is. We're talking about how we can't teach Western Civ at our universities, because it's just too much a story of genocide and other crimes. We're flagellating ourselves for years about the rise of China, about the supposed rise of a multi-polar world and all other stuff which turns out to be nonsense. 

It turns out that the West is unbelievably powerful. It just needed to remember that. 

It turned out that the United States is a superpower. It just needed to remember that. 

We have the financial system, we have the deepest, most liquid markets. We have the institutions of separation of powers, limited government, rule of law. 

We defend liberty. We have defense of private property.

And so I've been saying, let's wake up and be the West. The West is not a geographic term, it's an institutional package. 

Russia is European, but not Western. Japan, they're Western, but not European. The Australians are Western. All those who share our values and above all our institutions are part of the West, and it's the strongest voluntary sphere of influence that's ever existed in world history.