Suggested in the days between the Velvet Revolution and the Orange Revolution — which you do not hear much about these days — that "they," meaning those in the unfortunate neverwhere between the old Soviet Union and Greater America, were not really calling for Thomas Jefferson, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Abrahama Lincoln for liberation. More like Calvin Klein and Michael Jackson. Even the honored Czech poet and then-President Vaclav Havel, seeking a front-row bench in the "West," would pitch musician Frank Zappa as avatar and inspiration. This has been the odd model of the American conquest since World War II. The French in their imperial day would send the soldiers, then they would send the priests. We send Frank Zappa and Lady Gaga, Starbucks, McDonald's and former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonThird-party push gaining steam Ryan and Trump may meet next week Overnight Defense: Military sexual assault reports level off; Strike kills ISIS plotters MORE, Bono and Mick Jagger. Possibly what is today causing the stellar decline of American influence in the world is that most under 50 don't know who Frank Zappa was.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a ghost. It is the primary shibboleth which keeps the illusion of "the West" frozen in place today; keeps our gaze fixed on the frozen tundra on the other side of the river and the danger lurking there, the slumbering bear we perceive to be Russia. But as Otto von Bismarck said of Europe, it was only a dream: "Europe has never existed." The same might be said today of the West. Like Leon Trotsky's vision for Russia in 1917, it is another dream, another abstraction in a century broken by dreams and abstraction. There is no West. It is a figment of American post-war conquest and its pop-culture gods that are failing.
It might be said that Zappa, Jagger, Clinton and Starbucks were not in the end very good gods for the world beyond our oceans. In Russia, not as good as the Black Madonna.
But the world has found real existential and structural change since 1914. Then, the royal family of England was actually a German family, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Now, after the American Revolution divided us, two world wars have made us British again. And now in the post-American outlands, the Germans are turning instead to Russia. There is organic symmetry to this. History has brought it there.
The key question today strategically, in geopolitics, is will we commit to war derived from the conquest of 1945 carved in stone by treaties in 1949 and 1952?
Consider instead for defense the Anglosphere — Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the U.S. — for a reality-based, earth-based, tradition-based perspective, and one without abstraction, without interpretation. This is our first circle. It tells us who we are. We should defend it and start to look outward from there.
That in the end is why we went to war after Pearl Harbor, to defend that, from Australia to the English Channel. And that is the legacy and the place we should think again to save and to first preserve if we seek to save and preserve ourselves.
Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.