Transatlantic traumas

Has illiberalism brought the West to the brink of collapse?

Stanley R. Sloan
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The West of which we speak is defined by the values of liberal democracy, individual freedom, human rights, tolerance and equality under the rule of law. This book explores how Islamist terror and Russian aggression as companion threats to the West when terrorists target Russia as well as the United States and its allies. The threats posed by Islamist terror and Russian aggression present themselves in very different ways. In the time of transatlantic traumas, the Islamist terrorist threat and the Russian threat have worked diligently and with some success. The book examines the hatred of Islamists towards Western democracies, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union for their involvement in the Middle East politics for several decades. There is no single explanation for the rising popularity of illiberalism in the Western democracies; a combination of factors has produced a general sense of malaise. The book discusses the sources of discontent prevailing in the Western countries, and looks at the rise of Trumpism, Turkey and its Western values as well as the domestic tensions between Turkey's political parties. It suggests a radical centrist populist Western strategy could be applied to deal with the threats and challenges, reinvigorating the Western system. The book also touches upon suggestions relating to illiberalism in Europe, Turkey's drift away from the West, and the Brexit referendum.

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In December 2019 Choice Reviews awarded Transatlantic traumas its designation as an "Outstanding Academic Title." Choice Reviews specifies that

In awarding Outstanding Academic Titles, the editors apply several criteria to reviewed titles:

- Overall excellence in presentation and scholarship
- Importance relative to other literature in the field
- Distinction as a first treatment of a given subject in book or electronic form
- Originality or uniqueness of treatment
- Value to undergraduate students
- Importance in building undergraduate library collections




'...the central argument of Sloan's book is that the West and its inherent liberalism is in crisis. Specifically, that illiberalism within the West has brought 'it' (whatever 'it' is) close to collapse. At the heart of the book is Stan's long-standing concern that the threats posed by Islamist terrorism on changing Western societies allied to tailored Russian meddling in domestic political processes is generating illiberal populism of such ferocious intensity that it threatens to destroy the very ideas that the West pioneered and which define its very existence. In such a political context Brexit and Trump are mere symptoms of an illiberal backlash by large segments of a Western populace that has become deeply dissatisfied with the response of traditional liberal elite Establishments to complex problems. ....At the heart of the book is a warning: domestic unrest in Western states cannot be separated from the effectiveness of such states in the global arena. If the liberal centre fails to once again demonstrate it has the political will, the vision and the strategies to deal with the concerns now spawning mass populist political movements the security and defence of the West will be profoundly weakened.'
Julian Lindley-French, Blog Blast, Speaking Truth Unto Power, 27 March 2018

'There is still hope for preserving western values, defeating the forces of illiberalism, and meeting the external challenges the western countries face. Stan Sloan's Transatlantic Traumas reminds us of that hope while at the same time cautioning us on how grave the threat to the West really is. Just why this threat isn't more widely recognized is something of a mystery to us here at US Political Forecast, but Stan Sloan's book is a much needed and welcome call to action.'
Ray Copson, U.S. Political Forecast May 16, 2018

'The conceit of this aptly titled, provocative book is reflected in the question its subtitle poses. The book appears in Manchester University Press's new "Pocket Politics" series, which is designed to provide "short pithy summaries of complex topics on socio-political issues ... aimed at the interested general reader." The book is commendably distinctive in that Sloan (visiting scholar, political science, Middlebury College) eschews any pretense of academic objectivity in favor of a decidedly opinionated, advocatory stance. He argues that the present malaise (hence, the use of the word trauma in the title)--as revealed in Brexit, Trumpism, and the ascendancy of right populist parties in Europe--draws strength from threats from Russia and the Islamic State. As a curative he makes the case for a new "radical centrist populism" to stem the current tide and reassert Western supremacy. Sloan's twofold prescription calls for active deterrence of and resistance to external threats and a reinvigoration of liberal democracy. As relevant as today's headlines, this book is both an eminently readable primer on the current state of transatlantic relations and a call to action. Highly recommended.'
D. Ettinger, George Washington University, Choice Connect, February 2019



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