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. Donald Trump's formulation threatens to close the door of the West to those of different cultures, faiths and traditions who, while differing in many ways, nonetheless accept and practice Western values. This concept of the West has been shaped largely since the end of World War II. . The transatlantic traumas of 2016 and 2017 have put the West in jeopardy. The combination of external threats from Russia, disruptive radical Islamist terror and internal weaknesses in Western social, economic and political systems has formed a perfect storm. That storm endangers the security of Western democracies and the values that have shaped the West since the end of the War.
The term 'history' is often used to mean the past. It also means that which is written about the past, historiography or a description of the past. Another popular term 'historic', designating something that is worthy of record, suggests not only that some events or actions are more important than others, but that a principle of selection has to be applied. The philosopher Michael Oakeshott thought that historians had legitimately created a form of historical experience that dealt with 'a dead past' which was 'unlike the present' and was 'the past for its own sake' without practical application. History in the historiographical sense is made by us, not by people in the past nor by the record of their actions. Contrary to another popular usage, history does not speak to us directly, even if the source is oral testimony. This chapter also presents an overview of in this book.
In the time of transatlantic traumas, the Islamist terrorist threat and the Russian threat have worked diligently and with some success. This chapter analyses how did these threats develop. It provides the answers for the hatred of Islamists towards Western democracies, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) for their involvement in the Middle East politics for several decades. The chapter also looks into the internal divisions in Islam, the Sunni and Shia factions, and the conflicts between them which has given rise to turmoil in the Middle East and fleeing of refugees to other countries. It examines the NATO and EU responses to the refugees problem and explains that the Islamist and Russian threats converge in Syria, which had been a Soviet ally since 1956.
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. This chapter highlights the sources of discontent prevailing in the Western countries such as the 2008 Great Depression and the inflow of refugees from the Middle East. It looks at the rise of Trumpism and the reasons of his victory in the 216 US elections and discusses the rise of populist radical right in several European countries: France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland. The surge of refugees from the war-torn Middle East has put dramatic new focus on the existing concerns related to visa-free movement of people inside the EU's Schengen zone. Many Eastern Europeans are dissatisfied not only with the post-communist transformation, but also with immigrants.
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.
If Brexit was a shock for transatlantic relations, the election victory of Donald Trump was a tsunami, arguably jeopardizing nearly seventy years of transatlantic commitments, political assumptions and security cooperation. This chapter examines the psychological profile of Trump that apparently lies behind virtually every policy utterance, speech or, yes, tweet on the subject. It surveys the contemporary record of Trump after providing a brief comparative historical note on the US participation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Trump's position of NATO before his election came from his largely profit-oriented, transactional point of view that underlies the "America First" appeal to his base of support. The chapter discusses Trump's policies on NATO after he assumed office and the turmoil felt by NATO at its May 2017 Brussels meeting and the subsequent G7 meeting. It also addresses the issue of whether the US is abdicating leadership of the West.
As a member of NATO since 1952, Turkey should value Western ideals and, indeed, millions of its citizens do. However, the April 2017 Constitutional referendum has given President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more power to the presidency; the referendum is seen by many as the first step toward the creation of a Putin-style regime under Erdogan's control. This chapter examines whether and how the West can encourage Turkey to hold to Western values while continuing to serve significant alliance interests in the region. It looks at Turkey's shifting external alignments, as seen by the nations pursuit of closer working relationships with Russia and Islamic nations, including Iran. The chapter discusses the domestic tensions between Turkey's political parties, and focuses on 2016 purges as the tipping point of the country's drift away from the West. Four-plus months after the purges began, the European Union parliament formally adjourned its membership discussions with Turkey.
This chapter explores the various approaches which emerged after the polemic between revisionism and totalitarianism had run out of steam. It explores the emergence of a group of self-described ‘post-revisionists’, but also the challenges and alternatives to their views which flourished since the opening of the archives after the breakdown of the Soviet Union.
This chapter introduces the book. It gives a brief overview of Soviet history during the Stalin years (1928–53) and sketches the major debate surrounding it. It provides definitions of key terms, such as ‘Stalinism’ and ‘historiography’, and outlines the book and its arguments.
Debates on Stalinism gives an up-to-date, concise overview of major debates in the history of Stalinism. It introduces readers to changing approaches since the 1950s, and more broadly to scholarly views on this society reaching back to the 1930s. It argues that writing the history of Stalinism is not only about the Soviet past. It is also centrally shaped by current anxieties and concerns of the scholars studying it. In short, there is a politics of writing the history of Stalinism. Combining biographical investigation of leading historians with thematic and chronological analysis of major topics of study, Debates on Stalinism uncovers the history of these politics. The book provides a snapshot of the state of the field and suggests possible future avenues of further research.