Ukrainian grain field burning

American Strategy on the Brink

The Eurasian rimland is nigh-ablaze. The Middle East sits on the brink of large-scale war, which will not end absent a fundamental regional reorganization, and an enormous amount of human suffering inflicted upon Jew, Arab, and Persian alike. On the burning edge of the European continent, the Ukrainian armed forces hold off the Russian onslaught. In Asia, China menaces Taiwan, a legitimately representative democracy of 23 million with only the desire to determine their own fate and live unharassed.

All three instances of ongoing violence stem fundamentally from a crisis in American power. These theaters are afire because Washington refuses to recognize what it is—the center of a loosely democratic system that spans Eurasia and the Americas. Culturally and strategically, the Rimland is being punished for the blindness at its core.

It is not precisely that states of similar ideology are natural allies. Ideology is a nebulous thing. But there are ideological similarities between the modern democracies on the Eurasian Rimland that, in turn, extend to the fundamentals of American strategy. Simply put, the three states within the line of fire—Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan—have all adopted identities that reflect their conscious choices to join the Western camp.

Israel made its choice first by virtue of its founding moment. It came not in 1948, given the socialist character of the Israeli political elite and American unwillingness to assist the nascent Jewish state in its struggle against the Arab alliance, but in 1950, when Israel chose to support U.S.-backed resolutions in the UN General Assembly that condemned Communist aggression against the Republic of Korea. Despite multiple strategic spats between Israel and the U.S., most notably their dustup over the Suez Crisis, Israel never seriously considered reorienting itself toward the Eastern Bloc from then on.

Taiwan made its first real choice not in 1949 but in 1990–1996. The Chinese Civil War gave Taiwan no option but to side with the West, even if Republican Chinese ideology was fundamentally a syncretic mix of Marxism, European nationalism, and what we would now understand as postcolonial grievance. However, Taiwan made the conscious choice to democratize between 1987 and 1996, transforming itself from a one-party authoritarian state complete with a secret police and political detainees into a flourishing multiparty democracy with a dynamic liberal capitalist economy.

Read the rest at Commentary.

Seth Cropsey is the founder and president of Yorktown Institute.

Harry Halem is a Senior Fellow at Yorktown Institute.


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