Opinion (Robert W. Merry, political editor of The National Interest and author of books on American history and foreign policy): “In the spring of 2012, The National Interest produced a special issue under the rubric of ‘The Crisis of the Old Order: The Crumbling Status Quo at Home and Abroad.’ The thesis was that the old era of relative global stability, forged through the crucibles of the Great Depression and World War II, was coming unglued. In introducing the broad topic to readers, TNI editors wrote, ‘Only through a historical perspective can we fully understand the profound developments of our time and glean, perhaps only dimly, where they are taking us. One thing is clear: they are taking us into a new era. The only question is how much disruption, chaos and bloodshed will attend the transition from the Old Order to whatever emerges to replace it.’
“What’s most troubling about all this is that today’s national leaders seem utterly lacking in any serious consciousness of just how dangerous the global situation is. … Pfaff [William Pfaff, the longtime geopolitical analyst for the International Herald Tribune] notes with a small measure of relief that the world isn’t beset these days by ideological dictatorships on the march or any new waves of totalitarianism. Today’s problems, he says, are merely ‘confusion, incompetence, and intellectual and moral disorder.’ He adds: ‘But these are bad enough, in an over-armed world.’
“For historical perspective, it’s worth noting that we look back now with a certain disdain upon the heads of state grappling with events leading to World War I. Those events ended a century of relative stability and peace in Europe, and the men who let that grand epoch pass are seen in history as hapless, out of touch, even stupid. In fact, they weren’t stupid, but they were out of touch and that rendered them hapless in the face of events they didn’t understand.
“President Obama and those around him aren’t stupid either, but they don’t seem to understand the nature of our time and the challenges posed by a fading era. They seem incapable of grappling with the kinds of broad historical questions posed by William Pfaff.
“But the problem doesn’t reside only with the current administration. There seems to be a zeitgeist in play that retards the ability of our leaders and intellectuals to grasp the transformative nature of our time and hence the havoc besetting the globe. …
“Seriousness is what the times call for. We are living through a crisis of the old order, and it demands new thinking, new cautions, new understandings of the profound challenges of this pregnant historical interregnum.”
My Comment: The problem is that everyone writes correctly about the modern state of confusion because they feel and understand it, but no one talks about the opportunities to exit it because no one has the knowledge, method, or vision of how to do that.
Only after the leaders become aware of their complete lack of understanding and inability to orient themselves in a given situation will they be able to enter integral re-education. It will expand their perception of reality and they will see the causes of what is happening and will then be able to participate in decision making.