The ‘West’ is a concept that flourished during the Cold War. Then it was West against East in the form of the Soviet empire. The East was evil against which all democratic countries – read West – were called on to fight.
Every day we receive striking data on major issues which should create tumult and action, but life goes on as if those data had nothing to do with people’s lives.
In late 1986, Washington was rocked by revelations that the Ronald Reagan administration had illegally aided a stateless army known as the contras in Central America.
A few decades ago, even before the end of the Cold War and before and after Ronald Reagan’s election to the White House, analyses regularly referred to U.S. decadence. At other times, it was Europe’s turn for pessimistic descriptions, especially when it could not overcome its ambivalence over deepening integration, and above all because of the failure of its constitutional project.
The flood of elegiac articles on former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is in itself a good measure of how we have all become Thatcherites without realising it. Only those who are not graced by a young age can see how the world and politics have changed so deeply since her days that it is correct to call her a “great revolutionary”.
Twenty-five years ago, on Dec. 8, presidents Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. This historic agreement eliminated a modern class of land-based “theatre” weapons - the SS20s, cruise and Pershing missiles - that had been brought into Europe in the early 1980s.