Henry Kissinger, World Order (quoted in a review by Niall Ferguson):
…If the balance between power and legitimacy is properly managed, actions will acquire a degree of spontaneity. Demonstrations of power will be peripheral and largely symbolic; because the configuration of forces will be generally understood, no side will feel the need to call forth its full reserves. When that balance is destroyed, restraints disappear, and the field is open to the most expansive claims and the most implacable actors; chaos follows until a new system of order is established.
1 thought on “Quote of the Day”
For many years, my standard question to those who find only bad about the position of the US in the post-WW2 world has been, “who do you think should take that position instead?”
There will always be one of three conditions ongoing—1) the contentious struggle to achieve supremacy, 2) a period in which a state or alliance of states has achieved supremacy, and 3) the jockeying for position which starts when number two erodes or collapses.
We are now in the erosion phase of condition 3, brought on by a toxic combination of incompetent leadership, an ignorant and inattentive electorate, and the delusional belief of my boomer generation that we could do anything we wanted with the countries’ policies, foreign or domestic, and it would always be ok because we were too rich, powerful, and smart to ever fail.
If one reads “The Proud Tower”, which depicts the delusional mindset of the aristocracy and political elites in pre-WW1 Europe, it is all too familiar to the utterly detached idiocy and incompetence which so thoroughly defines our current ruling elites in politics, culture, and intellectual circles.
Internally, the US reminds me of our own history in the 1840’s and 50’s. Externally, the world is very similar to the post-WW1 chaos following the collapse of the great empires, and is especially redolent of the 1930’s.
As that old toast says, we live in interesting times.
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