What happens to the West?
Global Times


What happens to the West? This question has been frequently asked for quite some time. Results of elections and referendums in the US or Europe have clashed with traditional values and the political order. What's more, the West has become a new "center" of terror attacks. Catalonia's push for independence takes the separatist chaos to Europe and the "Russiagate" in the US seems to challenge the incumbent administration. It has been nearly a year since President Donald Trump took office but a significant number of US elites still refuse to cooperate with him.  

At the same time, accusations and investigations of sexual harassment involving movie stars, former presidents, incumbent congressmen and senior officials have suddenly flourished. The West that is prosperous, elegant and follows the rules has suddenly been shrouded in uncertainty.        

The series of events may not be temporary or an isolated phenomenon but instead reflect a deeper problem. A change in the times is challenging the governance model that the West had long been proud of. Facing the new reality, the West has failed to keep its institutions abreast with the times. Some cliché ideas and leverages have been outdated but are dogmatically followed.          

The past decades saw a rapid evolution in technology as well as great changes in social life, but changes in Western governance ideas and actual governance practices were the slowest. Western democracy has increasingly fallen into formality. The way Western political parties take part in elections has gone to extremes, which has seriously eroded their ability to make key decisions for society. Some serious negative effects have been increasingly released. The foundation of Western institutions is sinking and tilting. It is unavoidable some problems will be exposed. 

The West is, more than ever, lacking in political authority and a moral compass. From "Russiagate" in the US to the Catalan independence movement in Spain, internal clashes of laws and manipulation of politics over the law have surfaced and political struggles have been overriding the logic of laws.  

We basically cannot find any leverage to effectively address the tough problems that engulf Western society. To solve their problem requires determination, which in turns calls for political authority and cohesion. All these elements are absent in the West. Elites in the West are not helping their countries build authority and cohesion, but instead create excuses for the rationale of a disintegrating society. The slogan of "change" has frequently appeared in Western election campaigns, but the so-called changes are all formality. Trump may be the person who wants to change the Western world but has been contained. 

In fact many Western elites realize the abovementioned problems and thus are anxious. But their anxiety has not translated into reflections and real action in the US and Europe. 

The problems that have surfaced in the West are just a beginning. The political regime in these countries should lead the people and focus on domestic issues. They should re-consolidate their ability to solve problems, which is the sole path toward long-lasting prosperity and advancement in the West.