The end of “Davos Man” at the end of “The End of History”
History is not a series of do-overs. If we learned anything from "The End of History", it's that it's not over. At all. Tweet
A half-century of American security guarantees has not made Europe safer.
If anything, the technocratic, pacifistic Europe, led by Davos men, is flimsier than ever.
The End of History has ended. It officially ended with Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.
The End of History is the title of a book by Francis Fukuyama that captured that optimistic Zeitgeist of the 90’s with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the implosion of Communism.
The basic idea was with the implosion of Communism—reality, not the ideal, which will forever exist in the minds of many intellectuals—the world would be a more liberal, democratic and commercial.
The end of The End of History came with Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.
It was an argument with real legs. East Germany was digested by the West without a burp. The Baltic states prospered. Asia took off. A rising commercial tide was lifting all boats.
Since then, the world stage has been increasingly occupied and guided by Davos Man—a rational, technocratic economic citizen of the world; the culmination of history’s intention. A central-casting example of Davos Man is John Kerry, America’s jet-setting, deal-making, profiting, secretary for the environment. Kerry was morally outraged and scandalized by Putin’s 19th-Century actions. Didn’t Putin know that such anachronistic efforts were not allowed or tolerated in the European theater. (The Middle East, Africa are still ok)
It turns out that Putin does not respect Davos Man. He thinks Davos man is weak and that he is strong. Davos man lacks the required courage to defend what one deems his own. Putin believes that Europe thinks there is little that Davos Man sees as worth shedding his own blood to defend.
In stark contrast, this 19th-Century relic of a man is willing shed blood and absorb the consequences. Putin sees the world and calibrates states-craft, through the lens of the nation, and national prestige—which is inseparable from his own person. 19th-Century guys are dangerous particularly when they hold 21st-Century arms. This public chatter of regime change and assassination are dangerous and irresponsible words of foreign policy geldings.
The story of history is the Strong Man plundering the Weak Man. In short, if you can’t defend what’s yours, it’s not yours. This is how borders are drawn and peoples forged. If we want out of history as usual and enjoy a prosperous end of it, those standing up to it needs more than what John Kerry—or his miniature version, Antony Blinken—brings to the table.
The story of history is the Strong Man plundering the Weak Man. In short, if you can’t defend what’s yours, it’s not yours.
The question before us now is whether Davos Man is capable of effectively standing up 19th-Century Man. Presently, Davos Man is pushing back with the only diplomatic tools in his statecraft tool box: shaming and “crippling sanctions”, along with the arm’s-length provision of weaponry and intel.
If it turns out the sanctions do work—and I hope they do—Europe and the United States owe a Marshal Plan to Ukraine and an apology to Volodymyr Zelenskyy for not answering his call for a deterrent to invasion.
It must be painful to Ukrainians to watch Western intelligence congratulating itself—and being praised in the media—for knowing exactly what Putin’s intentions were — which by the way were stated publicly. All the heads of European nations—including Zelenskyy — were aware of Putin’s intentions.
All western intelligence added to the speech were the movements of people and material on the ground. They saw the future, they knew what was coming and they chose not to pull out the only real weapon in their arsenal. Unlike bombs and the devastation that takes decades to repair, sanctions can be turned on and off quickly.
Statesmanship is seeing what is coming down the pike and marshaling the national attention and resources required to deal with it. This is what Churchill did. He saw the gathering storm of Nazism and told his people the truth that they did not want to hear — sadly to no avail. But at least they were warned, and bore not only the pain that came with not heeding the warnings but also the responsibility.
Zelenskyy should have known what was coming. He knew that Putin was going invade and that his justification, which his 19th-Century brain could not continence, was the threat of Ukraine joining NATO.
Zelenskyy should have tried to parlay a deal with Putin—with the US as a backstop—that Ukraine would not join NATO. Who knows if this would have assuaged Putin? In fact, we will never know. Looking at the growing rubble of Ukraine’s cities, the dead, the wounded and the fleeing, it was a failure of leadership on Zelenskyy’s part not to try.
A wise man ought to know his limitations and the limitations of this allied partners. Zelenskyy did not want a ride out of town and out of trouble. He said he was going to stay and fight—but the bullets he needed should have been bought or begged before the the war started. Without the bullets required, and lacking on call, the preemptive backup support he needed, he should have made a deal, and after that deal was inked, regrouped and armed his nation for another day.
While Ukraine is being reduced to rubble, it appears European Man is waking out of his end-of-history slumber.
In defense of European Man’s martial weakness, it’s a natural, intentional byproduct of American foreign policy. Sorry guys. The intent of NATO was to outsource European self-defense to the United States.
The natural and necessary consequence of this dependence on another’s arms is the creation of pusillanimous nations led by ungrateful egomaniacs with inferiority complexes. Europe has slept comfortably under a blanket of freedom that it does not pay for and lives longer on drugs that it does not develop. News alert: we are not too found of you either.
The natural consequence of the dependence on another’s arms is the creation of pusillanimous nations led by ungrateful egomaniacs with inferiority complexes.
Europe’s most important contribution to the world is championing the world’s dependence on fossil fuels by 2050. In Europe’s defense, they show no interest in living up to their talk. Germany, the most prosperous and green-conscious member of the EU, was in the process of becoming energy dependent on Russia, the very country that provoked the creation of NATO for Europe’s protection. That level of idiocy is enable by American foreign policy welfare. Again, our apologies.
For Europe’s sake, and ours, we need to awaken to history’s present existential requirements.
The time has come for Germany and Europe to lean on the United States for its energy needs, not its security needs, and for the United States to get back to drilling and build the infrastructure needed to fuel the free world. Also, Germany—if it really gave a shit about the environment, the physics of energy, and the needs of its economy, just might want to build more than a few nuclear power plants. If ideology keeps a nation from doing what is existentially required, they deserve to reap the consequences of what they sow and they are instructive lessons for others not to follow suit.
Most importantly, Germany and the rest of Europe need to immediately start arming themselves so as to meet the fundamental, essential responsibilities of a nation to defend their own interests with their own arms. To ensure the necessary recovery of Europe’s marital spirit, the United States needs to restructure its support and its on-the-ground participation in NATO.
Davos Man has made Europe wealthy. Wealthy and weak—with our help.
The rationale that the United States is the effective guarantor for Europe’s collective security no longer makes sense. Davos Man has made Europe wealthy. Wealthy and weak—with our help. Individually and collectively, European Man needs to get his martial mojo back.
The United States will happily sell you the arms that you will need to rise to the individual and collective occasion. But it’s worth repeating, The American taxpayer and soldier is no longer that into you.
It’s time for Europe to Man up. It’s time for you to stop imagining a world that you cannot afford or defend unless you go from 2% of GPD to 20%. If you do this, you’ll like the European Man in the mirror, and the 19th-Century Men—and the nations they command—just might leave you to enjoy your peace and prosperity.
This article was Published on Spectator World originally.
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