There are two forces that produce group solidarity and cohesion. The first is a shared identity, founded on a common heritage or mutual affection. The second is a common enemy.

As long as the old USSR was the common enemy of the West, the Euro-Atlantic world was forced to hang together out of fear of total destruction. And the unity of the West, based on a common heritage, freedoms, and democratic norms, was opposed to the tyranny, oppression, and nihilism of the Soviet empire. Though we may not always have lived up to our values and ideals, they were right and worth defending.

But since the Soviet Union fell apart, the West has been on autopilot. We consigned both the old enemy and our ideals to the dustbin of history. This was a mistake. The world is more dangerous now than it was in the 1990s, and we are not prepared.

Korea, Vietnam, and Afghanistan were the major flashpoints of the first Cold War. In our own time, they are Ukraine and Israel, and potentially Taiwan. Conflicts in those areas could well spread, or draw us into them. This would be familiar from the old Cold War. But the geopolitical competition we face now is far more challenging because our adversaries are more powerful and richer than before, and we are weak and divided.

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Iron Will

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