Is the world slouching toward grave systemic crisis?


Do open societies really work better than closed ones? Is a more open and civilized world really safer and better for Americans? If we think yes, then what is the best way to prove that point? Philip Zelikow asks in The Atlantic.

At a time when the liberal world order is under attack, the language we use to defend and promote our values and institutions matters, he contends.

Rather than the word, “liberal,” the word “open” seems more useful. It is the essence of liberty. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi uses it in his speeches; Karl Popper puts it at the core of his philosophy; Anne-Marie Slaughter makes it a touchstone in her latest book. That’s a big tent right there, he told the Aspen Strategy Group.

Also the ideal of being “civilized.” Not such an old-fashioned ideal. It gestures to the yearning for community. Not only a rule of law, also community norms, the norms that reassure society and regulate rulers—whether in a constitution or in holy scripture, adds Zelikow, who addresses the concept of “world order,” interrogates the claim that a “more open” world is really better for Americans, and issues a warning about America’s world leadership.


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