Book discussion: The end of the west
On May 28, GMF Berlin hosted a panel discussion on the book "The End of the West," a collection of essays edited by Jeffrey Anderson of Georgetown, John Ikenberry of Princeton, and Thomas Risse of the Free University of Berlin. Anderson and Risse attended, and were joined by Michael Zürn, the dean of the Hertie School of Government in Berlin.
The book includes a very useful compendium of analyses from a very broad selection of academic vantage-points. For those of you waiting to read whether reports of the demise of the West have been grossly exaggerated (or not), the two editors apologized for the title, saying it had been forced on them by their publisher.
In the book, Anderson offered three potential futures for the West: complete breakdown, transformation, and adaptation, but said it was too early to tell which one would become reality. Michael Zürn disagreed, saying that we are now seeing the formative years of a new international order. With reference to the current U.S. election season, Thomas Risse offered a mixed analysis; on the "good news" side, he predicted that U.S. politics will move to the center and noted that Europe currently has some of the most pro-American leaders in decades, and that the Lisbon Treaty will, once adopted, give the EU a whole new range of foreign policy options. The "bad news", he said, is that the transatlantic crisis is still lingering, with divergences over threat perceptions, preemption, coalitions of the willing, and multilateralism that had been merely papered over, also adding that there was a dramatic decline of U.S. influence in world politics. The next American President, he added, has a stark choice of either forging a new transatlantic bargain or waiting for the next crisis.