Friday, January 28, 2022

"The Free World" ->

"The Free World" has become a coded word that is used to describe the allies of the United States. It is now viewed as a relic of the Cold War and the minds of neanderthal thinkers. Is some instances, it is a negative description designed to highlight that much of the "Free World" is not free for many people in that live there.

Before this new use, "The Free World" was a descriptor for the division of allies of the "Democracies" / allies of capitalism and the "Commies" / ie. "Second World" of Communism  and Socialism directed economies. The "Third World" was made up of countries that either not a strict allies of either side (like India at the time), or countries we just didn't care about (like Paraguay and The Congo). 

Note: before that, The Free World was defined as those against the Axis Powers - Germany, Italy and Japan.

It's use has fallen out of favor because 1) it divided the world into opposing camps and 2) the movement of China from out the USSR camp made the distinctions too muddy.

So, I was happy to read Bret Stephens' opinion piece the other day in the NY Times. First, I don't usually agree with hm. He is one of the Times' more conservative writers (small c -as in not a Republican shil, but a more moral conservative - i.e. believes in science). But his one of the few conservatives whose opinion I take seriously, even when I disagree.

AND, his last opinion piece I totally agree with. He stated that the situation in Ukraine has driven home  the need for some sort of association of democratic countries. And he believes that the "Free World" should support each other. He does NOT mean that it must be militarially, but it does mean that morally we need to do everything short of sending in the military. You can read the entire thing here. But I will pull out what I think the most salient points of the article are:

The free world is the larger idea that the world’s democracies are bound by shared and foundational commitments to human freedom and dignity; that those commitments transcend politics and national boundaries; and that no free people can be indifferent to the fate of any other free people, because the enemy of any one democracy is ultimately the enemy to all the others. That was the central lesson of the 1930s, when democracies thought they could win peace for themselves at the expense of the freedom of others, only to learn the hard way that no such bargain was ever possible.

The concept of the free world is not a perfect one — its constituent states are so often imperfect. It can be prone to overconfidence (as in Afghanistan) or strategic incoherence (as it was, for several years, in the Balkans) or bitter division (as it was over the war in Iraq).

But it would be foolish to think that the loss of Ukraine would mean nothing to the future of freedom elsewhere, including in the United States.

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