The Jungle

People today ask what threatens the present order, but that is the wrong question. The order is an artificial creation subject to the forces of geopolitical inertia. Deeply etched patterns of history, interrupted these past seven decades, remain and exert their pull. The question is not what will bring down the liberal order but what can possibly hold it up? If the liberal order is like a garden, artificial and forever threatened by the forces of nature, preserving it requires a persistent, unending struggle against the vines and weeds that are constantly working to undermine it from within and overwhelm it from without. 

Robert Kagan, The Jungle Grows Back

This is the thesis statement for Kagan’s book, which was an easy read but a hard problem to contend with. I’m typically not an interventionist, but he makes a pretty strong case which has nudged my thinking a little bit. The thought of a world in which the U.S. bankrolls an unending hot-and-cold war against the rhyme scheme of history is frightening. Anything that never ends and gets riskier every day is bound to fail. What’s the alternative?