As western democracies have been entangled in the web of their internal issues during the past decade, they have disengaged themselves from the greater global geopolitical dynamics whose repercussions keep returning to the West with a revenge.
We have had an exponential growth of polarization in the U.S in recent years which has been fueled by the media. This has created a vacuum of leadership that can unify the country on certain crucial issues. The polarization of values and ideas has also forced many new immigrants to choose a side in the unfolding social tragedy, which has further increased the polarization of America.


The United Kingdom currently suffers from similar problems of polarization after Brexit, the devaluation of its pound sterling, and the unresolved issue of Scottish independence.in addition, the NATO has not demonstrated a cohesive program on Europe-related geopolitical issues. In the long run, this lack of a concrete and cohesive policy will prove costly for western democracies.
However, it is indeed the European Union that is going through the worst period of polarization. This is mostly due to the EU’s lack of leadership in defining a proper foreign policy as well as its disorganized immigration policies. To these must be added the EU’s need to import energy supplies from countries that severely violate human rights, and the fact that the EU wants to export goods and services to those countries in order to shore up the Euro.
On the other hand, the enemies of democracy seem to have a clear mandate these days. For instance, Russia’s seizure of the Crimean Peninsula has given Putin almost total control of the Black Sea basin. In the Middle East and eastern Africa, the Iranian regime, by establishing footholds in Yemen and Somalia, will soon have control of the most important waterway, i.e. the Bab Al-Mandab Strait, which connects the West with the East. This is only in addition to the fact that the Iranian regime is already sitting at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.
Next, if allowed to go unchecked, Assad will help Putin and the Iranian regime to monitor and possibly have partial control of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Suez Canal. Another example of a clear mandate is Iran and Russia’s providing resources for the dictatorial Venezuelan government so that it can maintain itself in the face of popular uprisings to overthrow it. With a hostile Cuba in the Gulf of Mexico and China involved in the Panama Canal, the Caribbean Sea will turn into a hot zone of contention against the US interests, and the US is likely to be nearly surrounded by potential enemies.
On the other side of the globe in the Far East, the two major partners of western democracies, namely South Korea and Japan, are under heavy pressure from the North Korean regime which is a proxy of China and Russia and a friend of the Iranian mullahs. This imposes large defense expenditures on the economies of both countries and their western allies to protect the Sea of Japan and Southeast Asia from a combined effort of Chines-Russian-North Korean encroachment.
Given all this, western democracies need to put aside their minor differences and unite if they want to preserve their freedoms and democratic values. And preserving democracy will not be possible by simply maintaining it at home. It must also be exported to the less fortunate parts of the world. As political theorist and analyst Reza Parchizadeh once said, “democracy is maintained at home when security is protected overseas.”

By Javid Javan, Ph.D. Former Associate Dean at National University

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