In Warsaw, Mr. Trump boldly stated, “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.” In saying that, he demonstrated his administration’s born-again commitment to preserve America’s post-Cold War Western alliances, though at the price of redefining the very meaning of “the West.”
.. In the heady days of the Cold War, “the West” referred to the so-called free world — a liberal democratic order. Today it has been replaced by a cultural, rather than political, notion. But unlike in the 19th century, when a “white man’s burden” took pride of place, today what dominates are the “white man’s fears.”
.. In this imagined scenario, Mr. Bannon urges the president to challenge the European willingness to live under the emasculating malady of political correctness: “Make clear to them that the West is under siege, threatened by radical Islam, and for it to survive it must cling ever more closely to its Christian identity. Tell Europeans that we need God, if they even still remember what God is.”
Mr. Bannon goes on: “Force them to understand that the liberal nonsense that prevailed in the Cold War is now making us weak and vulnerable in the face of a world saturated with terrorists and immigrants. Neither a free press nor any quaint separation of powers will protect us in today’s world.
.. What stands out most in Mr. Trump’s speech is not its oft-quoted illiberalism but its stark pessimism about the future of the West. He was elected on a promise of restoring American triumphalism, but he appears preoccupied by the fear of defeat. What he promised his listeners was not the West’s “victory” but that the West shall never be broken.