Western Unity Starts at Home by Charles A. Kupchan

 Western Unity Starts at Home by Charles A. Kupchan

Russia’s brutal attack on Ukraine has helped revive and unite the West. But, as economic worries mount, the homegrown threats to US and European liberal democracy that were front and center before the war still require urgent attention.

WASHINGTON, DC – Solidarity on display at recent NATO, US-EU, and G7 summits, as Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to wage war on Ukraine, revealed a rejuvenated West. The Atlantic democracies have responded to Russia’s invasion with impressive – and somewhat unexpected – unity as they arm Ukraine, reinforce NATO’s eastern flank, and sanction the Russian economy.

Instead of turning away migrants, European Union member states are opening their doors to millions of Ukrainian refugees. The US Congress seems to have rediscovered the bipartisan comit that has long been missing in Washington. The political theorist Francis Fukuyama even foresees a “new birth of freedom” that will “get us out of our funk about the declining state of global democracy,” adding hopefully that the spirit of 1989 will live on, thanks to a bunch of brave Ukrainians. ”

Not so fast. The political ills plaguing the Atlantic democracies may be out of the headlines, but they have not gone away. While Russia’s invasion is certainly a wake-up call for the West, no one should assume that the prospect of a new cold war will by itself cure the United States and Europe of illiberalism and political dysfunction.

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