Free World: Why a Crisis of the West Reveals the Opportunity of Our Time
Timothy Garton Ash
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Publish Year note: First published in 2004
"We, the free, face a daunting opportunity. Previous generations could only dream of a free world. Now we can begin to make it."
In his welcome alternative to the rampant pessimism about Euro-American relations, award-winning historian Timothy Garton Ash shares an inspiring vision for how the United States and Europe can collaborate to promote a free world.
At the start of the twenty-first century, the West has plunged into crisis. Europe tries to define itself in opposition to America, and America increasingly regards Europe as troublesome and irrelevant. What is to become of what we used to call "the free world"? Part history, part manifesto, Free World offers both a scintillating assessment of our current geopolitical quandary and a vitally important argument for the future of liberty and the shared values of the West.
techniques for the unceasing manufacture of new consumer desires. This invasion force is more irresistible than the Red Army, or even today’s U.S. Army, for it advances by asking what people want—and giving it to them. Then it makes them want more, and more, and more. This manufacturing of consumer desires is the exact opposite of the Buddhist ideal of transcending human desires. Which of the two will make more happy homes? In any case, Western-style consumerism is unsustainable on a global
Continental Europe in the Middle of the Twentieth Century,” Journal of European Integration History, 1996, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 5–19, at p. 12. Bell notes that Trevelyan’s book sold nearly 400,000 copies between 1944 and 1949. J. H. Plumb commented in 1951: “In many homes it must be the one and only history book. This work is not only a social history but a social phenomenon.” Scottish, Irish, and, to a lesser degree, Welsh schoolchildren were taught different histories. 23. See J. C. D. Clark,
policies. The commendation of that large advantage must be hedged with a few warning notes. This sophisticated self-analysis of the Washington body politic has two characteristic shortcomings which are the products, respectively, of the commercial and the political marketplace. As analysts jostle for attention in the crowded market of ideas they have to shout loudly, like traders on the floor of a stock exchange. Shouting loudly, to clinch an intellectual “trade,” requires overstatement. It
first went to the world. England expanded, initially absorbing all the other parts of these offshore islands in an internal empire, then scattering across the high seas, to every corner of the earth, its own language, goods, customs, and people—now including the Scots, Welsh, and Irish as well as the English. In the process, Britain became a “world island,” at once stubbornly insular and relentlessly international. In the second half of the twentieth century, as Empire folded into that ever
Atlantic and the old new Europe on the other are two parts of one extended family. On our landing walls, there hang portraits of the same great-great-grandparents. (My favorite is a beautiful old lady they nicknamed the Enlightenment, but there are other, grimmer-looking ancestors as well.) To try to build a European identity around transatlantic value differences, as Habermas and Derrida have proposed, will split the enlarged European Union, not unite it. There are also some significant