By James M. Dorsey
The Turbulent World with James M. Dorsey depends on the support of its readers. If you believe that the column and podcast add value to your understanding and that of the broader public, please consider becoming a paid subscriber by clicking on the subscription button at http://www.jamesmdorsey.substack.com and choosing one of the subscription options. Thank you.
James M. Dorsey (00:06):
Hi, and welcome to the Turbulent World with me, James M. Dorsey, as your host.
It’s a no-brainer to suggest that we live in an increasingly polarised world. Geopolitics are polarised, so are societies. Polarisation marks the transition from a unipolar world dominated by the United States to a bipolar world with China, or more likely a tripolar world that includes India, in which middle powers assert themselves more forcibly.
The polarisation is fueled by populism and civilizationalism, led by men with little regard for international law or rules of the game that would limit their freedom of action. To be fair, adherents of the rule of law also ignore international law when convenient. The result is a breakdown in conflict prevention mechanisms; the US toppling of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, despite foreseeable disastrous consequences; Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; and rising racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, and distrust and hostility towards the other as it manifests itself in anti-migrant sentiment.
Polarisation is also driven by a clash between liberal and conservative values in which both sides attempt to impose their definitions of all kinds of rights. Jason Pack, my guest today, argues the coherent management of the world order has been replaced by what he calls the Global Enduring Disorder. Jason suggests that conventional geopolitical theories fail to explain a world in which many states no longer rationally pursue their long-term interests. A Middle East expert focused on Libya, Jason is the host of the Enduring Disorder Podcast out now with Goal Hanger Podcasts, a senior analyst for emerging challenges at the NATO college in Rome, and the author of Libya and the Global Enduring Disorder published in 2021 by Oxford University Press.
Jason, welcome to the show
Jason Pack (02:36):
It’s a pleasure to be back with you. James,
James M. Dorsey (02:39):
Let’s start with you telling us your story. What got you interested in the Middle East, and particularly Libya, and how did that lead you to what you call the Enduring Disorder?
Jason Pack (02:51):
Yeah, that is an interesting way to start, but today, looking at the world affairs and how our daily lives play out, it is, as you say, a no-brainer that we live in a polarised and disordered world, and it’s such a no-brainer that you have a podcast called The Turbulent World, and I’m going to have one called Enduring Disorder. It was not such a no-brainer when I got into international affairs 20 or more years ago. In other words, it’s been a journey for me to come to realise that international actors were not coordinating as they once did, and that we were not reaching optimal outcomes. How I had this realisation has very much to do with how I ended up studying Libya. I’m from Manhattan, that’s where I grew up, James, and I was wanting to be a scientist or a doctor or some kind of healing profession, I guess that motivated me try to do good with my life.
But then we had the 9/11 in my senior year of university, and I wasn’t there. I was in Massachusetts at university, but I had a sense, oh, this is a big deal. This is going to change everything. And yes, it might be important to work on blood pressure medication, but maybe the most important thing that my society or country needs is Middle East experts. I didn’t know how to become one and I had never been to the region, but I moved to Beirut after I graduated college and I grew this really long beard, thinking that that would help me fit in, and within two days I had to shave it off because everyone was like, are you a Shia cleric? And I was like, oh, whoops. Okay, I’m going to have a lot to learn here. So, it’s been a really long process. How I got to the idea of the Global Enduring Disorder is more proximal than those heady days of 2001, 2002.
I ran a small trade association with members that no one has ever heard of, like Conoco Phillips and Pepsi and Hess Oil, and that was called the US Libya Business Association, and I had the idea at that time, oh, Libya needs products. It needs not only oil field services, but soft drinks and diabetes medicines and all of that. If we can help the Libyans have these things, this will be good for the Libyans and good for America. It’s like a very standard kind of win-win situation. But through my job in Washington running the US Libya Business Association, I came to realise that the businesses were not trying to promote business to Libya and US policy towards Libya was not predicated exclusively on helping the Libyans or helping our companies. Even furthermore, the Italians and the French were on opposite sides of a civil war, and those are EU member states and diplomacy didn’t work in the way that I imagined it would work. So, from my perch on K Street in the end of the Obama and beginning of the Trump years, I realised that this disorder was deeper than I had possibly imagined, and that launched me to write my book, Libby and the Global Enduring Disorder, and then to expand that concept into studying things like climate change and tax havens via my Disorder podcast.
James M. Dorsey (06:33):
Before we delve in greater depth into the enduring disorder, let me come at you, for a moment, out of left field. We’ve known each other for almost a decade, but I only recently realised that we share a passion for backgammon and that you are a backgammon champion. You’ve written about backgammon and geopolitics. What is the connection between the two?
Jason Pack (06:57):
Wow, thank you for that compliment. Always good to have a little left field action. I also kind of found backgammon randomly when I was living in Syria. I would go smoke hookah at cafes and play what the Arabs called Mahpous, which is where all the checkers start on the ace point, and I discovered Western backgammon a little bit later. I think that backgammon is a really great simulation for many things in life, much better than chess or poker. Why is that? In chess, the one who is better always wins, but that’s not the way that life is. Life has a lot of chance. I also don’t think life is modelled entirely by poker because in poker you can completely bluff the opponent and win with the weakest hand possible. I’m not sure life is like that, but life is a combination of luck and skill, bluff and the role of the dice, and I think back backgammon models that quite well. So, I’ve drawn quite a few lessons and I think if you want to explore it, we can talk about how we got in this Ukraine mess can be modelled via game theory.
James M. Dorsey (08:04):
I’d love to come back to that. I think that’s a fascinating question. But let’s start off with, define for us what you mean with a global enduring disorder. The implication is that great power rivalry is not about creating a new world order, but about permanent disorder and unbridled competition. Is that what you envision?
Jason Pack (08:27):
Not exactly, but you hit on some important points. If I could push back against some traditional views that you might’ve referenced, I do not think that we’re moving from an American-led hegemony to a bipolar struggle or cold war with China. Nor do I think we’re moving towards multipolarity with Europe regulating its area and the Indians trying to have a sphere of influence. Those are all things that are envisioned classical IR theory. I see us moving into a different kind of world which is not envisioned by classical international relations theory at all. What I see is major world powers no longer trying to order the globe nor competing with other powers for spheres of influence. Rather, if you look at the US under Trump, Brexit-oriented Britain, Putin’s Russia, Xi’s China, a Bolsonaro Brazil, or a post-Bolsonaro, Brazil, Orban’s Hungary, you see many different leaders who are not concerned at maximising their interests nor concerned in ordering the globe or even their near abroad.
I think it’s important to make a contrast between the conflict with the Soviets and the conflict with Putin. So, when we in the West had a conflict with the Soviets, Stalin, or Khrushchev, they had a fully formed ideological and economic system. They want to export it to Cuba. They’d like to win in some conflicts in Africa and export their system, and it has an economic logic. It has books and texts like Lenin and Marx, and then commentaries on them. That’s a struggle between two different camps who want to order the world in different ways. A Western capitalist, hegemonic, neoliberal, American-led world order and a Soviet Marxist authoritarian one, and you can read the books and subscribe to their economic system. Right now, there are no books about a Putin-led world order. He doesn’t want to win in Ukraine to give them a certain economic vision or that they’re going to read Tolstoy and go back to an ordered czarist empire.
He’s exporting disorder, James. It’s not a system, and I think that that’s critical. Putin wins by destabilising our elections and destabilising our societies and stirring up racial tension by problematizing Black Lives Matter or having vaccine conspiracies. He’s not exporting a world vision or world order. And I see Trump quite similarly and many other actors, some such as international corporations. Facebook wins by selling ads and YouTube and Twitter polarise us. They’re not exporting a world order, and this Global Enduring Disorder concept gets at the fact that this may be a novel way of looking at global affairs, of many nodes who are not competing for order, they’re competing to disorder the world.
James M. Dorsey (11:46):
In effect, you’re describing a world without global leadership. The question is how much of this is also a world encountering the limitations of the nation-state in confronting global challenges and that at the same time is challenged by leaders who think in civilizational rather than national terms.
Jason Pack (12:07):
I think that’s a part of it. The nation-state was able to handle most problems that arose until the pre-World War I era because you didn’t have massive financial flows and the world was on the gold standard. We didn’t have to have international monetary policy and there was no such thing as tax havens. Really, the line of change, of course was in the distant future. So, today’s problems are all global. The Chinese emit a lot of pollution, and it affects someone in Iceland, and Russian oligarchs take money out of their own country and they put it in the Cayman Islands, and then the corruption creates jobs in the city of London and influences British politics. We live in a global world where the tech algorithms and the flows of money cannot be solved by the nation-state, and that is 100% a part of the global enduring disorder.
James M. Dorsey (13:04):
And to what degree is the global disorder or the enduring disorder fueled by the lack of attractive governance models? Democracy is in crisis. Western powers are hampered by hypocrisy and double standards and marred by efforts to impose their values. China is faltering and is primarily an economic and trade partner, and Putin’s Russia has few, if any, saving graces.
Jason Pack (13:31):
That’s a key part of why western Democratic popular votes go for what I call anti-politics. People didn’t really want what Trump was offering. They just weren’t angry and wanted to vote against someone they perceived as the global elite. A lot of Brexit voters didn’t actually think that Brexit would make Britain richer or better, but they were like, screw the Tories, screw David Cameron. So yes, anti-politics is the product of the fact that we in the western liberal democratic elites have not made a great case for how our visions are going to help everyone, and I think that we should take responsibility for that, and we need better communicators. What is quite tragic is that Obama as great a communicator as he was, as appealing as he was to populations in the global south and in the Muslim world, he didn’t actually succeed at making the lives of African-Americans or the underclass in America any better, and he didn’t assuage the fissures between the West and the non-West. So, we had a chance for a great communicator, and he achieved very little. So yes, there is a kind of idea deficit for how to connect to people. Why would you want to make a sacrifice to help spread democracy? I don’t think that many voters in America and Britain really know why they would want that.
James M. Dorsey (15:09):
Which leads me to my next question, which is crafting a new world order is the preserve of elites with vested interests. You argue that one essential ingredient in crafting that world order is grassroots pressure. How would that work effectively, particularly in a world in which popular revolts like the uprisings in the Middle East have failed to achieve sustainable change, counter revolutionist, triumph, political rights are curtailed and authoritarianism and adequacy are riding high?
Jason Pack (15:44):
James, there are lots of problems with grassroots mobilisation, but I think it’s the only chance that we have. We need both bottom-up and top-down simultaneously. We need a better than Obama figure who doesn’t want to just solve things for the US but wants to work with Chile and Taiwan and Mozambique and work on enforcing limits that will help climate change and curb emissions. But then we needed bottom grassroots up, like those extinction rebellion protests, but actually with concrete solutions that corporations can get behind, whereby the youth have something that they want, but it’s pragmatic enough that they’re going to get CEOs who are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to actually implement, whether it’s the green vision or new kinds of taxes on illicit funds and the problems that we face are of a scope and scale that has never been faced in human history. And when people say, oh, but we had World War II. World War II was a very, very different kind of problem than this and didn’t necessitate the kind of global institutional challenges. America and Britain could simply fight the Germans. We are not at a place where the nation-state is going to be the primary locus of solving these challenges.
James M. Dorsey (17:16):
The question is how do you get from A to B? I mean, I fundamentally agree with you, but if we look at civil society, certainly civil society in Western countries, as a matter of fact, many of the non-governmental organisations we talk about are institutions with their own vested interests. So the question is how do you get to a grassroots movement that genuinely is capable of crafting something that is new and that is workable?
Jason Pack (17:52):
This is something we discuss on the Disorder podcast. I got fed up of think tanks that publish articles about this problem, that problem, and then you read the paper and it’s this crisis. These people have no solutions. I have many friends who have great podcasts with titles like Power Corrupts and Doomsday Watch, and I realised these are amazing podcasts, but where are the solutions? So, at my podcast, the Disorder podcast, we deal with the problem each episode that might be tax havens, it might be the struggle for global leadership, in other words, issues like what we’re talking about. But then at the end we have the ordering the disorder segment where the expert that I have on the show that week proposes an actual solution, and it might be something implementable like here’s a tax that can whatever. Or you might be surprised and think that the Russian oligarch should destabilise our elections in this way and that way.
But actually if the EU, the British Empire, Commonwealth States, and the US passed these campaign finance reforms in harmony that would stop this. So, we at the Disorder podcast are prying to propose solutions, some of which are bottom-up, many of which are just simple legislative fixes. Things like when Keir Starmer gets into office, he can simply require that all of the funding that goes to parties in the UK is made transparent. It can be done like that because in Westminster there isn’t even checks and balances like we have in the US, and you might not realise that if you added a Labour majority, this problem of illicit financing couldn’t be fixed with one vote. So, there are low hanging fruit out there and we are going to need the people to call for them before the politicians will implement that.
James M. Dorsey (19:46):
We recorded a discussion when your book launched roughly 18 months ago, at the time you talked about becoming a NATO Defence College fellow because you wanted to help NATO no longer see itself as an incumbent player, but as a driver in addressing global problems like climate change and tax havens. That raises multiple questions. For one, do you see that as a realistic goal 18 months later, particularly with NATO’s focus on supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia? Your NATO fellowship suggests you see your role at the elite rather than the grassroots level, or am I missing something here?
Jason Pack (20:30):
I don’t think that’s completely fair. I want to just say I don’t think that I can change nearly anything, and having a title or a fellowship is not necessarily the way to make change. I think having a podcast and trying to get people behind an idea is much more likely to do that. So, just with that as a preface, I do think that NATO can have a role to play other than just collective defence against Russia. But more importantly, I’m interested in NATO-like institutions, James. In other words, NATO, to my mind, functions better than the UN or the IMF. We can then explore why is that the case? What works about NATO that doesn’t work about the UN? Oh, once we’ve determined those things, could we have a NATO-like institution for something like climate change? Could we have a NATO-like institution for protecting against the dangers of AI taking over the universe? Could we have a NATO-like institution for protecting against misinformation about vaccines or deep fakes online? And my answer to those questions is yes, NATO-like needs to be defined in a very expansive way here, but I want to have popular grassroots driven institutions which address 21st and 22nd century challenges. And not all of those are just going to be shooting and bombing. They’re going to be the kind of questions and challenges that we are beginning to face in the mid-21st century and going forward,
James M. Dorsey (22:12):
What is it that makes NATO a better functioning organisation or structure than, for example, the EU? And to what degree is that really replicable given the nature of NATO?
Jason Pack (22:29):
Fantastically worded question, I think that hits the nail on the head. One, NATO is a better institution in many ways than the EU or IMF or UN. Two, it may not be very easily replicable. Now, let me unpack why that’s the case. Here’s a fascinating statistic that I think a lot of people know intrinsically, but they don’t know extrinsically. If you go into the 28 or now 30 NATO member states and you ask them, do you or trust NATO or the leadership or bureaucracy of your own state, in most cases, the populace of the country says, of course, I trust NATO more than the Greek leadership or more than the American leadership. And this is crazy. In the US, Biden and Trump both have negative approval ratings, but if you ask people, Republicans and Democrats, they can’t name the NATO leader, but NATO as an institution will have a positive approval rating.
That is unbelievably interesting because it doesn’t apply to the UN or the IMF, even though the American electorate also can’t name the UN or IMF leader at that time. But they have positive impressions, more than their national leader, of NATO. So, this is extremely relevant to me because it tells me that from Estonia to Canada, including countries with very anti-system politics in general, like say Spain or some Balkan countries, NATO represents a security blanket that they feel that they want. What if we can create an institution which is a blanket for security against, say something like misinformation or cyber threats. It’s going to need to have the uncontroversiality of motherhood and apple pie. We talk about this in our NATO episode in Disorder. I interviewed Jamie Shea, the former Deputy Secretary General of NATO. We interviewed Corey Shea, who was at the NATO desk in the Herbert Walker Bush administration, and they said fascinating things about why NATO works.
I spoke to Kurt Volcker this week for an episode that’s going to air on my show in November, and Kurt Volcker essentially said, it’s probably not replicable because we all agree on the fact that we don’t want to get blown up in a nuclear bomb strike. We don’t necessarily all agree that there even is climate change. We don’t necessarily agree that there should be any taxes and therefore even the most basic parts of the solution are disagreed upon because one man’s misinformation is another man’s truth. Whereas there’s a very small constituency for I want to get blown up in a nuclear attack, and therefore NATO addresses a threat which is more globally recognised among Western democracies than these other threats. And these other threats of misinformation or tax havens may be more divisive as threats. I don’t think that that needs to be the case. I think we don’t want to live in a world where the AI robots run wild or where deep fakes get to such a level that we can’t tell what’s a speech that our actual political leader gave as opposed to the speech that the political leader gave. And I think we can use lessons from how NATO operates to create institutions that deal with those threats.
James M. Dorsey (26:16):
Just for our listeners, correct me if I’m wrong, Kurt Volcker was US ambassador to Ukraine, if I’m not incorrect.
Jason Pack (26:24):
He was the US ambassador to NATO and he was US special representative to Ukraine during the Trump period and was involved in the impeachment hearings over Ukraine, the first impeachment, the 2019 impeachment.
James M. Dorsey (26:40):
I want to come back to something that you said, early on in the conversation, in which you talked about Ukraine and game theory. Do you want to elaborate on that?
Jason Pack (26:51):
Sure. I mean, I have a sense that in the 18th and 19th centuries, the kind of classical days of gentlemanly diplomacy, the William Pitts and Edmund Burkes, and then, later on, the Castlerays and Tallyrands and Metternichs of the world understood game theory better than we do now that we’ve invented game theory as a discipline and that we’ve gone wrong in how we look at diplomacy. We train our diplomats by having them sit in the State Department and read think tank papers. Maybe that’s wrong.
James M. Dorsey (27:29):
Let me interrupt you for a second. Tell us what game theory is.
Jason Pack (27:34):
Sure. It’s difficult to explain exactly what game theory is, but in 1945, a group of economists, many of whom were central European Jews who had fled to Britain and America, invented a discipline which looked at the psychological dimensions of choice that you might’ve heard of, something called the prisoner’s dilemma or the chicken problem. And these are problems, like if you and I are told that if we both agree to cooperate, we get a good, but if we both agree to fight, neither of us get a good, but if we fight and the other guy doesn’t fight, we get twice as much. This thing promotes you to not cooperate. Even though cooperating might maximise the benefit of everyone fighting is in your own personal best interest if you think the other guy’s going to fight. Let’s look at fishing rights. If Newfoundland and America and France and Britain all agree, let’s not overfish, this is in our best interest, but if just the Newfoundlanders overfish, they get more fish and they get more money.
So, these are game theory problems and game theory is a science that economists have developed gradually from World War II to the present. I’m making the contention that although we have more theoretical understandings of game theory and more scholarly papers about it, our politics and our politicians make choices which are very stupid and don’t incorporate basic game theory that people who’ve never studied game theory know anyway. And that in the classical heyday of diplomacy, that 18th and 19th century era when no one had ever heard of game theory, they made decisions that were much more sophisticated and drew on the key principles of this theory beforehand. Now, if we look at Ukraine, you can see this. We all know the dangers of appeasement. Look at what Neville Chamberlain did. He said, oh, no worries. I’ll let you have the Sudetenland and it’s going to be fine because then we’ve made a compromise.
But it turns out that giving Hitler the Sudetenland took away 10 Czech legions and gave him access to more economic goods that he could use to raise more armies. In other words, the West was in a stronger position to confront Hitler before it compromised. So, the appeasement made it easier to appease later and harder to confront later. This is what we did with Putin. Essentially, he attacked Georgia in 2008 and we said, well, we understand, don’t worry. Just don’t push beyond South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Then we had the red line over Syria and with the red line in Syria, Obama said, if there’s any chemical attack, there will be a price. There was a chemical attack. We didn’t do anything really. We had some very toothless sanctions. We didn’t bomb anything. We didn’t kick Russia out of the international community. In 2014, the Budapest memorandum of 1994, which to my mind is the most important treaty that ends the Cold War, was violated when the Russians invade Donbas and they annex Crimea because Ukrainian territorial integrity was guaranteed by Britain, the US and Russia in this treaty, this 1994 Budapest memorandum.
And what did we do? Pretty much nothing. We made some sanctions. We said, you are a really naughty boy Vlad. Vlad, you’re going to have to sit in your room. The oligarchs can’t have all their bank accounts, but then we let all the oligarchs have their bank accounts. So, we got this wrong from a game theory perspective and Putin concluded the West will do nothing. I can even take Kyiv and they’ll do nothing. So, he actually also miscalculated as a result of our miscalculations. We appeased him so much that he thought, I can just go in and take Kyiv. They’re never going to arm them, they’re never going to do anything. And I see this whole situation as entirely avoidable. We could have deterred him in a million different ways and prevented this situation.
James M. Dorsey (32:05):
Put very simply, what you’re really saying is that the West should have stepped in at the first moment that Putin was taking these kind of steps and breaking international law, and we should have halted it right then and there rather than let this escalate.
Jason Pack (32:25):
I don’t want just policy wonks who produce papers to make my political decisions. I want people who know a little bit about game theory and psychology and are game playing out this into the future. We made decisions that made it more likely that we would have an international crisis with Putin when in fact, if we had threatened him back or said, Vlad, if you do this, we are going to respond by turning the lights out in St. Petersburg. I don’t think he would’ve done it, but we didn’t say that.
James M. Dorsey (33:04):
Again, going back to our discussion early last year, but also at the beginning of this conversation, you saw Libya as a test case for reforming the global enduring disorder. Yet, 18 months later, the North African country with floods devastating the east and poorly maintained dams bursting because of looting and poor maintenance. Libya stands as an example of the dire consequences of polarisation, lack of good governance, and foreign intervention.
Jason Pack (33:37):
Exactly. Libya is the place where I see the global enduring disorder in its purest form, and that hasn’t changed. So, 18 months ago, and now, I would say Libya is the product of all of the features from lack of international coordination to major Western allies on opposite sides of the conflict to flows of dark and illicit money to cyber misinformation. There are Russian bots who tweet things at Hafter supporters to intervention of medium powers, like having Turkey on one side and the Emirates on the other or the Saudis doing this, and the Qataris is doing that. You mentioned the dam crisis, which I’ve written about quite a lot in the last week, obviously this is very tragic, and I have many friends of friends who’ve been killed or the aunt of a colleague of mine, she died in the floods, and I’m very, very sad about all of this, but what’s sadder than a natural disaster is an avoidable crisis that was exacerbated by humans.
People have always died in earthquakes and floods, and I can kind of accept that, but I can’t accept that 10 million US dollars was allocated in 2020 to fixing these dams, and that money was never spent. It wasn’t that the money was corrupted, it was that it was never spent due to inefficiencies and the difficulties in processing Libyan letters of credit. Then, when the rains were happening in southern Greece, James, the mayor of Derna said, we’ve got to evacuate the city. He said this even before the rains came to Libya. What was he told by the LNA? No,
James M. Dorsey (35:23):
The LNA being the Libyan National,
Jason Pack (35:25):
Excuse me. What was he told by the Libyan National Army and the rogue General Khalifa Haftar, who essentially is an autocrat controlling the eastern part of the country? He was told everyone should shelter in place. We can’t have the authority questioned by having people out on the streets. So, that situation was avoidable, and that to me is the global enduring disorder. It’s in the best interest of everyone that these people didn’t die. It’s in the best interest that the dams were repaired and the people were evacuated. It’s not like the Libyan National Army actually wanted to kill the people. They didn’t. It’s not like some corrupt genius was like, aha, I’m going to steal the money for the dam. It’s just a constellation of disordered factors leading to a suboptimal outcome, and that is exactly how I see the international system.
James M. Dorsey (36:24):
So, in your mind, what would it take or what would potentially be the one thing that would start to get people thinking differently?
Jason Pack (36:35):
Well, I know this is depressing, but I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better. And those of us who have podcasts called things like The Turbulent World or Disorder or Doomsday Watch or Power Corrupts, we’re going to be in business for quite some time because, I think, people need to get so fed up at the nation-state level that they stop voting for neo-populists and nationalists and that they vote for internationalists and institutionalists, but we don’t even have that on the left. It’s not like Biden is running as an internationalist institutionalist. He’s only running as an anti-Trump. He says, I want to return to how America was. He’s not presenting a vision of mid-21st century American leadership. We don’t really have an offer, a new globalist vision. And I think that that’s the reason why Hillary (Clinton)was so unappealing to people, and this might seem like old hat to your non-American listeners, but I think it’s really important because American political decisions reverberate out to the globe.
Hillary was maybe the best opportunity for win-win, optimal, really thought through policy solutions, but she couldn’t sell them to the American people because she had no vision, and she had no way of explaining why is this good for you. And we’re just not there yet. We are not there as a global society whereby Italians and Germans who are fleeing to the AfD, the Alternative for Deutschland, or Georgio Maloney’s, neo-populist, essentially neo-fascist party in Italy, see that the Italy First and Germany First and America First doesn’t work. America First puts America last. Trump says, I will build the wall and you will have no migrants. He has one term in office and we have more migrants. Think about that, and the wall isn’t even built. So, people on the Trumpian side need to probably get so disillusioned, and I don’t think that’s going to happen until we have more neo-populists who fail spectacularly, and that’s depressing. So, whether or not Trump wins the next election, we are going to have more disordering neo-populists, whether they are called DeSantis or Liz Truss or whatever, but it’s going to require a much more comprehensive repudiation before we get to any kind of solutions.
James M. Dorsey (39:20):
Jason, on that pessimistic note, this has been a fascinating conversation with lots of food for thought we could go on for hours, but unfortunately time is not our friend. It certainly is a conversation to be continued. Thank you for taking the time to come on my show today and best wishes and good luck.
Jason Pack (39:44):
Thanks so much, James. It’s been really fun as always, and if you’ve been interested in this train of thought and want to see how all the different puzzle pieces fit together, please follow the Disorder show wherever you get podcasts. James is going to come on that show, and we’re going to talk more about civilizational struggles, and I think that’s going to be a really exciting episode. I look forward to having you on James.
James M. Dorsey (40:09):
Jason, I look forward to listening to the podcast and look forward to being on the podcast. Wish you all the best.
Jason Pack (40:17):
You too. Again, talk soon. Bye bye-Bye bye.
Dr. James M. Dorsey is an Honorary Fellow at Singapore’s Middle East Institute-NUS, an Adjunct Senior Fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, and the author of the syndicated column and podcast, The Turbulent World with James M. Dorsey.