Samstag, 1.7.2023, 16:45h

Stephen Holmes, Ivan Krastev

(New York), (Vienna/Sofia)

After “The Light That Failed”: A Conversation

Some readers have suggested that our 2019 book implicitly predicted February 22, perhaps because it blamed Putin’s obsession with tearing off the mask of Western hypocrisy for his strategically pointless aggression in eastern Ukraine. If true, then our book was more clairvoyant than its authors, for both of us, like many others, were profoundly shocked by the unhinged decision to invade and the homicidal rampage that followed. The question we wish to discuss, therefore, is how the analysis we presented in The Light that Failed needs to be revised in the face of the “identity war” without an endgame that Russia is waging in Ukraine as well as by related developments such the rising geopolitical importance of middle powers such as Turkey, Europe’s discomfort at being thrust back into the status of an American protectorate given uncertainty about the outcome of the next U.S. presidential election, the trend in countries such as India (and perhaps Israel as well) to see Russia’s war not as imperialistic but as the opposite, namely as a decolonization effort aimed at purging Western influence and restoring so-called traditional values, and of course China’s increasingly explicit challenge to the world America built after World War II.

Stephen Holmes is Walter E. Meyer Professor of Law at the NYU School of Law. He previously taught at Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Chicago. His fields of specialization include the history of liberalism, the disappointments of democratization after communism, and the difficulty of combating terrorism within the limits of liberal constitutionalism. He is the author of Benjamin Constant and the Making of Modern Liberalism (1984), The Anatomy of Antiliberalism (1993), Passions and Constraint: On the Theory of Liberal Democracy (1995), and The Matador’s Cape: America’s Reckless Response to Terror (2007). He is co-author of The Cost of Rights: Why Liberty Depends on Taxes (with Cass Sunstein, 1999) and of The Beginning of Politics: Power in the Biblical Book of Samuel (with Moshe Halbertal, 2017) as well as The Light That Failed: A Reckoning (with Ivan Krastev, 2019), and co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Illiberalism (with András Sajó and Renáta Uitz, 2022).

Ivan Krastev is Chair of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria, and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna. He is a founding board member of the European Council on Foreign Relations and a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and other publications. His latest books are After Europe (2017), The Light That Failed: A Reckoning (with Stephen Holmes, 2019), and Is It Tomorrow Yet? Paradoxes of the Pandemic (2020).

Veranstaltung in englischer Sprache