Stephens_Bret

from Bret Stephens at The Wall Street Journal, Farewell to the Era of No Fences:

How did this happen? We mistook a holiday from history for the end of it. We built a fenceless world on the wrong set of assumptions about the future. We wanted a new liberal order—one with a lot of liberalism and not a lot of order. We wanted to be a generous civilization without doing the things required to be a prosperous one.

There is no such thing as a lesson from the past that people won’t ignore for the sake of the convenience of the present.

Is there a way out? Suddenly, there’s talk in Europe about using military power to establish safe zones in Syria to contain the exodus of refugees. If U.S. administrations decide on adopting Kant, Europe, even Germany, may have no choice but to reacquaint itself with Hobbes by rebuilding its military and using hard power against unraveling neighbors.

Europeans will not easily embrace that option. The alternative is to hasten the return to the era of fences. Openness is a virtue purchased through strength.

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