2013 Plenary 1: The West Today: Calculated Power or Complete Paralysis

Panelists discussed the perceived decline of the West and indicated that the West may be tired or has lost “curiosity,” however they asserted that alternatives to global leadership are not obviously surfacing. Additionally, the progressively quickening pace of change in the world leads to conclusions that the future is increasingly confusing and uncertain, and the West may be challenged to keep up. Panelists suggested that the West should consider using its current power to try to evolve a global political system that would be acceptable in any eventuality. Panelists engaged on the appropriateness of Western political influence on the current dynamic among and within democratic nation-states in regions such as the Middle East and North Africa and what, if any, alternatives are presenting. The panel weighed the impact of non-state influences, such as religion, activism, and corporate bodies within the global political structure and how these actors contribute to the balance of interests and values. The panelists discussed the relevance of Europe in global activities, which led to a discussion about cooperation and working together through international bodies such as NATO. Solidarity will be challenged, but panelists asserted that cooperation is crucial to pursuing and advancing values of peace and democracy.