Although we celebrated when European Communism collapsed at the beginning of the 1990s, it has proved not to be 'The End of History' as predicted by Francis Fukuyama, but more of a poisoned chalice, whose effects are becoming clearer day by day.
The Cold War has the advantage of simplicity as everyone, except the idealistic idiots of CND, and the traitorous fellow travellers who sought a Soviet triumph, were able to see that our most fundamental liberties were under threat from a totalitarian ideology, with ambitions to snuff out our democracy. We stood firm, and eventually the Soviets collapsed because of what Marxists would have referred to as their internal contradictions.
In the years that followed we came under came under attack from terrorists inspired by a mediaeval theology, and basically succeeded in driving them back. However the lack of a clearly identified enemy has led to the fragmentation of Western nations from within, as those who do not have a real foe have decided that they must find their opponents within their own society.
The Marxist organisations of Black Lives Matter, Stop the War and Extinction Rebellion have used reasonable causes to advocate extremist solutions, and have spread discord throughout society. The complete lunatics of 'woke' continue their campaign to denigrate our past, demonise all white people as 'privileged', and destroy free speech. Incidentally they might like to explain how my parents, who lived through the Great Depression, and saw a friend die of malnutrition in an English home, were 'privileged'.
The absurd obsession of the American political class with these gender and cultural wars, to the exclusion of issues of real import, has led to probably the worst administration since the disastrous days of Herbert Hoover, with both the Presidency and Congress dominated by those who are consumed with the desire to argue about the inconsequential, while ignoring the truly significant. Not only has this already led to the betrayal of the people of Afghanistan, especially the women, but it has cast into doubt the future of the American place in the world, and to the future of NATO.
I am disgusted by the manner in which Western governments have scuttled out of Afghanistan, leaving the people to their fate. The inevitable result will be a resurgence of terrorist activity around the world, while the decent people of Afghanistan will once again be subjected to a mediaeval regime of bigots. It will embolden China, Iran and Russia, and make the world a more dangerous place for democracy. I dread to think of how of our troops those maimed in the conflict must now feel, while the loved ones of those killed must believe that they died in vain. In 1939 Leo Amery uttered his famous admonition "Speak for England" during the critical Commons debate on the German invasion of Poland and we in Tonbridge applaud our MP, Tom Tugendhat, for his similarly powerful speech on the debacle in Afghanistan.
I tremble for the future of those nations, such as Israel and Taiwan, for whom the retreat of the US to Fortress America will spell doom. For us the lesson must be that as America apparently reverts to inter war isolationism we must look to our defences. The most fundamental concept for any government should be patriotism, and the desire to put the interests of the people first, and its first duty, as is true of all governments, is the defence of the realm. We now face a world where Russia and China are hostile, Iran and associated Muslim states utterly opposed to our way of life, and, following the retreat from Afghanistan, America apparently reverting to inter war isolationism.
Obviously we are no longer the paramount military power in the world, as we were for over a century, but we are nevertheless, along with France, the only European nation which could, in the absence of American forces, resist an onslaught from the East. We must ensure that we are like a nest of hornets, sufficiently strong to make attacking us not worthwhile. This will entail immense cost, but, if American involvement in Western defences is to be curtailed, then it will be the only way to preserve our liberties.
To do this we need to double the size of the Army, and the RAF, while building a great many more Naval warships, including a large number of smaller frigates to guard our coasts, not least from the tide of illegal immigration crossing the Channel. In addition our military hardware should be built in the UK, necessitating reopening shipyards, and steelworks, while the insane policy of selling our most vital armament manufacturers to foreign owners must be stopped, and reversed. Importantly we must have a larger nuclear deterrent, which is fully independent of American control, while our capabilities in the realm of cyber space must be enhanced. All this would involve great expense, but that is the price of liberty.
Those who deride our martial abilities should remember that the UK's DNA contains warlike Vikings, Saxons, Celts and Romans, that the British beat Philip II, Napoleon, the Kaiser and Hitler, and that when our freedoms are threatened we have always been a formidable opponent. I don't believe that we have fundamentally changed, despite all the noise from those on the Left who hate their own country!