That the West is in disarray as 2018 ends is clear. Marc Champion of Bloomberg got it right in his great Dec. 16 lead: "The old conundrum of who to call if you want to speak to 'Europe' now applies to 'the West' as a whole."
The United States is run by a corrupt misfit. The United Kingdom is distracted and diminished. France is in turmoil. Germany is undergoing a leadership change and still way too ambivalent. The European Union, as usual, is slow-footed and handicapped by the disunity of its 28 nations.
But the biggest problem is that the democratic West, collectively, is still sleepwaking about the need to isolate and contain the rogue dictatorship of Russia's Vladimir Putin. Until the West realizes that this is a civilizational war that it must win, the Kremlin will score more victories in 2019.
Trump ends the year playing into Putin's hands by withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria, giving Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad a freer hand. Germany still doesn't want to admit the immorality of going ahead with the multibillion-dollar Nord Stream pipeline with Russia. France doesn't have the strength to do it alone. And too many in the EU want business as usual with Russia. It won't work with Putin, now or ever. It's no wonder that such ineffectiveness and weakness among some of these nations makes for ineffective and weak ambassadors stationed in Kyiv.
The West must go back to the basics: respect for democracy, free speech, economic justice, human rights and compassion.
In foreign affairs, the West must unite and understand that, collectively, free nations are stronger than any others in the world. What's needed are modern-day equivalents of Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, Lech Walesa and others. Today's leaders still have imperialism, dictatorship, terrorism, poverty and injustice to crush, wherever it exists on the planet.