Departures Podcast with Michael Kimmage

So much of the peace and prosperity achieved following the end of World War II and past the end of the Cold War was rooted in a common civilizational grammar driving foreign policy, an imagined community of nations referred to as “The West” based on a set of Enlightenment ideas. But then we lost confidence in that cultural narrative, and gradually many in the United States abandoned the Jeffersonian West of liberty, multilateralism and rule of law in favor of an ethno-religious-nationalist line of thinking.

That’s the argument that we discuss with Prof. Michael Kimmage, PhD, a former diplomat and professor of history at Catholic University who has written a fascinating new book, The Abandonment of the West.

During the interview, we ask Kimmage to discuss why Donald Trump may be the first non-Western president of the United States, how a lack of diversity and participation in foreign affairs leadership by African Americans has weakened the notion of the West, and how we can reconfigure the conception of the West in ways which can override the polarization dividing the country today.