In international society, there are plenty of analysts and only a limited population of actual statesmen. And there is a fundamental difference between any ordinary analyst on one hand and an actual statesman on the other hand. As Henry Kissinger wrote:
“The analyst can allot whatever time is necessary to come to a clear conclusion; the overwhelming challenge to the statesman is the pressure of time. The analyst runs no risk. If his conclusions prove wrong, he can write another treatise. The statesman is permitted only one guess; his mistakes are irretrievable. The analyst has available to him all the facts; he will be judged on his intellectual power. The statesman must act on assessments that cannot be proved at the time he is making them; he will be judged by history on the basis of how wisely he managed the inevitable change and, above all, by how well he preserves the peace.”
What Kissinger did not mention – and to his credit, he wrote the aforementioned points right before the start of the 21st century – is the cognitive dissonance, frenzy, and the mania that is associated with being in a Western position of power in the 21st century and thus the inability of 21st century Western statesmen to preserve the global peace. Any effort to overcome the cognitive dissonance, frenzy, and mania with reason and truth is countered with censorship and hysteria by certain parties, mainstream media outlets, and special interest groups.
Thus, one of the major factors associated with the inability of 21st century Western statesman to preserve the global peace and to maintain global order is the issue of competence. When one compares the competency of 20th century leaders or even Cold War leaders to the competency or competence levels of 21st century leaders, the difference is essentially the difference between night and day.
Moreover, competence becomes a non-issue when we consider how cognitive dissonance, frenzy, and mania outweigh and overwhelm any level of competence and composure in 21st century Western statesmanship. Certain parties, mainstream media outlets, and certain special interest groups enable and prop up the cognitive dissonance, frenzy, and mania in order to thwart efforts towards global peace and the establishment of a socially-constructed global order, with the latter having been a work in progress even after the post-World War II peace and the end of the first ‘Cold War.’
Thus, competence – which stems from knowledge, wisdom that is derived from guidance which in turn comes from a divine criterion, as well as asceticism and self-denial – is one of the core issues of international affairs, and competence is severely lacking amongst 21st century Western leaders. Moreover, these Western leaders have been wrong more than they have been right through the course of the 21st century because of their lack of knowledge, lack of wisdom and their inability to judge properly due to the absence of a divine criterion, and their lack of ascetic virtues and their inability to engage in self-denial. As a result, Western leaders in the 21st century control virtually nothing at this point in time, which means control and power will be concentrated elsewhere. After all, the basic theme of postmodernism is the paradox of the concentration of power amidst the dispersal of control and power which occurs in a state of social fragmentation.