The Decline of Western Influence — and Values

The rise of China. The power of Russia. The spread of ISIS. Are Western values (i.e. democracy, human rights, and popular sovereignty) losing their influence in the world?

The rise of China. The power of Russia. The spread of ISIS. Are Western values (i.e. democracy, human rights, and popular sovereignty) losing their influence in the world?


There is a cultural hubris, for sure, that Americans have long been known and resented for (even by European nations) but, with the Syrian refugee crisis now affecting countries from France to Romania, all Western countries are now having to face their ineffectiveness in addressing the problems in this region. If anything, Russia has been more successful in influencing Assad’s regime, and wealthy Gulf states’ “angel investors” have consistently supported ISIS in its rapid expansion throughout Iraq and Syria. The reality is that America started two wars--which also were supported by several powerful European nations--and the result has been a decline in Western influence around the world.

This moment is a crucial one for the United States, says Ian Bremmer.

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A new theory explains Jupiter’s perplexing origin

A new computer model solves a pair of Jovian riddles.

(NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill)
Surprising Science
  • Astronomers have wondered how a gas giant like Jupiter could sit in the middle of our solar system's planets.
  • Also unexplained has been the pair of asteroid clusters in front of and behind Jupiter in its orbit.
  • Putting the two questions together revealed the answer to both.
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Vikings unwittingly made their swords stronger by trying to imbue them with spirits

They didn't know it, but the rituals of Iron Age Scandinavians turned their iron into steel.

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Culture & Religion
  • Iron Age Scandinavians only had access to poor quality iron, which put them at a tactical disadvantage against their neighbors.
  • To strengthen their swords, smiths used the bones of their dead ancestors and animals, hoping to transfer the spirit into their blades.
  • They couldn't have known that in so doing, they actually were forging a rudimentary form of steel.
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The secondary ticketing market is worth $15 billion. How long will fans have to pay?

Artists and fans are the big losers as bot-powered scalpers make a killing.

Bruce Springsteen performs on stage at The New York Comedy Festival and The Bob Woodruff Foundation present the 12th Annual Stand Up For Heroes event at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 5, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Bob Woodruff Foundation)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The secondary ticketing market is predicted to grow to $15.19 billion next year.
  • Artists, athletes, management, and venues see none of this revenue—it all goes to scalpers and ticketing agencies.
  • Some companies are likely in breach of anti-trust laws, but no one seems to be regulating the industry.
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