In this panel discussion at the ARC conference in London this month Greg Sheridan pointed out that all those on the world stage hostile to the democratic West (China, Russia, Iran, as well as their prixies) are led by people of deep religious or ideological convictions, and that we are taken by surprise by their actions because we don’t understand these convictions.
In reply, historian Niall Ferguson hit the nail on the head by saying, in part,
“Part of the difficulty we have in understanding conviction, ideological conviction, is that we have none. It’s very hard to understand that kind of motivation if your belief system has become so eroded that it becomes at best a cost-benefit analysis problem.”
I don’t agree with everything said at this conference, but the talks and panels are very interesting and well worth listening to: