BOOK REVIEW: Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes,
“The Light That Failed: A Reckoning”, Penguin UK, 2019
By Mara Pepine
The title of this book, The Light That Failed: A Reckoning, is directly inspired by the novel The Light That Failed written by Rudyard Kipling in 1891, depicting a tragic unrequited love story. What Stephen Holmes and Ivan Krastev hope to achieve is to explain how liberalism became a victim instead of the victor it was purported to be after the Cold War.1A preliminary look will highlight certain events of the last thirty years as underlying causes of the decline of liberalism: 9/11, the second Iraq War, the 2008 financial crisis, the annexation of Crimea, the Syrian War, the 2015 migration crisis, the Brexit referendum, and the 2016 American elections, all evolving against the background of China’s economic miracle and growing influence. With the most border enforcement since the end of the Cold War, and with decreasing public faith in the systems of democracy, the question this book aims to answer is the famous quote from Ben Rhodes ‘What if we were wrong?’, referring to the possibility that liberals might have gravely misread the post-Cold War situation.