By Telos Press
How do obscure ideas from the ivory tower enter the halls of power? In 2019, London School of Economics professor Christopher Coker published a book on “civilizational states,” describing a new ideological threat to the world order emerging from Russia and China. Three years later, on April 1-3, 2022, four policy advisors to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke at a conference in New York City on the theme of “Civilizational States and Liberal Empire—Bound to Collide?”
Convened by Telos, a quarterly journal—oddly enough—for “critical theory of the contemporary,” the conference attracted a crowd of around thirty academics and intellectual oddballs. Not much consensus was reached. The Pompeo officials themselves disagreed. But their very participation at the event confirms that Coker’s ideas have caught on in a big way.