The 20th century gave rise to a wealth of democratic movements….but in the last couple decades it appears that it is waning…..at first just a bit…but it seems to be getting stronger every year…..
In his brief time in the White House, US President Donald J. Trump has made a point of bestowing praise on the world’s leading autocrats. He repeatedly called Vladimir Putin a “strong leader,” described Xi Jinping as “a very good man,” said Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was doing a “fantastic job,” and lauded Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his triumph in a referendum that greatly expanded his presidential powers.
Trump’s new friends represent a rogues’ gallery of modern authoritarians. These 21st-century strongmen are responsible for introducing an arsenal of new tactics to use against their domestic opponents, and have gone on the offensive in an effort to subvert and replace the liberal international order.
As democratic movements wane the authoritarian movements gain strength…..and with that new found power the tactics must be fought to preserve democracy wherever it exists…..
After the spread of democracy at the end of the 20th century, authoritarianism is now rolling back democracy around the globe. In the US, supporters of democracy disarmed themselves by imagining an “end of history” in which nothing but their own ideas were possible. Authoritarians, meanwhile, keep practicing their old tactics and devising new ones.
It is time for those who support democracy to remember what activists from around the world have paid a price to learn: how to win.
We must attack authoritarianism where it exists……democracy must prevail.