Democracy is sacred, right?
Well it is until it isn’t!
On both sides of the Atlantic the regnant elites have launched a furious regime change campaign not all that different from the ones they started in the former Soviet republics. The formula seems to go like this: hold an election in which the full resources of the EU states and their upper classes are brought to bear on one side of the question. Vilify dissenters as more than likely agents of Vladimir Putin.
On the British side the government of Prime Minister Theresa May, which has been all along pretending to be in favor the people’s decision to leave the EU, has effectively sabotaged the process with so many exceptions, amendments, other concessions to Brussels that they might as well have stayed in.
Let’s start with the election of Donald Trump….some painted him as an “isolationist”…..not something that I say or heard from him in all his campaigning…..
Let’s go even further back say 15 years or so……Illiberal Democracy…….
The term “illiberal democracy,” advanced by some as an acceptable model for future change in many parts of the Middle East, is, in truth, an oxymoron. Real functioning democracies can never be illiberal. Nor can they be at peace with the rest of the world, a fact that makes their appearance quite problematic for many of their neighbors and for the world at large.
But that was before the rise of Sir Donald…….enter Our Dear Supreme Leader and the royal presidency begins…..
Donald Trump never expected to win the presidency. As Michael Wolff exposes in Fire and Fury, he hoped to use the campaign to build his personal company’s brand and secure a career in right-wing media. Trump’s inner circle was so shocked by their victory that his wife Melania purportedly broke down in tears not out of joy, but horror at the prospect of moving into the White House and subjecting their pathological family soap opera to even more public scrutiny. Unprepared to rule, Trump scrambled to cobble together a cabinet with an amalgam of establishment Republicans, Wall Street Democrats, and far-right nationalists.
The new administration struggled from day one to produce a coherent foreign policy based on Trump’s slogans “Make America Great Again” and “Putting America First.” Trump’s consigliere Steve Bannon and his co-thinkers called for the United States to withdraw from free trade deals like the North American Free Trade.
Two years into a presidency and many are starting to see the Illiberal Hegemony as it begins to wrap itself around our country……
Barry Posen, a political scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of the leading scholars of American grand strategy, has a fascinating essay in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs. I want to write more later about some areas where I disagree with Posen’s argument (some of which I articulated in the paper I wrote last year on libertarian foreign policy). However, I want to highlight here an aspect of Posen’s argument that I think is spot on.
Since he first articulated his “America First” foreign policy agenda during the 2016 campaign, critics have argued that Donald Trump wanted to end American hegemony. Posen argues that, as president Trump, has not actually tried to end American leadership of the international system. If anything, he has accelerated. However, Posen claims that Trump has also transformed America’s strategy of “liberal hegemony” into an “illiberal hegemony.” He writes,
Trump is striving to set up his own little imperial court……maybe now with a Dem majority in the House this country will and should return to its liberal roots…..
But will it?