Saturday, May 5, 2018

Why the fearful, the vulnerable and the confused are attracted to ‘illiberal’ politics?

Oussama Romdhani,

Jihadist terrorism, in particular, can lower citizens’ expectations in Western democracies and make all kinds of concessions palatable.

image (not from article) from

Global democracy promotion, an activity that consumed much Western public diplomacy [JB emphasis] after the fall of the Soviet Union, is predictably not a priority anymore. ...

Consumed by its own internal concerns, the West is much less interested in exporting its values than it was a decade ago. Former US President Barack Obama’s push for including Islamist parties in democratically elected governments is a thing of the past. For many in the United States and Europe, preserving Western value systems at home comes first.

Even the US president’s newly picked foreign policy hawks are no neocons. They are political ultraconservatives more interested in showdowns with America’s enemies than in re-engineering them in the West’s image. John Bolton is no Elliott Abrams and never was a member of George W. Bush’s “Democracy Doctrine” crew.

There is reason to see the West’s change of heart about democracy promotion as a nod, if not a blank cheque to authoritarian rulers everywhere, but it remains to be seen whether the shift in priorities can be an opportunity for countries outside the West’s zone of influence to build their own systems and undergo their own transitions or if it will lead to more old-style illiberal autocracies. ...

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