The liberal crisis posed by Trump, Brexit and authoritarian nationalism

President Trump’s visit to the UK this week, like his NATO meeting, has characteristically stirred up massive controversy and been met with widespread demonstrations. Rather than diplomatically mute his approach, he revels in controversy, the “Great Disruptor”. People may detest what Trump does and who he is, or be incredulous about what is happening and be like rabbits in the headlights, but that may be uncomfortably beside the point. A major shift in global politics is in the making, a polarisation between liberalism and authoritarian nationalism, a liberal crisis. What is important to do is to step back from the controversy and look at the broader trends, of which Trump is a figurehead as well as a leader, as seen in the UK and elsewhere. An age of reaction Both in the US and in Europe, the post-Cold War liberal … Read more

Liberalism retreats before the advance of nationalism and the strong man

The turbulence of 2016 has revealed enough to make clear that we now have two competing visions of the global political order, liberalism and nationalism. One might say “nothing new then”, given that such a competition is in some ways a reversion to an older pre-1945 pattern, were it not for the apparent progress made since then to create a rules and human rights-based international order. Now however, some might think that such progress is going into reverse, with the rise of “strong man” authoritarian regimes in important states like Russia, Turkey, India and even, for some, the USA under Trump, to join longer-standing regimes in places like China. Suddenly liberal democracy looks to be under threat. A rules-based liberal global order Since the end of the Cold War, and the competing claims to legitimacy of democracy and communism, it … Read more

%d bloggers like this: