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Western Democracy Is Threatening Suicide

Western Democracy Is Threatening Suicide
The BriefGet Up To Speed

Do the populist and nationalist uprisings that led to Donald Trump and Brexit signal Western democracy’s certain decline? Or can recent events be seen as part of a healthy and regenerative antidote to policies that have challenged liberal institutions and marginalized the middle class? Some predict that a resilient liberal world order will rally to triumph over fear, xenophobia and fractured political parties – others say that support for autocratic alternatives is on the rise.


Emmanuel Macron won the French presidency over the right-wing nationalist Marine Le Pen in a sweeping victory that resounded across the country. The result bolstered the European Union and showed the limits of Ms. Le Pen’s far-right message.

Sunday, May 7, 2017
Gregor Aisch, Matthew Bloch, K.K. Rebecca Lai, and BenoÎt Morenne

Here is an easy-to-understand guide to Brexit - beginning with the basics, then a look at the negotiations, followed by a selection of answers to questions we've been sent.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Alex Hunt, and Brian Wheeler

The enlarged EU remains focused on making its governing institutions more transparent and democratic. More powers have been given to the directly elected European Parliament, while national parliaments play a greater role, working alongside the European institutions. In turn, European citizens have an ever-increasing number of channels for taking part in the political process.

Thursday, September 28, 2017
For the Motion
In his insightful and harrowing new book, Edward Luce, a columnist for The Financial Times, issues a chilling warning: “Western liberal democracy is not yet dead,” he writes, “but it is far closer to collapse than we may wish to believe. It is facing its gravest challenge since the Second World War. This time, however, we have conjured up the enemy from within. At home and abroad, America’s best liberal traditions are under assault from its own president. We have put arsonists in charge of the fire brigade.”
Monday, June 19, 2017
Michiko Kakutani

According to a new index, America's democracy score deteriorated in 2016.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The global centre of gravity is moving from West to East, to the West’s disadvantage

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Michael Power

Has the populist tide sweeping Europe crested?

Monday, June 12, 2017
Richard Maher

Multiple and more frequent crises have been taking place in consolidated democracies where governments fail to solve problems, politics takes extremist directions, and entire institutional systems perform poorly.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

In recent years, the liberal world order that has held sway over international affairs for the past seven decades has been fragmenting under the pressure of systemic economic stresses, growing tribalism and nationalism, and a general loss of confidence in established international and national institutions. The incoming U.S. administration faces a grave challenge in determining whether it wishes to continue to uphold this liberal order, which has helped to maintain a stable international system in the face of challenges from regional powers and other potential threats, or whether it is willing to accept the consequences that may result if it chooses to abandon America’s key role as a guarantor of the system it helped to found and sustain.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Robert Kagan

Angela Merkel may sound tough on Donald Trump, but her country still depends on America.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Since Donald Trump’s cataclysmic election, the unthinkable has become ordinary. We’ve grown used to naked profiteering off the presidency, an administration that calls for the firing of private citizens for political dissent and nuclear diplomacy conducted via Twitter taunts. Here, in my debut as a New York Times columnist, I want to discuss a structural problem that both underlies and transcends our current political nightmare: We have entered a period of minority rule.

Monday, September 25, 2017
Michelle Goldberg

“This is the kind of thing you see in broken states.”

Monday, July 31, 2017
Zack Beauchamp

If most voters are uninformed, who should make decisions about the public’s welfare?

Thursday, September 28, 2017
Caleb Crain
Against the Motion

This was the year when democracy punched massive holes in the smug and consensual regimes of the global liberal elite. And there is more to come from the so-called populists who are derided by the elites in direct correlation to the threat they pose to them.

Thursday, December 29, 2016
Janice Atkinson

Each week, In Theory takes on a big idea in the news and explores it from a range of perspectives. This week we’re talking about the shifting world order. Need a primer? Catch up here.

Friday, January 22, 2016
G. John Ikenberry
The president’s foreign policy aims for a globalism rooted in nationalism.
Thursday, August 24, 2017
Henry R. Nau

Damage Control After Trump's Election.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Thorsten Benner
It should cheer voters of all political persuasions that our system of checks and balances is working two months into the Trump administration. 
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Charles Krauthammer

Since Donald Trump’s election, the United States has been gripped by tyrannophobia. Conspiracies against democracy are everywhere; truth is under siege; totalitarianism is making a comeback; “resistance” is the last refuge of citizens.

Friday, August 11, 2017
Samuel Moyn and David Priestlan

The president has energized his own supporters, and his attacks on established institutions have triggered a systemic immune response in the body politic.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Eric Liu

Denied a populism from the left, millions of Americans picked the one from the right.

Thursday, September 28, 2017
D.D. Guttenplan

Since the referendum, Brexit represents a culture war between those who want to defend the unified values of post-war democracies, and the tragic resurgence of nationalism across the world

Saturday, January 28, 2017
Seb Dance

When elites govern for themselves—not the national interest—a populist backlash is a good thing.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Daniel Hannan
European Union & Democracy Gap

The European Union and the United States suffer from democracy deficits. Modern democracy is realised in regularly elected legislative bodies that, though small enough to house in a parliamentary building, are large enough to reflect the interests of an entire people. By ratio of representatives to population, the US and the EU have among the least democratic of the world’s representative assemblies.

Thursday, September 28, 2017
David V. Johnson

Europe might be listening to the wrong Merkel.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Matt Phillips

Leave campaigners claim that Britain is losing control of its affairs to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels – are they right?

Thursday, September 28, 2017
Jennifer Rankin

The institutions need reform.

Friday, March 3, 2017

With ever-rising inequality and the supremacy of a privileged elite class, American-style democracy is under threat.

Sunday, July 2, 2017
Edward Luce

Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis returns to the spotlight to attend the official launch of the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (Diem25) on February 9, 2016 in Berlin, Germany.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Serena Kutchinsky

Turkey is becoming more religious, more paranoid and more inward-looking. We have become a nation where teachers can be detained for no reason, singing songs can be banned and intellectuals and writers can be accused of sending subliminal messages to society. Nobody feels secure or knows how things can get better, or if they ever will. The demise of Turkey’s shaky democracy shows us that history doesn’t necessarily move forward. Sometimes it goes backward.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Elif Shafak

Any lingering hopes that Erdoğan would return to the path of democracy have wilted. Instead he has solidified his power to push his political agenda 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Ersin Şenel

The batch of more than 3,000 Russian-bought ads that Facebook is preparing to turn over to Congress shows a deep understanding of social divides in American society, with some ads promoting African American rights groups, including Black Lives Matter, and others suggesting that these same groups pose a rising political threat, say people familiar with the covert influence campaign.

Monday, September 25, 2017
Adam Entous, Craig Timberg and Elizabeth Dwoskin

Of course the Kremlin is going to try to hack Germany’s upcoming election. But it’s not going to succeed.

Thursday, August 3, 2017
John Forbrig

Tony Kwok says each time the US president’s actions call into question the very basics of US ethical standards, they show that Western-style democracy is clearly not a good example for China to follow.

Friday, August 4, 2017
Tony Kwok

For years, conventional wisdom stated that as the People’s Republic grew more prosperous, the country would naturally transition to a liberal democracy. But this prediction — dubbed the “China Fantasy” by the author James Mann — has not happened.

Thursday, January 19, 2017
Matt Schiavenza
Global Perspectives