Democracy and the Authoritarian Ill Winds
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Democracy and the Authoritarian Ill Winds
27 June @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Since 2006, the world has been in a “democratic recession”. For most of this period, the recession was shallow and even disputed, generating only modest overall global declines in political rights and civil liberties, and leaving the basic contours of democratic predominance in the world unchanged. But looking beneath the aggregate numbers, the pace of democratic breakdown has been accelerating in strategically important nation-states such as Turkey and Russia. Over the past decade, liberal democratic freedoms have increasingly come under strain in EU member-states such as Hungary. There are many things we can do to improve and rejuvenate our democracies at home in the West, as well as encouraging the maintenance and strengthening of liberal democratic freedoms across the globe.
The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to a discussion with Larry Diamond (Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies) about what can be done to improve and rejuvenate the democracies around the globe.
Larry Diamond is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. For more than six years, he directed FSI’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, where he now leads its Program on Arab Reform and Democracy and its Global Digital Policy Incubator. He is the founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy and also serves as Senior Consultant at the International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy. His research focuses on democratic trends and conditions around in the world, and on policies and reforms to defend and advance democracy. His 2016 book, In Search of Democracy, explores the challenges confronting democracy and democracy promotion, gathering together three decades of his writing and research, particularly on Africa and Asia. He has just completed a new book on the global crisis of democracy, which will be published in 2019, and is now writing a textbook on democratic development.
Dr. Rakib Ehsan is a Research Fellow in the Centre on Radicalisation & Terrorism. Rakib specialises in the socio-political behaviour and attitudes of British ethnic minorities, with a particular focus on the UK’s Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic groups. He holds a BA Politics & International Relations (First-Class Honours), MSc Democracy, Politics & Governance (Pass with Distinction), and a PhD in Political Science, all from Royal Holloway, University of London.
On the 27th June the Henry Jackson Society were delighted to welcome Larry Diamond to discuss the ‘democratic recession’ that has been occurring since 2006, and what can be done to improve and rejuvenate the democracies around the globe. Larry Diamond is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
In line with his recent book, ‘Ill Winds: Saving democracy from Russian rage, Chinese ambition, and American complacency’, the discussion was structured with regards to each ‘wind’. The first is a resurgent and aggressive Russian regime which seeks to restore empire and domination by undermining, confronting, and confusing democracy and freedom.
The second is the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which can no longer be considered a rising power but, instead, a risen power. Larry Diamond argued that the CCP has engaged in a global effort to penetrate democratic institutions and disable resistance to China’s rise. China has also engaged in efforts to control the global narrative about China. One such way is through the promotion of the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI) as a global development effort which simultaneously ignores the increasing debt levels for the countries involved.
The third challenge is the decline in the quality of American democracy. Larry Diamond’s main concerns in this respect have been the rise of an illiberal demagogue and the polarisation of American society. This represents, for the first time in modern American history, a president not committed to democratic principles who evidences it on daily basis. However, Larry Diamond stressed that under threat is the quality of American democracy, but not yet its overall survival.
In his closing remarks, Larry Diamond added a fourth dimension which he said could be considered an extension of the previous one, namely, the broader trend of illiberal authoritarianism throughout Europe. Hungary is a striking example. This, compiled with the failure of the EU to act early in line with its requirement of member states to be liberal democracies, highlights the deterioration of the democratic fabric of Europe.
A round of question and answers followed.
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