Vladimir Putin, President of Russian Federation

The end of democracy age may be near, expert argue

The fall of new democracies will darken the lives of hundreds of millions of people and reshape international relations and America’s place in the world, Dr. Joshua Muravchik and Dr. Jeffrey Gedmin, prominent Foreign Policy Experts warned.

In their analysis of consequences of the post-Brexit and Neo-nationalist phenomenons published in Washington Post Dr. Muravchik and Dr. Gedmin applied a theory of three waves of democratization around the world proposed by Professor Samuel Huntington. The Harvard’s political scientist observed that the first and second were followed by disasters that ended with re-introducing of dictatorships in the new democratic states. The third wave began in the 1970’s of previous century and culminated in the peaceful dissolution of the last neocolonial empire of the Soviet Union in 1991.

This wave had not yet crested when Huntington wrote, but it did so early in the 21st century, when Freedom House found that nearly two-thirds of the world’s countries were “electoral democracies” while a record 45 percent fulfilled the group’s more demanding criteria for being labeled a “free country.”

Dr. Muravchik and Dr. Gedmin are concerned that “a constellation of recent events and trends suggests that an all-out crash could follow.”: failure of the democratic project for Arab states, decrease of democratic states, from 15 in 1991 to 6 in 2016, that emerged from the Soviet Union; the democracy reverse in Turkey and strengthening of “three aggressive” dictatorships: Russia, China and Iran.

Foreign policy experts emphasized the decision of President Donald Trump to continue a strategy of a great restraint in foreign affairs introduced by his predecessor. Trump’s “moral relativism towards Russia”, denigration of NATO alliance, applaud of Brexit and support for the nationalism and populism that leads to the break up of the European Union paved the way for the crash of third wave.

The countries of Western Europe have not only been America’s principal allies in the Cold War and the war against terrorism, they also, as stable, advanced and successful countries, constitute the other main cornerstone of the democratic world. The young democracies of Central and Eastern Europe were seen two decades ago as a source of inspiration for the older, more established West. Today, there is reason to fear for the solidity of Europe’s democracies (both East and West).

That reason is growth of a misinformed populism that does not understand the foundations of the democratic order built after the World War II in Europe. The dangerous cliché that divide society into people and its enemies harms rather than heals imbalances and injustices of the current economic and political system. To emphasize the point foreign policy experts quote observation by Princeton University’s Jan-Werner Mueller: ”
“Populists see themselves as sole moral representatives of the ‘true people’.” Media, courts, even universities can be viewed as ‘enemies of the people.’

Precisely this cliché contributed to the growth of popularity of populistic parties in France, Italy and Germany, the biggest economies in EU.

In this moment a political situation has not yet reached a point of no return, authors suggested. However were European Union to break up the Pandora’s box will be open.

…expect a surge of protectionism, illiberal nationalism and anti-American sentiment in pockets across the continent. Count on even greater Russian assertiveness in Europe in backing anti-democratic forces. Moscow is the source of none of these unfortunate trends, but it has shown itself eager to support and promote all of them.

The United States will survive the disaster that helped to trigger, but young democracies around Europe may end up under the rule of authoritarians or dictators.

The reverse that is the consequence of the crash of the third wave of democratization will make our time more dangerous.