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Initiative: Democracy & Disorder
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. Picture taken November 30, 2018. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. - RC1AB6752940
Report

The strongmen strike back

The Washington Post
Editor's Note:

Authoritarianism has returned as an ideological and strategic force, writes Robert Kagan. And it returns at just the moment when the liberal world is suffering a major crisis of confidence. This piece was originally published by The Washington Post.

Executive Summary

History’s Revenge & The Future of CompetitionToday, authoritarianism has emerged as the greatest challenge facing the liberal democratic world—a profound ideological, as well as strategic, challenge. Or, more accurately, it has reemerged, for authoritarianism has always posed the most potent and enduring challenge to liberalism, since the birth of the liberal idea itself. Authoritarianism has now returned as a geopolitical force, with strong nations such as China and Russia championing anti-liberalism as an alternative to a teetering liberal hegemony. It has returned as an ideological force, offering the age-old critique of liberalism, and just at the moment when the liberal world is suffering its greatest crisis of confidence since the 1930s.

Author

It has returned armed with new and hitherto unimaginable tools of social control and disruption that are shoring up authoritarian rule at home, spreading it abroad and reaching into the very heart of liberal societies to undermine them from within.

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