Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
Winston Churchill, House of Commons, 11 November 1947. 1
No. Illiberalism has not yet brought the West to the brink of collapse. But the populist radical right surge that has hit both sides of the Atlantic in recent years has revealed failures of and weaknesses in
The West of which we speak is defined by the values of liberal democracy,
individual freedom, human rights, tolerance and equality under the rule of law.
This book explores how Islamist terror and Russian aggression as companion
threats to the West when terrorists target Russia as well as the United States
and its allies. The threats posed by Islamist terror and Russian aggression
present themselves in very different ways. In the time of transatlantic traumas,
the Islamist terrorist threat and the Russian threat have worked diligently and
with some success. The book examines the hatred of Islamists towards Western
democracies, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union for
their involvement in the Middle East politics for several decades. There is no
single explanation for the rising popularity of illiberalism in the Western
democracies; a combination of factors has produced a general sense of malaise.
The book discusses the sources of discontent prevailing in the Western
countries, and looks at the rise of Trumpism, Turkey and its Western values as
well as the domestic tensions between Turkey's political parties. It
suggests a radical centrist populist Western strategy could be applied to deal
with the threats and challenges, reinvigorating the Western system. The book
also touches upon suggestions relating to illiberalism in Europe, Turkey's
drift away from the West, and the Brexit referendum.
liberal democracy. Such politicians and parties have thrown around their political weight in several countries, exercising power in some, including the United States, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland and Turkey.
Sources of discontent
There is no single explanation for the rising popularity of illiberalism, but a combination of factors has produced a general sense of malaise. The Great Recession, starting in 2008, left millions of Americans and Europeans without jobs and in debt. While the job market has recovered, real wages have not, and a significant portion of
illiberal directions. Today, many countries on both sides of the Atlantic are facing decisions about what kind of democracy they want. Is it liberal democracy, based on the North Atlantic Treaty’s value statement and the values articulated by the European Union? Or is it what has been called “electoral democracy,” and which one European leader proudly calls “illiberal democracy”? This seems to mean that elections are held, but the rule of law and individual liberties, like freedom of speech and the press, are limited. Decisions by NATO member states, including the United
once and for all from the grip of anti-democratic and illiberal themes and concepts – unless such a Marxism can come to animate the Marxist political left, Marxism as a political force might just as well be dead and buried. A movement so slow to learn would have earned this fate.
have little choice. In addition, this move toward accommodation with Russia strengthens illiberal pro-Moscow parties throughout Europe and produces several national administrations that lean more toward fascist forms of governance than liberal democracy.
There are, of course, endless variants on the three scenarios. The continuity option could produce no forward movement and leave the alliance essentially where it was in 2020. Or, it could move more rapidly toward more radical positive change. The radical positive change scenario could, despite this
democracy and its Western moorings, the illiberal tendencies in many NATO/EU states, the decision by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (Brexit), and the persistent burden-sharing problem. All these issues persisted and were joined by a major crisis of confidence for the transatlantic alliance with the election in November 2016 of Donald J. Trump as the president of the United States.
Turkey’s drift away from the West
As one of the countries that have long-struggled with NATO’s value-driven preconditions, Turkey today is most in danger of violating them
authoritarian, illiberal government structure with power transferred to the executive is incompatible with Western ideals of democracy and the rule of law. Erdoğan’s post-coup purges also threaten to weaken Turkey’s military and thus the security of NATO. Many officers assigned to NATO were recalled and presumably many who returned to Turkey have ended up in jail, including as much as a third of Turkey’s officer corps. Some officers on NATO duty sought asylum in NATO countries to escape that fate.
In the foreseeable future, it would be nearly impossible to resume EU
industrialism and democracy’ and ‘nationalism represents the attempt to actualise in political terms the universal urge for liberty and progress’ (p. 2). However, this ‘liberal’ view of the nation repeatedly comes up against a dilemma: how can nationalism also facilitate illiberal movements and regimes which created internecine violence, political crises and civil war? Chatterjee points out that there is a conflict right at the heart of nationalism which he calls the ‘liberal dilemma’: nationalism may promise liberty and universal suffrage, but is complicit in
– individual liberty, human rights, and so on – and that the West can be defined as synonymous with these values. However, the struggle against ideas that run counter to these Western values continues, as demonstrated by recent political developments on both sides of the Atlantic. As one observer has noted, “The source of the West’s evolutionary power has been its openness, its equality of rights, and its social trust.” 2 All of those attributes have been called into question by the recent resurgence of illiberalism.
This, of course, is not the first time that such a