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  • Author: Jon Greenwald
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: When the Wall fell in 1989, I was the U.S. Embassy political counselor in East Berlin. We immediately realized something new would replace the Cold War, but one of my few certainties was that if Moscow released its grip on the Warsaw Pact, Hungary – Eastern Europe’s freest and most economically diverse society — would be quickest to integrate smoothly into Western Europe. President George H.W. Bush’s goal of a “Europe whole and free” has come closer, but we are not there yet, and Hungary, where I held a similar position earlier, has lagged. Respected observers Freedom House and Transparency International chart a course that puts it dangerously close to, even within, the autocratic zone. Worse, it champions a nationalist populism and “illiberal democracy” directly challenging key principles to which the European Union (EU) of which it is a member and the U.S., its ally in NATO, subscribe. What should be done?
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Nationalism, Bilateral Relations, Populism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Hungary, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Raúl Benítez Manaut
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Revista UNISCI/UNISCI Journal
  • Institution: Unidad de investigación sobre seguridad y cooperación (UNISCI)
  • Abstract: The article starts from the hypothesis that the COVID-19 pandemic re-evaluates the concept of multidimensional security, which emerged from the 2003 meeting of the Organization of American States. It is argued that, at the level of hemispheric geopolitics, it is in the three most populous countries, under the nationalist and populist leaderships of Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro and Andrés Manuel López Obrador, where the pandemic has wreaked the most havoc. The similarities in the initial handling of the pandemic, its minus-valuation, the so-called Fourth Transformation policy and its characteristics, deployed by President López Obrador in Mexico and its effect on the militarization of the country are analyzed as well as the impact of the pandemic on the population and the great economic crisis induced. It is concluded that Mexico is experiencing a "militarization with popular support", and that the pandemic has favored the public image of the military. / El artículo se desarrolla sobre la hipótesis de que la pandemia COVID-19 revalora el concepto de seguridad multidimensional, desprendido de la reunión de la Organización de Estados Americanos de 2003. Se afirma que, a nivel de la geopolítica del hemisferio, es en los tres países más poblados, los liderazgos nacionalistas y populistas de Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro y Andrés Manuel López Obrador, donde la pandemia ha causado más estragos. Se analizan las similitudes en el manejo inicial de la pandemia, su minusvaloración, la llamada política de la Cuarta Transformación y sus características, desplegada por el presidente López Obrador en México y el efecto que tiene en la militarización del país; el impacto de la pandemia en la población y la gran crisis económica inducida. Se concluye que México vive una “militarización con respaldo popular”, y que la pandemia ha sido un elemento que ha favorecido a los militares en su imagen pública.
  • Topic: Security, Populism, COVID-19, Militarization
  • Political Geography: Brazil, Latin America, Mexico, United States of America
  • Author: Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Carisa Nietsche
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for a New American Security
  • Abstract: The rise of populism in Europe and the United States is well documented. Although studies may disagree about the relative importance of populism’s drivers, there is broad consensus that rising inequality, declining bonds to established traditional parties, increasing salience of identity politics, and economic grievance have played a role in fueling populism’s rise. Although populism is a symptom of democracy’s larger problems, the strategies and tactics populist parties and leaders use also provide their own, direct threat to liberal democracy. Many of the tactics that populist leaders use weaken democratic institutions and constraints on executive power. Populism is also detrimental to democracy because it exacerbates political polarization, which makes it hard for democracy to effectively function. As societies grow more polarized, people become willing to tolerate abuses of power and sacrifice democratic principles if doing so advances their side’s interests and keeps the other side out of power.1 The polarization that populism fuels, in other words, increases the risk of democratic decline. This report offers recommendations for combating populism. It translates key findings from cutting-edge academic research in the political science, political psychology, sociology, and communications disciplines into practical, evidence-based recommendations. The first set of recommendations is intended to equip political parties, politicians, and candidates to create a political context more conducive to the success of liberal democratic actors. Research shows that context matters—although many people may hold populist attitudes, these attitudes must be activated by the political context to translate into votes for populist leaders.
  • Topic: Politics, Democracy, Populism, Liberalism, Polarization
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Daniel Milton, Muhammad Al-'Ubaydi, Michael Brian Jenkins, Mohammed Hafez
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: In the September issue, it is revealed for the first time that the Islamic State’s new leader, publicly identified by the U.S. government as Amir Muhammad Sa’id ‘Abd-al-Rahman al-Mawla, was detained by U.S. forces in Iraq in 2008 and interrogated. The Combating Terrorism Center has made available on its website three of his declassified interrogation reports, and these are analyzed in a feature article by Daniel Milton and Muhammad al-`Ubaydi, who caution that claims made by al-Mawla while in custody are very difficult to verify. Based on their assessment of the three documents and their research, they conclude that “key assumptions about al-Mawla, notably his Turkmen ethnicity and early involvement in the insurgency in Iraq, may not be accurate. Moreover, statements made by al-Mawla, while doubtless trying to minimize his own commitment to ISI [the Islamic State of Iraq], suggest that his commitment may have been borne less of zeal than of serendipity. If true, this would suggest that something certainly changed in al-Mawla, as his later reputation suggests someone who ruthlessly pursued his ideology, even to carrying out genocide against its enemies. The TIRs [tactical interrogation reports] also show that al-Mawla, who, according to the timeline that he himself provided, appears to have quickly risen in the organization’s ranks in part because of his religious training, knew much about ISI and was willing to divulge many of these details during his interrogation, potentially implicating and resulting in the death of at least one high-ranking ISI figure.” The Combating Terrorism Center convened a panel of leading scholars and analysts to further discuss the three documents. Cole Bunzel, Haroro Ingram, Gina Ligon, and Craig Whiteside provided their takeaways, including on whether the revelations may hurt al-Mawla’s standing within the group. In the other cover article, Brian Michael Jenkins considers the future role of the U.S. armed forces in counterterrorism, in a sweeping examination of the changing strategic, budgetary and threat environment. He writes: “Dividing the military into near-peer warfare and counterterrorism camps makes little sense. Future wars will require U.S. commanders to orchestrate capabilities to counter an array of conventional and unconventional modes of conflict, including terrorism.” Finally, as the global civil war between the Islamic State and al-Qa`ida intensifies, Mohammed Hafez outlines how a recent ‘documentary’ released by the Islamic State’s Yemeni branch has made clearer than ever before the areas of disagreement between the groups.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Armed Forces, Counter-terrorism, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Populism, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Frank Graves, Jeff Smith
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: Canada has not been left untouched by a new authoritarian, or ordered, populism that has seen the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president and the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union. Based on measurements of public opinion and other means developed to assess the phenomenon, this paper finds that populism in Canada is a significant political force, replacing the traditional left-right political spectrum. Not only has northern populism created a heightened partisan polarization in Canada, but it also proved to be a strong predictor of the outcome of the 2019 federal election. The authors’ research shows that 34 per cent of Canadians maintain a populist outlook. Older, less-educated, working-class Canadians are the most likely to sympathize with ordered populism, and it is more prevalent in Alberta and Saskatchewan. It is also more closely aligned with Canadians whose political sympathies lie with conservative political parties. A number of factors have contributed to the rise of ordered populism. These include economic stagnation, the growing disparity between the wealthy and the middle and working classes, a sense that society is headed in the wrong direction and a backlash against the loss of traditional core values. Ordered populism rests on the belief in a corrupt elite, and the idea that power needs to be wrested from this elite and returned to the people. Oriented toward authoritarianism, ordered populism emphasizes obedience, hostility toward outgroups, a desire to turn back the clock to a time of greater order in society, and a search for a strongman type to lead the return to a better time. Nothing about ordered populism serves the public interest. Instead, its anti-democratic nature makes it incapable of solving the problems that spawned its rise in the first place. Ordered populism is xenophobic, mistrustful of science and journalism, and unsympathetic to equality and gender issues. Arising out of fear and anger, ordered populism is ultimately unhealthy for Western democracies and their societies and economies. Canada has yet to accord the rise of ordered populism the attention it deserves, although this paper explains why it is a critical force in this country that needs to be addressed. Currently, attitudes toward ordered populism are generally limited to sneering, derisiveness and denial, all of which do nothing to address the problem. Solving it requires understanding its roots. And if its origins lie in the collapse of the middle-class dream, then policy-makers will need to focus on creating a new economics of hope. Ordered populism is at the heart of stark divisions in Canada, and the 2019 federal election did little, if anything, to mend the rupture. Dissatisfaction with the election’s results could forecast an even worse polarization in the near future, and increase the appeal of authoritarianism, if populism is left unaddressed.
  • Topic: Politics, Authoritarianism, Elections, Populism, Ideology
  • Political Geography: Canada, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Deva Woodly, Tina Kempin Reuter, Saskia Stachowitsch
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP)
  • Abstract: While Joe Biden has won the US presidential elections, it is clear that the Trump presidency was not an aberration in the democratic tradition of the US, but reflects a broader shift towards authoritarian politics that is also mirrored on the global scale. This panel discussion reflects on the domestic and international effects of these shifts on social movements, marginalized populations, human rights, and global peace-making. Together with renowned experts, we will explore the future of social justice, inclusion, and participation in the US and beyond under a Biden administration that is faced with the conditions of populism, persistent white supremacy, and rising authoritarianism.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Elections, Populism, Social Justice, Donald Trump, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Christopher C. Harmon, T. J. Linzy, Jack Vahram Kalpakian, Bruce I. Gudmundsson, Ryan Burke, Jahara "Franky" Matisek, Zsofia Budai, Kevin Johnston, Blagovest Tashev, Michael Purcell, David McLaughlin, Kashish Parpiani, Daniel De Wit, Timothy Chess
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Advanced Military Studies
  • Institution: Marine Corps University Press, National Defense University
  • Abstract: In this issue of MCU Journal, the authors discuss various concepts of power and great power competition. For generations, scholars have debated changes in power and how that evolution could potentially impact the United States, its allies, and those hovering on the edge of greatness in whatever form that may take. The concept of power has taken on many meanings as the character of warfare has adapted to the time—hard power, soft power, sea power, airpower, space power, great power, combat power, etc. So how do we define such an abstract concept as power? The Department of Defense (DOD) defines combat power as “the total means of destructive and/or disruptive force which a military unit/formation can apply against the opponent at a given time.” Clearly, power must be projected; and for our purposes, that means an entity has the “ability . . . to apply all or some of its elements of national power—political, economic, informational, or military—to rapidly and effectively deploy and sustain forces in and from multiple dispersed locations to respond to crises, to contribute to deterrence, and to enhance regional stability.”
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Climate Change, International Cooperation, Migration, History, Power Politics, Armed Forces, Navy, Populism, Grand Strategy, Alliance, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Strategic Competition, Geography, Ottoman Empire, Information Technology , Clash of Civilizations
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, China, Europe, Sudan, India, Norway, Asia, France, North America, Egypt, Arctic, United States of America, Antarctica
  • Author: Thomas Ferguson, Benjamin I. Page, Jacob Rothschild, Arturo Chang, Jie Chen
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This paper critically analyzes voting patterns in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Using survey data from the American National Election Survey and aggregate data on Congressional districts, it assesses the roles that economic and social factors played in Donald J. Trump’s “Populist” candidacy. It shows the hollowness of claims that economic issues played little or no role in the campaign and that social factors such as race or gender suffice to explain the outcome. While agreeing that racial resentment and sexism were important influences, the paper shows how various economic considerations helped Trump win the Republican primary and then led significant blocs of voters to shift from supporting Democrats or abstaining in 2012 to vote for him. It also presents striking evidence of the importance of political money and Senators’ “reverse coattails” in the dramatic final result.
  • Topic: Political Economy, Populism, Economic Policy, Free Trade, Money, Voting, Donald Trump, Political Parties, Presidential Elections
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Frank Lavin
  • Publication Date: 10-2017
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Donald Trump confounds political observers. For many, he is defined by his missteps and flamboyance. His foreign policy statements contain sufficient imprecision—if not outright contradictions—to allow observers to conclude a lack of care in dealing with the issues. Is China’s presence in the South China Sea acceptable or not? Is NATO useful or not? Should the United States use force in Syria for humanitarian or geo-political goals? This ambiguity gives rise to further questions regarding his foreign policy architecture: what are the guiding principles?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Geopolitics, Populism
  • Political Geography: China, Asia, Syria, North America, South China, United States of America
  • Author: E. Solovyev
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs: A Russian Journal of World Politics, Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Institution: East View Information Services
  • Abstract: eLection oF DonALD truMp and his active efforts to undermine the foreign and domestic policy course inherited from the obama admin- istration sent waves of concern across the Western analytical community. his inaugural address had a bombshell effect on Western mainstream media. his close to perfect populist speech (calling “to drain the Washington swamp” and “give power back to the people”) was national- ist at the brink of “isolationism.”1 he looked like a perfect right-wing populist and no exception to the common rule: clearly defined problems and real and urgent questions never supplied with clear (or rational) answers.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Elections, Populism, Ideology, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America