Two strategies to save democracy and stop the rise of authoritarianism
As I think about the world now and reflect on the analyzes conducted by academics – Robert kagan, among others – it is now a fairly common conclusion that our democracy here in the United States is in jeopardy, and freedom and democratic values around the world are on the decline as autocracy takes over.
House of Liberty 2021 Freedom in the world report provides further evidence for this conclusion. The report found that in 2020, the global democratic gap was at its lowest level in 15 years.
Indeed, democracy in 73 countries has declined and improved in only 28 countries, which constitutes a democracy gap of -45 for the year 2020 (the number of countries that have improved subtracted from the number of countries that decreased). 2020 marked the biggest democratic gap in 15 years, as well as the 15th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.
To paraphrase the report, the COVID-19 pandemic, economic and physical insecurity, and violent conflict in 2020 have further shifted the international balance in favor of autocracy, and to the detriment of democracy.
Two recently published separate books present compelling arguments in different ways for the need and urgency for the United States to engage in the causes of freedom and democracy. This is essential if America is to regain moral ground on the world stage.
The first job is an important item in Foreign Affairs by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who convincingly argues that the United States – still the indispensable nation – must continue to advocate for freedom and liberty in the world.
Albright argues that unless the United States does, we lose our stature and position on the world stage, and ultimately we weaken both internally and externally.
Needless to say, I couldn’t agree more with Albright’s take on America’s crucial opportunity to lead the fight against authoritarianism on a global scale. At a time when our global position has apparently been eroded by our hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan, Albright’s words provide useful guidance for those who believe that the time for strengthening our traditional democratic alliances is over.
I commend Albright’s play, as well as the fascinating nature of his life’s work.
A job that is just as important to me – but very different from Albright’s – is Peter Ackerman’s latest. delivered, “The Checklist to End Tyranny: How Dissenters Will Win 21st Century Civil Resistance Campaigns.”
Ackerman has spent the past 50 years – as a strategist, funder, philosopher and activist – supporting the cause of freedom as a goal. In his latest book, he provides specific steps dissidents and activists could take to use the tools at their disposal to bring about democratic change and defeat totalitarian rulers through nonviolent civilian resistance.
For those who say the United States cannot be involved in regime change, Ackerman has what I think is a compelling and arguably unique answer. By training dissidents to organize in their own countries and bring about change themselves, we can help indigenous peoples influence political change in a way that does not involve foreign troops, coups d’état. or other clandestine actions. To this end, Ackerman argues that nonviolence is invariably more effective than violent insurgency.
As former Freedom House chairman and former investment banker, Ackerman is the rare individual who has had success in a multitude of fields but has quietly devoted himself to the extraordinarily important task of reducing authoritarian rule around the world. .
Ackerman also lent his efforts to activities in the United States which helped reform the political process here, and he had early Success in a number of states to implement electoral system reforms to open up American democracy to independents and to forces beyond the two major parties.
The reason I recommend Ackerman and Albright’s latest works together is because I believe the United States must stand for something larger than our economic, cultural, and athletic prowess. We must defend lasting and timeless democratic values.
I think both works also rightly point out that there is another avenue besides the so-called “realism” of Henry Kissinger or the intrusion of Democratic activists through foreign forays which are often unsuccessful and unsuccessful. frequently produce negative reactions.
Ultimately, Albright in his own way, and Ackerman in his own way, represent important forces in American life and in the cause of political, social, and economic change, and it is important to consider their latest work in tandem as the United States is looking for a way forward to bring about positive change.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have been an advisor to the former president Bill clintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson Clinton Biden must be both Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside. Republican version of Biden irrelevant Bill Clinton shares video update after being released from hospital MORE when Albright was head of the State Department, although our paths have rarely crossed since. I’ve also worked on a number of Ackerman’s domestic initiatives – however, none of his very successful overseas initiatives – and haven’t worked with him on any projects or causes recently.
My main point is this: Unless the United States stands up for democratic values and seeks to empower people to achieve democratic results, we fundamentally weaken ourselves.
And if there is a way forward for the United States to restore global democracy and challenge our authoritarian adversaries, it is the one advocated by these two extraordinary individuals.
Douglas E. Schoen is a political consultant who served as an advisor to President Clinton and the 2020 presidential campaign of Michael bloombergMichael BloombergEquilibrium / Sustainability – Presented by Southern Company – How Martian Biofuel Could Transport Humans Twenty-five US cities on track to exceed Paris climate targets by 2025: report What Democrats need to do to avoid self-destruction MORE. He is the author of “The end of democracy? Russia and China on the rise and America on the retreat. “