‘Populist internationals’ set on undermining liberal democracy


A new generation of right-wing populists in Europe and the U.S. aims to overthrow liberal democratic institutions, according to Anne Applebaum, the Washington Post columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian.

“These populist internationals don’t want to conserve anything or preserve what exists,” she said, delivering a lecture  titled “International Nationalism: The European Far-Right and the American Alt-Right,” part of the Program in the Johns Hopkins’ International Studies’ Aronson Center Speaker Series, writes JHU’s Karen Wang.

“Their language takes different forms in different countries but their revolutionary projects normally include the expulsion of immigrants, or at least a return to all-white or all-Dutch or all-German societies, the resurrection of protectionism, the reversal of women’s and minority rights, the end of international institutions and cooperation of all kinds,” said Applebaum, a board member of the National Endowment for Democracy, the Washington-based democracy assistance group.

She urged people to pay attention to the spread of such movements, especially online, Wang adds. 

“A lot of what looks like ‘fringe’ stuff now travels very quickly and can be quickly reinterpreted and used by different people, and they’re going to increasingly become not [only] a factor in national politics but [also] a factor in international politics and institutions dealing with these kinds of rumors and conspiracy theories,” Applebaum (right) said. “The idea that everything that moves across borders is always somehow good and progressive and nice and democratic is directly undermined by these kinds of groups and movements.” RTWT

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