Restoring the liberal world order


The liberal world order, a system based on open borders and open societies, is increasingly under attack – by the new populists from within and autocrats from without, argues analyst Ulrich Speck. The West’s political elites – policymakers, experts, opinion-makers – need to reconfigure and rebuild. If a principled stance against violations of sovereignty in Ukraine and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea are not forthcoming, then the liberal order is facing an existential threat, he writes for The American Interest:

In the new era we are about to enter, Western mainstream elites need to become more assertive and confrontational. Liberal order can only survive if there are enough dedicated, “armed liberals”—thoughtful and well-articulated advocates of liberal order. When opponents of open societies and open borders attack, the establishment must fight back. Sitting on the fence on major issues is only strengthening the hand of the anti-liberal forces. When populists work with fear and hatred, liberals forces should respond with optimism and confidence. When populists call for exclusion, liberal forces must make the case for an inclusive, open society. Liberal forces cannot let populists define the issues; they must go out to the marketplace of ideas and make their case. RTWT

Some argue the malaise goes deeper than simple protest votes, writes analyst Frédéric Burnand:

An article in the most recent edition of the Journal of Democracy, published by the National Endowment for Democracy which is financed by the US Congress to promote liberal democracy around the world, questions whether citizens in the US and Europe remain committed to the concept of democracy.

Titled “The danger of deconsolidation, the democratic disconnect”, the piece draws on data from World Values Surveys taken between 1995 and 2014. Authors Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk write:

“Not so long ago, young people were much more enthusiastic than older people about democratic values: In the first waves of the World Values Survey, in 1981–84 and 1990–93, young respondents were much keener than their elders on protecting freedom of speech and significantly less likely to embrace political radicalism. Today, the roles have reversed: On the whole, support for political radicalism in North America and Western Europe is higher among the young, and support for freedom of speech lower.”


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