What’s next for the West? The new normal


…. is the subject of a symposium on POLITICO.

The chaotic outcome of the G7 in Canada over the weekend is simply a continuation of the ongoing demise of liberal market democracy under attack from without (by autocratic foes such as Russian President Vladimir Putin) and from within (by populist instincts), writes economist Timothy Ash:

This crisis in Western liberal market democracy is the result of a combination of factors, including 9/11, the global financial crisis, the disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq and the West’s failed responses to the Arab Spring movements, which contributed to launching a huge wave of migration to Europe’s shores. This in turn all stems from a fundamental failure to adequately think through the full repercussions of globalization, and the fact that if there are winners, there are also losers.

“The West as we knew it is over. Maybe it was only a matter of time,” argues Ulrike Guérot, founder and director of the think tank European Democracy Lab and professor for European policy and the study of democracy at Danube University in Krems, Austria.

Perhaps it’s time to accept “the new normal,” CFR analyst Benn Steil writes for Foreign Policy, “in the sense that they, reacting to a seismic shift in U.S. public sentiment, will no longer recognize the constraints of solidarity with fellow free-market democracies.”

The notion of a democratic West would be shattered should Russia be invited back into the fold of a reconstituted G8, says David J. Kramer, Vaclav Havel Program Senior Fellow in Florida International University and author of the book Back to Containment: Dealing with Putin’s Regime. Ever since being kicked out of the G-8 in 2014 for his illegal annexation of Crimea and ongoing aggression in Ukraine, Putin has failed to abide by the ceasefire agreements meant to resolve that crisis, he writes for the American Interest:

He has launched massive interference in the U.S. and other elections, overseen Russian trolls weigh in on divisive issues in the West through social media, and launched the worst crackdown on human rights inside Russia since the break-up of the Soviet Union. Putin has done nothing—repeat nothing—to warrant a softer approach from the West and remains a serious threat to our countries.

Europe has to be ready to defend Western values — democracy, rule of law, free speech and economic liberties — but it also has to find ways to innovate and keep pace with the 21st century, says Daniel Eckert, a finance reporter at Die Welt. Europe has to pull its weight, invest in the future and become more confident. It has to show the U.S. it is productive and powerful.


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