Rather it is the crisis that created him SIMON SERFATY Professor and Eminent

Rather it is the crisis that created him simon

This preview shows page 8 - 9 out of 25 pages.

Rather, it is the crisis that created him. SIMON SERFATY Professor and Eminent Scholar in U.S. Foreign Policy, Old Dominion University, and Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair (emeritus) in Global Security and Geostrategy, Center for Strategic and International Studies I t’s the voters, stupid; but don’t blame them for their de- testable choices, one election at a time. It’s leadership, stupid; and don’t be surprised by their eagerness to dis- rupt the “system” which political opportunists pretend is “rigged.” Now regrouped into ever larger pelotons of angry and resentful citizens, they are first heard one issue at a time— it’s the economy, it’s the immigrants, it’s the world—until, well, it becomes Democracy itself. From we the people to I the nation, the distance shrinks gradually until it disap- pears altogether. For many in the United States, the crise du jour is Donald J. Trump—his offensive personality, his chaotic presidency, his divisive politics. But Trump’s surprising election did not create this crisis in American democracy; rather, it is the crisis that created him. Use almost any other names—Orban, Erdogan, Salvini, Putin, or that of any other head of state or gov- ernment who earned or claims a constitutional majority for his mal-governance; and go to nearly any other coun- try—Hungary, Turkey, Italy, Russia, and others—and the process repeats itself, though with different grounds for resentment: A for austerity, B for bigotry, C for corrup- tion, D for decline, E for Europe, and so forth. But the United States is not a country like any other, and accord- ingly le mal Trump is proving especially contagious and dangerously consequential. At the start, there is nothing undemocratic about populism. The goal is not to bring democracy down but to adapt and reform it. Make us great again or rich at last, to be sure, and in so doing punish those who made us be- come what we did not want to be, and do it all quickly, loudly, and visibly. The problem, though, is that those leaders demo- cratically elected often lack most democratic credentials: A for accountability, B for balance, C for competence, D for discipline, E for ethics, and so forth. This places free and open societies at risk while they enforce the impos- sible mandate received from but soon imposed on their people. These are no echoes of earlier populist surges, how- ever. Now, the conflict is between “them” and “us”— whoever “they” or “we” is—but ultimately it will be among them: for a moment united by what they reject generally, they remain divided over what they seek spe- cifically. Brexit is one example of what happens when the shouting ends, the yellow jackets in France another, or the budget debate in Italy and the wall in the United States. Put another way, populist movements will retreat when they are faced with the very reality they attempted attempt to escape, and their moment will end the same way it emerged—over one issue per election and one elec- tion per issue.
Image of page 8
Image of page 9

You've reached the end of your free preview.

Want to read all 25 pages?

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern

Stuck? We have tutors online 24/7 who can help you get unstuck.
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors You can ask You can ask ( soon) You can ask (will expire )
Answers in as fast as 15 minutes
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors