Listen as Anne Applebaum discusses how this new world(dis) order might evolve. What does she mean by “the 21st century is, so far, a story of the reverse”?
Anne Applebaum is a journalist, a prize-winning historian, a staff writer for The Atlantic and a senior fellow at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University, where she co-leads a project on 21st century disinformation and co-teaches a course on democracy. Her books include Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine; Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956; and Gulag: A History, which won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. Her most recent book is the New York Times bestseller, Twilight of Democracy, an essay on democracy and authoritarianism. She was a Washington Post columnist for fifteen years and a member of the editorial board; she has also been the deputy editor of the Spectator and a columnist for several British newspapers. Her writing has appeared in the New York Review of Books, The New Republic, the Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy, among many other publications.
Whether we like it or not, global politics today is defined by confrontation—which could lead to conflict—between autocracies and democracies. However, unlike the great geopolitical divisions of the past, the new dividing lines are not ideological or ethnic or religious or economic. Rather, the two camps are defined by how their leaders come to and maintain themselves in power. The autocracies seem to have figured out they have much in common, including fear of democracy, and translate that understanding into effective mutual support. Ironically, the democracies spend considerable energy criticizing each other, emphasizing their different approaches to issues like immigration, climate, trade, etc.
Not surprisingly, as historian and journalist Anne Applebaum wrote in the Atlantic in November: “The Bad Guys are Winning.” As she put it, “If the 20th century was the story of slow, uneven progress toward the victory of liberal democracy over other ideologies—communism, fascism, virulent nationalism—the 21st century is, so far, a story of the reverse.”
With Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s border, Belarus dumping Middle East migrants in Poland and Lithuania, China threatening Taiwan (as well as countries like Lithuania and Australia who dare to disagree with Beijing) these are potentially life and death issues. Listen as Applebaum discusses how this new world (dis) order might evolve.
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