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The State of Global Politics in 2019 (i.e. "Democracy in Retreat")

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    The State of Global Politics in 2019 (i.e. "Democracy in Retreat")

    New piece out today from FreedomHouse and the most accurate + concise summary of global politics I've seen to date. Excellent work and definitely worth a read:

    https://freedomhouse.org/report/free...acy-in-retreat

    ...here's a basic overview for those who don't want to read the whole thing...

    ____________

    MAIN ARGUMENT

    "In 2018, Freedom in the World recorded the 13th consecutive year of decline in global freedom. The reversal has spanned a variety of countries in every region, from long-standing democracies like the United States to consolidated authoritarian regimes like China and Russia. The overall losses are still shallow compared with the gains of the late 20th century, but the pattern is consistent and ominous. Democracy is in retreat."


    THE WAVE OF DEMOCRATIZATION ROLLS BACK

    "The reversals may be a result of the euphoric expansion of the 1990s and early 2000s. As that momentum has worn off, many countries have struggled to accommodate the political swings and contentious debates intrinsic to democracy. Rapidly erected democratic institutions have come under sustained attack in nations that remain economically fragile or are still riven by deep-seated class or ethnic conflicts. Of the 23 countries that suffered a negative status change over the past 13 years (moving from Free to Partly Free, or Partly Free to Not Free), almost two-thirds (61 percent) had earned a positive status change after 1988."


    AN EBB TIDE IN ESTABLISHED DEMOCRACIES

    "The crisis is linked to a changing balance of power at the global level (i.e. the rise of India and China and reorienting of global power towards East Asia) ...These developments have contributed to increasing anger and anxiety in Europe and the United States over economic inequality and loss of personal status. The center of the political spectrum, which dominated politics in the established democracies as the changes unfolded, failed to adequately address the disruption and dislocation they caused. This created political opportunities for new competitors on the left and right, who were able to cast existing elites as complicit in or benefiting from the erosion of citizens’ living standards and national traditions."

    "So far it has been antiliberal populist movements of the far right—those that emphasize national sovereignty, are hostile to immigration, and reject constitutional checks on the will of the majority—that have been most effective at seizing the open political space."

    "These movements damage democracies internally through their dismissive attitude toward core civil and political rights, and they weaken the cause of democracy around the world with their unilateralist reflexes."

    ATTACKS ON DEMOCRACY IN THE UNITED STATES

    "The great challenges facing US democracy did not commence with the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Intensifying political polarization, declining economic mobility, the outsized influence of special interests, and the diminished influence of fact-based reporting in favor of bellicose partisan media were all problems afflicting the health of American democracy well before 2017."

    "At the midpoint of his term, however, there remains little question that President Trump exerts an influence on American politics that is straining our core values and testing the stability of our constitutional system. No president in living memory has shown less respect for its tenets, norms, and principles. Trump has assailed essential institutions and traditions including the separation of powers, a free press, an independent judiciary, the impartial delivery of justice, safeguards against corruption, and most disturbingly, the legitimacy of elections. Congress, a coequal branch of government, has too frequently failed to push back against these attacks with meaningful oversight and other defenses."

    "The president’s rhetoric is echoed in countries with weaker defenses against attacks on their democratic institutions, where the violation of norms is often followed by systemic changes that intensify repression and entrench authoritarian governance. For example, Cambodian strongman Hun Sen consolidated one-party rule in sham elections last summer after banning the main opposition party and shutting down independent media. He acknowledged that he and President Trump shared a point of view about journalists, saying, “Donald Trump understands they are an anarchic group.” Poland’s president, whose party has sought to annihilate judicial independence and assert control over the press, similarly thanked Trump for fighting “fake news.”

    "As the United States ceases its global advocacy of freedom and justice, and the president casts doubt on the importance of basic democratic values for our own society, more nations turn to China, a rising alternative to US leadership. The Chinese Communist Party has welcomed this trend, offering its authoritarian system as a model for developing nations."

    ____________________


    Much, much more in the link that I didn't hit upon for the sake of not making this post too insanely long. Very informative piece. Highly recommend reading in full.


    Questions for Discussion

    1) Do you agree or disagree with this summary of the state of global politics in 2019?

    2) If you disagree: what do you think this piece got wrong and whats your alternative read on the situation?

    3) If you agree: do you think this lurch away from Democracy is temporary, short-cycle development and something that's going to reverse in the next decade or so? Or do you anticipate this is going to be a more long-term, far-reaching historical development and that the era of "democratic norms" is drawing to a close?




    #2
    Tab for a cause: http://tab.gladly.io/?r=11370382

    Comment


      #3
      I disagree, and I think that the only reason they have it wrong is they are looking at it from a top down perspective. There isn't a lasting threat to democracy unless we get to a point that Trump pardon's himself in the states. otherwise he's been shown to be toothless in his attacks on the constitution. This shutdown has also been a good example there.

      and in Europe democracy will no longer be at risk as soon as the EU realizes that they aren't the united states of europe and they never will be because only three members want it to be so and the rest hate said three members.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by J peth View Post
        There isn't a lasting threat to democracy unless we get to a point that Trump pardon's himself in the states. otherwise he's been shown to be toothless in his attacks on the constitution.
        Trump is the symptom; not the disease.

        And Trump has gotten as far as hes gotten despite the notable handicaps of being a nitwit and a buffoon.

        Has it occurred to you America may one day soon have a populist demagogue with Trump's rabblerousing skills and authoritarian impulses, but without his incompetence?

        Last edited by Post-Crisis Shob; February 5th, 2019, 02:13 PM.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Post-Crisis Shob View Post

          Trump is the symptom; not the disease.

          And Trump has gotten as far as hes gotten despite the notable handicaps of being a nitwit and a buffoon.

          Has it occurred to you America may one day soon have a populist demagogue with Trump's rabblerousing skills and authoritarian impulses, but without his incompetence?
          Just curious, as I intended to make a topic on this, but didn’t, and this topic sort of encompasses what I planned to post...

          What do you think is the future of the US democratic system, in the next...say...2-4 decades?

          Good shape? Bad shape? Specific ways in which it’ll be good or bad (banana republic...? Full on dictatorship...? Other...???), after analyzing the trends in the US...?

          I’d also like an answer from this guy as well.

          Maybe this one too.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by RussianCoffeeAddict View Post

            Bad shape.

            "The great challenges facing US democracy did not commence with the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Intensifying political polarization, declining economic mobility, the outsized influence of special interests, and the diminished influence of fact-based reporting in favor of bellicose partisan media were all problems afflicting the health of American democracy well before 2017."


            ^^^
            Not going away anytime soon
            Last edited by Post-Crisis Shob; February 5th, 2019, 02:22 PM.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Post-Crisis Shob View Post


              "The great challenges facing US democracy did not commence with the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Intensifying political polarization, declining economic mobility, the outsized influence of special interests, and the diminished influence of fact-based reporting in favor of bellicose partisan media were all problems afflicting the health of American democracy well before 2017."


              ...thats not going away...
              That seems clear.

              The full effects down the road and how they will manifest, however...that part doesn’t seem as clear.

              In all honesty, if someone played their cards right, I wonder if someone could exploit the distastes of the entire electorate, rather than just the distastes of one particular half, as that’s always a choice that our politicians basically make, and because that could potentially be even more dangerous than just two halves mad at each other, because now a president could have unifying support and possibly levy that in unsavory ways.

              Not a whole lot of our government are the best speakers, yet people like Trump and other populists (Left and Right) can still electrify their respective electorates tremendously, and in some ways speak to the same underlying issues (distaste in the existing political elite is something both parties have utilized).

              If you could translate the two halves into a cohesive whole that can appeal to all Americans, and without much of the flaws (crippling inconsistency, and sounding like a 5 year old, as in Trump’s case)...

              You could get some seriously good results.

              But it could also be utilized for terrible effects too, I’d wager.
              Last edited by RussianCoffeeAddict; February 5th, 2019, 02:31 PM.

              Comment


                #8
                Like even assuming we do everything right and we vote Trump out in 2020 and his successor passes legislation limiting special interests and broad-based reforms to healthcare and education and taxation to bring back economic mobility.
                • intensifying political polarization
                • diminished influence of fact-based reporting
                • bellicose partisan media

                  ...you can't fix that from the top down. (Jpeth is correct to distinguish between change from the top down vs. change from the bottom up)

                  Thats here to stay at the very least until the entire current generation fucks off and dies. (and then only goes away if / when a new generation does a complete 180)

                Comment


                  #9
                  looks interesting, will read the whole thing later.

                  All these democracy memes have me thinking though, if giving a person the freedom to choose something for themself means that they may eventually make a choice where that freedom is hampered or removed completely, would that not be a fulfillment of democracy? Its their choice...I guess you could argue that its not a fair way to pose the question since their choice can ultimately affect other people and put them in an unfavorable situation against their will....but then what use is this democracy in the first place? People are stupid. They make stupid decisions for stupid, selfish reasons. Give them the power to inluence their government, they will put someone like Trump in office at a time as perilous as this. Normally this is where I'd say something like "just neuter all the sub-140 crowd and we can be done with this forever", but this shutdown has been so self-defeating I want to see what else Trump does before people boil over and give him the King Charles I Of England treatment.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    And that’s a good thing!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Ziku View Post
                      And that’s a good thing!
                      B A S E D A N D R E D P I L L E D

                      Last edited by RussianCoffeeAddict; February 5th, 2019, 02:48 PM.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I'd like to thank Obama
                        This Heat - Working Night

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Good, fuck democracy unironically.
                          Last edited by DokTOR.; February 5th, 2019, 04:38 PM.
                          Originally posted by Kajin_Style ;n513566
                          Why should I even give a damn that some faggot is being stoned to death in another country?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I've always thought it was just fucked beyond repair

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Post-Crisis Shob View Post

                              Trump is the symptom; not the disease.

                              And Trump has gotten as far as hes gotten despite the notable handicaps of being a nitwit and a buffoon.

                              Has it occurred to you America may one day soon have a populist demagogue with Trump's rabblerousing skills and authoritarian impulses, but without his incompetence?
                              It has occurred to me, however we already had that with Dick Cheney and at the end of the day our republic didn't change into being a dictatorship. The fact is anyone trying to do it here in the US has the same troubles Julius Caesar did in rome(ya know, the stuff that lead to his death?), except now there are groups dedicated to calling out these sorts of actions that remove the powers of a republic. So although Romans couldn't catch onto Augustus, Americans have a much stronger defense in place in the event that is attempted.

                              There's a reason someone as smart as Dick didn't seize power and burn the constitution, fact is it's better to have power within the institution and let people think they have control by giving them a few tokens while you run the show. Anyone smart enough to take over the country through authoritarian means would be smart enough to see that. and that's why Trumps the only one who's gotten to power that's tried such a brutish take over being as he's so dumb he doesn't realize how levers of power work.

                              Honestly most of the problems with corruption and things "going wrong" that are being complained about in this article (and many like it) piss me off somewhat. Half of what they list are things that have been problems for decades. the only reason these upper class fops give a damn now is because they aren't included at the table with the other people abusing america/the world for their own gain. So to imagine they actually give a damn is a joke.



                              As a side note, if you want disagreements with this point of view of "democracy in retreat" I could easily just call out the fact that there isn't even a first world country that's a democracy and hasn't been one for a very long time. Republics are about representation, democracies are about everyone having a say.
                              Last edited by J peth; February 5th, 2019, 08:31 PM.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by RussianCoffeeAddict View Post

                                Just curious, as I intended to make a topic on this, but didn’t, and this topic sort of encompasses what I planned to post...

                                What do you think is the future of the US democratic system, in the next...say...2-4 decades?

                                Good shape? Bad shape? Specific ways in which it’ll be good or bad (banana republic...? Full on dictatorship...? Other...???), after analyzing the trends in the US...?

                                I’d also like an answer from this guy as well.

                                Maybe this one too.
                                It's pretty binary for me, if we have a constitutional crisis with Trump pardoning himself, we'll be in a very bad place. I am not over reacting when I say full blown dictatorship is right around the bend at that point.

                                If that doesn't happen or he's stopped then I'd say we'll be seeing the left wing wave hit for a decade at best in the post-Trump era assuming the democrats don't snatch defeat from the jaws of victory again. this would be followed by generation Z's conservative push which will probably lead to the usual back and forth with nothing getting much better or worse,

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Oh finally some validation!

                                  3) If you agree: do you think this lurch away from Democracy is temporary, short-cycle development and something that's going to reverse in the next decade or so? Or do you anticipate this is going to be a more long-term, far-reaching historical development and that the era of "democratic norms" is drawing to a close?
                                  My concern about all of this is it won't remain temporary and may become the new norm. I have hope though. Our government has managed to keep Trump in check on some issues but like the article said this has been going on for sometime now.

                                  Hopefully people will realize that this isn't the way, this gets nothing productive done and we have to go back to our old ways.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by DokTOR. View Post
                                    Good, fuck democracy unironically.
                                    oy vey

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by J peth View Post
                                      If that doesn't happen or he's stopped then I'd say we'll be seeing the left wing wave hit for a decade at best in the post-Trump era assuming the democrats don't snatch defeat from the jaws of victory again.
                                      Wouldn’t be surprised if they did.

                                      They’ve been fucking up a bit too much as of late, honestly, and the race has barely even started.

                                      If they get Biden to go ahead, I think they’d probably do well.

                                      Everyone else looks really loony or just not all that impressionable, and I expect them to have a PR nightmare. Unless it’s Bernie, he’d probably do well, but I don’t suspect that he’s going, honestly.

                                      My worry is they’re gonna take sane positions like “We should work to fight climate change by progressing to better fuels” and with their magic, make them look like they’re ridiculous and rooted in buffoonery, like Cortez did.

                                      Not only that, I think I’m seeing them ramp up the identity politics (you know, the SJW kind).

                                      Kamala Harris actively defended it, for example, waving away the term as just something used to “hand wave concerns away,” and a lot of Democrats besides Biden seem to like that shit and engage in it.

                                      And while their unity against Trump is admirable, I wouldn’t put overreach on their part out of the question.

                                      All that is gonna hamper them and there are probably more flaws I’m not thinking of right now...
                                      Last edited by RussianCoffeeAddict; February 8th, 2019, 01:31 AM.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        "In states that were already authoritarian, earning Not Free designations from Freedom House, governments have increasingly shed the thin façade of democratic practice"

                                        I mean, come on. Rarely is someone elected because the people of the country want him and voted for him/her. Take the USA for example, the flag ship of Democracy in the world, Bernie was the favorite to win yet Trump was the victor. Not only that but you have to be of an older age to run and some other limitations.

                                        I reject this study in the basis that it does not define what Democracy is.
                                        Last edited by #83.6666666667; February 8th, 2019, 02:44 AM.

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