Liberal Blues
Springtime for Autocrats

The new caudillos are on the rise, and we’re likely to see more of them unless the West can find a way to push back.

Published on: March 19, 2018
Henri J. Barkey is professor of international relations at Lehigh University and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations
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    Ha! “The West” has no problems with autocrats. It has produced its fair share of them, and it supports others till this day. How much commerce is conducted between America or the whole EU and China alone? I guess makes a little more sense for the EU autocrats censoring speech all day long and throwing ppl in jail for the weekend for mean tweets. Yucky. Bad people. Can’t believe America still on the hook for the gross EU. Also gross that the UN is hosted in the US. North Korea, China, Saudi, Iran, all have a voice at the UN, yet Taiwan does not. That tells you everything you need to know about the UN too. Ugly.

  • QET

    If we’re being fair, we should admit that this is not all President Donald Trump’s doing.

    How generous. I’m sure this must have been a painful admission to make. And to make fairness an option (“if”). . . .

    Trump has been in office for only 15 months. It may be an iron law of opinion polls that the current President is by virtue of having assumed the office automatically accountable after one week in office for not having remediated every threat and corralled every would-be dictator, but when that law becomes a principle of “expert” analysis, then we know truth has been subordinated to preparation of the domestic political battle space for a run at forcibly removing Trump from office as this very publication has demanded.

    Just for perspective on an Administration’s ability to just go out there and git er done vis-a-vis autocrats: Just how wrong Somalia went has come into painful, sharp focus in the White House, in Congress and across the country since the Oct. 3 Mogadishu disaster that took 18 American lives. Together with ongoing crises in Bosnia and now in Haiti, Somalia has exposed flaws in the way foreign policy has been made and executed, raising public, congressional and international doubts about the president’s foreign policy ability and the strength of his national security team. . . .the debacle in Somalia is forcing a reexamination by Clinton and his aides of how his foreign policy is formulated, monitored and explained to the nation. Since late September, a series of opinion polls have shown sharply declining public approval and confidence in Clinton’s foreign policy performance.

    Plus ca change, eh?

    Perhaps if Trump gave Putin or Erdogan a stern talking to about some red line or other that he had no intention of actually enforcing, that would appease Barkey et al. And really, to lay Maduro of all people, Stalin to Chavez’s Lenin, hero of Jeremy Corbyn AND Sean Penn, at the feet of Trump. What chutzpah!

    Look, foreign policy is not Kantian morality; it is not the intention that counts. Maybe, in all the chaos that appears to be erupting across the world at this moment, it is more prudent to observe and wait on events as they unfold and out of the public eye try to develop a comprehensive strategy than just reacting with splenetic righteous ad hocery to every provocation by one of these outlaws. Perhaps the writer desires a Henry VI: “frowns, threats and words shall be the war that Henry means to use.”

    I know–sanctions! Hey, does anybody remember how those worked out for Iraq? Remember the starving children? Remember Oil-for-Food? The whole point of being a dictator is that no matter what the US does, it isn’t he and his cronies who are going to suffer!

    Speaking of the dangers of being a US State Dept. employee: Benghazi. Iran 1979.

    Speaking of symbolic US action — remember the US boycotted the Moscow Olympics? Then Russia boycotted the LA Olympics? Good times. Carter couldn’t free 400 US hostages in Iran but he sure could do the symbolism, baby!

    The “sudden focus on the Korean Peninsula”? Seriously? When a nation tests nuclear devices and ballistic missiles and threatens to nuke the US, is that not sufficient reason for a sudden focus?

    But look, did the writer not hear what Ambassador Haley said just last week? “the credibility of this Council will not survive if we fail to hold Russia accountable.” Does that sound like an Administration uninterested in defending the rule of law?

    This isn’t analysis; it is domestic political battlespace preparation.

    • D4x

      On March 19, 2018, Henri J. Barkey is professor of international relations at Lehigh University and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and writes: “would Erdogan have dared to imprison three Turkish citizens and long-time employees of the U.S. diplomatic service if he had he been worried about serious repercussions?” […words…] “Congress today is the only institution that can fill this policy vacuum.” Did anyone in Congress, or the CFR notice Erdogan’s invasion of peaceful Afrin District in NW Syria on January 20, 2018, with fifty-eight days of airstrikes, artillery barrages, […] leading to this map by AFP on March 19, 2018,
      total occupation in a brazen land grab, while the U.S. Congress was silent, too busy shredding the U.S. Constitution, and the Council of Foreign Relations advised appeasement of Turkey.

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  • FriendlyGoat

    Don’t worry. Our kids won’t mind us adults screwing them over by voting them into autocracies they can’t throw off. We’ll excuse ourselves with some bullshit from religious texts, and they’ll immediately understand, right?

  • Attila_the_hun

    Tyranny and one man rule is the default position of humanity. Even here in America the autocratic left has been trying to instituted similar regime. Is any wonder why soo much opposition to Trump? For the most part autocracies always ended with bloody revolutions or war.

    Except short lived post USSR era. One way or another The world will experience another major conflict instigated by one of those tyrants.

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