National Expert Opinion – Era of Authoritarian Leaders

by Jaime Rivera Velazquez

The rise and plurality of authoritarian leaders in the world, who hold democratic systems in check or emphasize the personal nature of authoritarian regimes, continues to stimulate the production of academic study and political analysis on this phenomenon.

Spanish translation of the most recent book by Gideon RachmanThe Age of Authoritarian Leaders: How the Cult of Personality Threatens Democracy in the World. Rachman A highly respected British geopolitical analyst, chief international affairs columnist for the Financial Times and winner of the George Orwell Prize for Journalism in 2016. Translated by Editorial Critica, presents the hypothesis of the work Rachman The new era of strong men is a phenomenon that began with the rise to power Vladimir Putin In Russia at the beginning of this century. Putin Presents an exemplary model across five continents. The list is long: Narendra Modi in India, Xi Jinping in China, Erdogan in Türkiye, passing through bolsonaro in Brazil, Duterte in the philippines, abi ahmed in Ethiopia, mohammed bin salman in Saudi Arabia, Viktor Orban in Hungary, benjamin netanyahu in Israel, Donald Trump United States and to some extent boris johnson, The great contribution of the book is Rachman He does not write from the distance of an academic cubicle, but treats all these characters to writing journalistic reports when he has visited their respective countries or even formally interviewed them.

The greatest appeal of these characters is that they appeal to those who are “left behind” during globalization and disillusioned with liberal democracy. In rural areas as well as in smaller towns, these leaders find a resonance in their electorate by invoking nostalgia for a supposedly glorious past, ultra-nationalism and traditionalist religious reflections. Rachman Classify the three groups of leaders. First, heavyweight dictators prefer Vladimir Putin And Xi Jinping, who already concentrate all the power. Second, democratically elected leaders who have been successful in subverting checks and balances, such as independent courts and media critical of power, but remain subject to elections (especially local ones) in which they are defeated. will be in this group Recep Tayyip Erdogan one of two Viktor Orban, Finally, a third group of people who wanted to undermine democratic institutions, but luckily failed, like Donald Trump, boris johnson one of two bolsonaro,

Despite their differences, according to Rachman The three groups share the promotion of a cult of personality around them, contempt for the law, the notion of representing the true people against the elite, and a policy of hyper-nationalism that sees enemies in everything that comes from outside its borders. . They also despise international institutions, seek to centralize power, and aggressively move toward militarism, whether at the prospect of war against foreigners or against internal enemies. There is even a political use of history to elevate one ethnic group over another and to fuel hate speech against corrupt elites or any other “enemy of the people”. Above all, these leaders want to identify themselves with the nation and with the nation. ,Erdogan Türkiye is and Türkiye is Erdogan”, That is, they are the only interpreters of the nation in their speech as they embody it.

These musclemen also boast of a background that allows them a popular connection that other politicians do not have. Some claim to come from poverty and to have always lived in austerity, even when they build huge palatial residences, as they did Erdogan, When they came to power, many of them were viewed favorably by Western media and foreign ministries. Initially they were considered well-intentioned reformers, such as Narendra Modi in India or the same Erdogan In Türkiye. Like moderate religious politicians, the Hindu and Muslim equivalents of Christian democracy. They soon showed signs of their growing authoritarianism and intolerance of criticism and opposition, and some of them changed the constitution to remain in power indefinitely.

book of Rachman It also demonstrates the many weaknesses of these so-called “strong men”. Virtually none have been able to deliver on the public policies they failed miserably during the pandemic and their perceived ability to help the poor cope with their devastating economic consequences. The book ends with a description of American efforts to preside Biden To once again lead the western democracies in the dispute against global totalitarianism. Rachman recognizes that nothing is written, so his conclusions are neither pessimistic nor optimistic, because, as popperbelieves that “the future is open” and that the survival of democracy will depend on the responses of the world’s electorate.

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