‘Rising populism defining global politics’

Concept of strong leadership paving way for authoritarianism speaker


News Desk January 03, 2019
Dr Adil Najam. PHOTO: EXPRESS

There is a rise of anger around the world which has replaced activism and this evolution can have serious consequences for democracies in the dynamics of changing global politics.

Politics around the world has taken a very sharp turn towards populism, authoritarianism and rise of ultra-nationalism, of which global political events, such as Brexit and America’s choice of Donald Trump, are the most shocking manifestations of a much larger, and global, phenomenon.

This was stated by Boston University Pardee School of Global Affairs Dean Prof Dr. Adil Najam while delivering a special lecture titled ‘New World (Dis) Order’, organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), on Wednesday at Islamabad.

Tribune Take: Major international political developments of 2018

Dr. Najam said that some evolving global trends such as politics of anti-politics, rise of fear and anger, evolution of the concept of strongman, rise of politics of populism and ultra-nationalism, blurring of truth and governance and rise of protest as political tool are the defining features of the new world democracies. He said that we are living through the era of politics of anti-politics, where politics being portrayed not just as a bad word, but as an essentially vile act. This is true for Pakistan, India, Turkey and USA, where anti-politics give rise to anti-politicians who promise to offer something ‘new’, he added.

Dr. Najam said that there is growing demand of strong leadership in the world which is paving the way for authoritarianism. Xi Jinping in China, Vladimir Putin in Russia, Tayyip Erdogan in  Turkey and Narendra Modi in India are few vivid examples.

“About one half of the world’s population, about two-thirds of the world’s economy, and about three-fourths of the world’s military is now under the control of a strongman”, he added.

Dr Najam said that some strongman leadership or politicians are using fear as a governance tool, where the ruler has the ability to implement policies with force. The policy of demonetisation which is being implemented in India is true example of politics of fear. There is also a rise of unprecedented protest around the world which is also being used as a political tool to get things done, he added.  He said that the truth is being blurred with more information and less analysis and credible data. Though climate change is reality and some 14 thousand peer-reviewed scientific research papers (1991-2012) confirm this reality, the world political leaders are still being misled with false information, resulting in denial to the facts.

Dr Najam said that whatever the old world order we have, it has failed to deliver as per the aspirations of people at large, hence, there is backlash and demand for change.

SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said that in last two decades the global politics is reshaping around the world, which is before us in the shape of Trumptisation and Brexitisation.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2019.

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