Aug 9, 2021 • 15M

Autocracy Grabs Global 'Market Share'

America's instability puts the rest of the world in danger + other news

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World freedom is under threat. For the first time in 20 years, autocracies are the global majority. The Economist Intelligence Unit's 2020 Global Democracy Index recorded the lowest score since its inception in 2006.

Here in the U.S., misuse of power, economic inequality, and misinformation broke the social contract

Is America truly free if we can’t trust what our leaders tell us?

The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer results showed that, even with a relatively strong global economy, none of the four societal institutions that the study measures — government, business, NGOs, and media — is trusted.

The same survey shows that income inequality now affects trust more than economic growth.

As I've said before, COVID-19 perfectly illustrates the interconnectedness of all things. This is why exceptionalism is a myth. We are like waves in the ocean of humanity, inexorably linked to each other through energy. What one does impacts the other, whether we'd like to believe it or not.

We're beginning to see the consequences of unrelenting power grabs. No one knows what to believe anymore, and we are at each others' throats.

"Autocratic regimes have studied the tools of open societies—free speech, financial flows, technological innovation, international cooperation—and weaponized them against democracies and their own people." — Freedom House

Misinformation thrives on fear and chaos

...which perpetuates even more fear and chaos. Unless we stop the cycle of abuse and self-sabotage, it will undoubtedly get worse.

Because we're all connected, the downfall of American democracy doesn't just impact us here at home. It would be a tragedy for world freedom and human rights. And then, what of climate change? Without world freedom, can we save the planet?

President Biden's bullishness on Beijing seems fruitless when we fail to consider the bigger picture. On the world stage, the U.S. is on an obvious downswing. The rest of the world is watching our liberal democratic institutions erode while reading a steady drumbeat of stories about

  • mass shootings

  • police brutality

  • social/political instability

  • socioeconomic inequality

  • economic stagnation

  • ethnic & racial divisions

  • COVID failure

  • misinformation & conspiracy theories

We should talk more about the role of soft power in U.S. foreign policy — things like domestic human rights, misinformation, and income inequality.

Our cannibalization gives countries like China (world power #2) and Russia (world power #3) a chance to grab 'market share' on the world stage. They have the momentum while we stagnate.

Autocracies are strengthening as we weaken

In "Becoming Strong: The New Chinese Foreign Policy," in the July/August 2021 issue of Foreign Affairs, Yan Xuetong writes:

“China suffered the least among major powers during the pandemic and is the only major economy to have grown over the past year. In 2020, its GDP reached 71 percent of U.S. GDP, up from 66 percent in 2019. China aims to close the remaining gap in the coming decade.”

"...In the years ahead, Moscow is likely to be an important partner of Beijing's in pushing back against the politicization of human rights issues and in promoting alternative models of democracy..."

Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson courts Hungary

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has transformed Hungary into a modern-day right-wing nationalist populist autocracy, eroding human rights and the rule of law.

History professor Heather Cox Richardson explains,

"while Hungary still has elections, state control of the media and the apparatus of voting means that it is impossible for Orbán’s opponents to take power."

In some ways, we are slow-walking toward this type of illiberalism.

Tucker Carlson, one of the loudest voices on the right, hosted his news broadcast in the country last week.

According to the BBC, Carlson is attending a three-day festival organized by the Matthias Corvinus Collegium (MCC).

"MCC is an extremely well-funded school for top students, whom Mr. Orban's Fidesz government are carefully grooming to become the country's new right-wing elite. Both Carlson and Mr. Orban are due to address the crowds from the main stage."

Carlson praised Hungary on his broadcast as early as 2018:

"At least one politician in Europe is fearlessly raising an alarm about the kind of society European elites want to create, one that is rejected unanimously by European citizens,” Carlson said. “In a speech yesterday kicking off his party’s bid for reelection, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban warned that politicians in Brussels, Berlin, and Paris are going to destroy Western civilization with their enthusiasm for mass migration left unchecked.”

…in other news…

Andrew Cuomo embraced the spirit of disinformation

..and used every manipulative denial tactic from the Toxic Masculinity™ handbook to avoid accountability for his actions.

Click ‘play’ on the podcast for additional commentary. CW: Sexual harassment & assault

Feminine Rising: Congresswoman Cori Bush

Cori Bush embodied the principle of high feminine leadership this week. She slept outside on the steps of the U.S. Capitol for three days, galvanizing activists and fellow lawmakers to pressure the Biden administration to extend the federal eviction moratorium.

It worked. The Biden administration announced a 60-day eviction ban for 90 percent of U.S. counties. The ruling will likely be challenged but it at least gives millions of families a little more room to breathe.

What are your thoughts on rising autocracy, Andrew Cuomo, or Cori Bush's bold and creative action to prevent evictions? Let me know in the comments or yell at me on Twitter @heymollyb.