Global rise of anger over activism can harm democracy, Dr Adil Najam

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There is a rise of anger around the world which has replaced activism and this evolution can have serious consequences for democracies in changing global politics. Politics around the world have taken a very sharp turn towards populism, authoritarianism and rise of ultra-nationalism, whereas global political events, such as Britain’s decision of Brexit and America’s choice of Donald Trump, are the most shocking manifestations of a much larger, and global, phenomenon.

Prof Dr. Adil Najam Dean of the Pardee School of Global Affairs Boston University, USA said this while delivering a special lecture titled “New World (Dis) Order”, organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), on Wednesday at Islamabad.

Prof Dr. Adil 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, Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸanin 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 one ‘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 demonetization 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 fall information, resulting in denial to the facts.

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

Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director SDPI said that in last two decades the global politics is reshaping around the world, which is before us in the shape of Trumptization and Brexitization. He said that such global phenomenon and most recent partial withdrawal of the United States from the Afghanistan demand the governments like Pakistan to focus more on their real domestic issues.

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