The main threat to liberal democracy comes from within, not from authoritarians

At the end of the 20th century, the collapse of communism led to celebrations of the triumph of liberal democracy.

Today, those celebrations are gone, replaced by fears - as Dr Robert Kagan recently argued in The Washington Post - that strongmen are striking back. But just as the earlier optimism masked important underlying realities, so, too, does today's pessimism warp the understanding of what is going on.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2019, with the headline 'The main threat to liberal democracy comes from within, not from authoritarians'. Print Edition | Subscribe