Sadly the Turkish referendum result appears to confirm a worldwide trend to the era of the strongman
We live at a time when so many political leaders attempt to give an appearance of democracy while increasingly controlling all elements of their society.
As this “Guardian” article explains:
“Strongmen leaders in Angola, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, Belarus and Azerbaijan, and in central Asia and China, have all profited from “managed democracy”. Like Putin, they typically augment their electoral confidence tricks by suppressing credible opposition parties, controlling the media and conjuring up imaginary external threats.
Some parts of the world never got to first base, democratically speaking. This is largely true of the Middle East, notably Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states. Where genuine democracy did break out, as in Egypt in 2011, it was swiftly eviscerated. It is no coincidence that Egypt’s leader, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, sees Trump as a buddy and role model.”
Why are people increasingly looking to a strong man for political solutions? The article by Simon Tisdall suggests:
“All sorts of factors can be adduced to explain this general regression into authoritarianism: economic fears, globalisation, insecurity caused by terrorism, perceived loss of national identity and the numerous, only too evident failings of multi-party systems.”
Traditionally we have looked to the United States as a bastion of democratic values ar home and abroad but, in assessing the rise of the strongman, Tisdall points out:
“… one obvious reason is the rise of Donald Trump. Rightly or wrongly, his ascendancy is being taken as a signal by would-be autocrats everywhere that “strongman” leadership is back in vogue – and that the US, hitherto the most influential guardian of the international order, will no longer prioritise democratic standards, human rights and free speech.”