The authoritarian-populist wave, assertive China and a post-Brexit world order

In this FPC Briefing Paper Dr Chris Ogden (FPC Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer in Asian Security at the University of St Andrews) makes clear that over the last decade, the rise of authoritarian tendencies across the world represents an increasing illiberal wave in international politics. Such a wave is not limited to smaller countries but increasingly typifies the political leadership and underlying nature of the international system’s foremost powers, in the guise of the United States (US), Russia, China and India, who are normalizing authoritarian-populism as a dominant global political phenomenon. Dr Ogden argues that we must recognise that authoritarianism and democracy are not opposing political systems but are fundamentally inter-related on one continuum, whose characteristics co-exist and significantly influence each other. He notes that China is at the vanguard of this phenomenon and provides a clear counterpoint to western liberal democracy. Ogden makes the case that with western democracies heavily reliant upon China’s continued economic growth and facing significant political upheavals and crises, in particular, Brexit, the essence of the liberal world order may soon be on the verge of capitulation to China’s preferred authoritarian basis.

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