Can We Still Be Optimistic About America?

This is a season — an age, really — of American pessimism. The pessimism comes in many flavors. There is progressive pessimism: The country is tilting toward MAGA-hatted fascism or a new version of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” There is conservative pessimism: The institutions, from primary schools to the Pentagon, are all being captured by wokeness. There is Afropessimism: Black people have always been excluded by systemic, ineradicable racism. There is the pessimism of the white middle and working classes: The country and the values they’ve known for generations are being…

Peng Ming-min, Fighter for Democracy in Taiwan, Dies at 98

By that time Mr. Peng had been blacklisted from returning to Taiwan, after a military court in 1964 convicted him of sedition over his involvement with two of his students in the printing of a manifesto calling for the overthrow of the Republic of China government and the establishment of a Taiwanese democracy. American pressure on Chiang Kai-shek to release Mr. Peng had led to his transfer from an eight-year prison sentence to house arrest in 1965. With help from Amnesty International, he escaped in 1970, fleeing to Sweden. The…

U.S. Report Describes a Global Retreat on Human Rights

u s report describes a global retreat on human rights

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said on Tuesday that governments around the world, including in Russia and China, grew more repressive last year, as the State Department released its annual report on global human rights. The department’s 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices echoes President Biden’s warnings that authoritarianism is on the rise worldwide. Its introduction cites “continued democratic backsliding on several continents, and creeping authoritarianism that threatens both human rights and democracy — most notably, at present, with Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine.” The report…

Globalization Is Over. The Global Culture Wars Have Begun.

Next, I’m describing a world in which divergence turns into conflict, especially as great powers compete for resources and dominance. China and Russia clearly want to establish regional zones that they dominate. Some of this is the kind of conflict that historically exists between opposing political systems, similar to what we saw during the Cold War. This is the global struggle between the forces of authoritarianism and the forces of democratization. Illiberal regimes are building closer alliances with one another. They are investing more in one another’s economies. At the…

The Impact of Jan. 6 Is Still Rippling Throughout the World

the impact of jan 6 is still rippling throughout the world scaled

Up until Jan. 6, one might have seen these developments through the lens of ordinary American politics, with its disagreements on issues like trade, immigration and abortion. But the uprising marked the moment when a significant minority of Americans showed themselves willing to turn against American democracy itself and to use violence to achieve their ends. What has made Jan. 6 a particularly alarming stain (and strain) on U.S. democracy is the fact that the Republican Party, far from repudiating those who initiated and participated in the uprising, has sought…