Only the paranoid survive and that is true for all Western democracies.
Western European democracy has many faces. To0day we have many ugly face – like Trump, Jimmie Åkesson (Sweden), May, Morawiecki (Poland), Orbán, Erdogan, Conte/Salvini and Ms. le Pen who are all elected heads of states or party leaders. They lie, they tell half truths and they poison democracy as we know it in the West.
But even as these people grab on to power, the democratic system will always start to kick in.
The honest media is still alive and kicking, as it starts to check the facts along with independent think tanks. Opposition politicians start to gain a foothold as economic performance starts to wither, or too many brazen lies reduce support for the those ugly men and women.
Globalisation does not support despots in the long-term because global competition means that you always need to be competitive to stay afloat. That means the rule of law, education, equality and a free of speech must respected. Remove one or two of those elements will put your country at risk of economic failure, isolation and in the path of severe criticism.
Italy, Poland and Hungary – the recipients of generous EU funding see, or will see, that this funding will dry up at some point in the future if they do not change their ways.
Trump will eventually be shown the door.
May has been shown the door, but refuses to budge for now…
Åkesson and Le Pen are isolated by the main political parties but their influence is enough to scare Macron in the same way that the AfD scares Merkel political system.
The rise of the nationalist rightwing autocrats like Juncker, and other people like Selmayr, who grab and try to hold onto power, no matter what, are symptomatic of democratic politics but also the solution.
Merkel and Macron are being challenged by the uglies and they must act and give some ground to the UK as well as recognising that EU reforms are necessary. Brexit with a “No Deal” is a nightmare for them.
The UK has no choice – it cannot accept a “No Deal” because that was effectively voted down on 15.1.2018. It cannot accept a hard border with the Republic of Ireland because the Irish refuse to accept that as an EU member state. It will have to accept a Norwegian deal but that would mean the same as being an EU member state without true voting rights. So expect that the UK eventually stays in the EU…
… and like a great democratic country, it gets it teeth into reforming what has become a rather creaking, autocratic and expensive organisation.
The current Chairman of Nokia has written a book called “The Power of Paranoid Optimism”, and even he replicates some thoughts of Intel’s former CEO, Andy Grove’ book “Only the Paranoid Survive”, there can be no question that Western countries and their people must be somewhat paranoid to ensure that we hold on to democratic values.