Democracy in the Digital Age
To safeguard their democracies and restore their global standing, Western countries must demonstrate that they possess both the awareness and political will to confront the challenges they face. Many of those challenges arise from – or are exacerbated by – digital technologies.
MOSCOW – For decades, the United States – and the West more broadly – stood as a shining example of liberal-democratic prosperity that much of the rest of the world sought to emulate. But the cracks in Western political systems have lately begun to show, with Donald Trump’s presidency – which ended with the storming of the US Capitol on January 6 by a mob of his supporters – both highlighting and widening them.
The West’s decline is not inevitable. But, to safeguard their democracies and restore their global standing, Western countries must demonstrate that they possess both the awareness and political will to tackle their weaknesses head-on.
Leaders should begin by addressing some immediate and urgent challenges – beginning with lack of trust in institutions, particularly those related to governance and elections. The “Stop the Steal” campaign that took root after Trump’s electoral loss last November, and fueled the Capitol insurrection, was based on no evidence. But, aided by social media, it spread rapidly among his supporters, where it found fertile ground and remains entrenched.