The Specter Haunting Europe: The Unraveling of the Post-1989 Order

Issue Date October 2016
Volume 27
Issue 4
Page Numbers 88-98
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This article argues that the unraveling of the post–Cold War liberal order is manifested by the West’s declining influence in international politics; the waning attraction of liberal democracy; and the maturing tensions within liberal democratic regimes. This unraveling renders problematic the European project of trying to extend democracy beyond the nation-state—a project that has enhanced the appeal of illiberal democracy, defined by majoritarian regimes in which the majority transforms the state into its own private possession. These regimes have become an answer to the pressures of a world where popular will is the only source of political legitimacy, and global markets are the only source of economic growth. Their rise portends devastating and far-reaching consequences throughout Europe.

About the Author

Ivan Krastev is chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, and a New York Times contributing writer.

View all work by Ivan Krastev