The author of the concept of soft power, Joseph Nye, anxiously writes that authoritarianism is conquering the world. And the most successful and aggressive machos, in his opinion, are Putin, Xí Jìnpíng and Erdoğan, which could well join the "American Mussolini" - Trump.
Indeed, the Anti-Liberal Internationalism came on stage instead of expected new wave of democratization. And, what an irony! Some European leaders go in the second stride. Hungarian Prime Minister Orban has long and successfully passed the examination for authoritarianism.
Moreover, the Russian president has played the role of the Special Forces in the coalition, trying to determine where the "red line" is, for which the West will not let him go. And it often turns out that this line is ambiguous or blurred.
Even more cautious Chinese leader steps after Putin, who is straining the muscles in the South China Sea, but he is clearly ready for more adventurous play. But brash Erdogan risks blackmailing Merkel and demanding from her the head of the German journalist who mocked her.
The weakening of the West has become an invitation for illiberal leaders to take a chance to check how strong the nerves and muscles in the hostile community are.
Again, the irony is that the West is beginning to lose the drive after the victory over their enemy and opponent - the USSR and communism. The era of tranquility and the rejection of ideology, belief in pragmatism and the automatism of progress demoralized Western elite and spawned a generation of leaders, operators that are able only to press a button and play situational policy. But they are not ready for the new challenges, and even more to the management during the crisis. The era of Adenauer and de Gaulle, Thatcher, Mitterrand and Reagan gave way to the drabbies. And anyone will remember Cameron, Sarkozy and Hollande only as an example of anti-leadership. Who can remember the EU leaders who are selected on the basis of lack of the leadership qualities? There’s only Merkel left on the field, who holds Europe on her shoulders and even substitutes for Obama, who has no desire to engage in big politics.
Of course, the tyrants could not avoid the temptation to fill in the space. And here there was a bummer. They were hoping for a decline of the West. Instead, they woke up the lazy liberal system in the West, injecting adrenaline in its body.
Western society began to search for his strong leadership formula. As Toynbee warned, every call generates a response. Civilizations, which cannot respond, die. The West is not ready to die. Tyrants made a strategic mistake. They launched the law of unintended consequences.
However, while the liberal world is preparing the changeover, you can show off. But you will have to pay for the vigor. Russia is already paying.