America Needs a Better Plan to Fight Autocracy
Anne Applebaum criticises the US and International approach to autocracies in the Atlantic, making broad recommendations for change in the new context caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Autocrats help each other globally by sharing resources and tactics in a loosely-organised group of countries rejected by the West, with the goal to confuse the truth in democracies. Western and American responses have not risen to the challenge, with the need for a completely new approach:
- Put an end to transnational kleptocracy. The rules of our financial systems need to be changed to stop kleptocratic elites from abusing it. The author notes that an important element of this approach will be viewing the process as one to be managed not only by our monetary oversight bodies, but also by our foreign policy actors.
- Don't fight the information war. Undermine it. The current approach of fact-checking and swift reactions is insufficient, and must be replaced by a more organised effort to communicate with people around the world and give them more accurate information, as well as communicate democratic values. Democracies should work together in this effort, sharing experiences, jointly engaging, and mobilising citizens and teaching them to distribute information.
- Put democracy back at the centre of foreign policy. Democratic values and fundamental freedoms enjoy broad support among the American public and in democracies more broadly. However, the international structures through which we seek to support democracy are too often undermined by autocratic actors. It may be time to create some alternatives.