The Age of the Strongman
by Gideon Rachman
How the Cult of the Leader Threatens Democracy around the World
Since the beginning of the millennium, when Vladimir Putin took power in Russia, authoritarian leaders have come to dominate global politics. Self-styled strongmen have risen to power in Moscow, Beijing, Delhi, Brasilia, Budapest, Ankara, Riyadh and Washington.
How and why did this new style of strongman leadership arrive? How likely is it to lead to war or economic collapse? And what forces are in place not only to keep these strongmen in check but to reverse the trend? Everywhere they go, these leaders encourage a cult of personality. They are nationalists and social conservatives, with little tolerance for minorities, dissent or the interests of foreigners. At home, they claim to stand up for ordinary people against globalist elites; abroad, they posture as the embodiments of their nations.
And they are not just operating in authoritarian political systems but have begun to emerge in the heartlands of liberal democracy. From Putin, Trump and Bolsonaro to Erdogan, Xi and Modi, The Age of the Strongman provides the first truly global treatment of the new nationalism and offers a bold new paradigm for understanding our world.