Can the Nation-State Survive in 2024? with Judah Grunstein

Jan 11, 2024 45 min listen

Judah Grunstein, editor-in-chief of World Politics Review, joins Doorstep co-hosts Nick Gvosdev and Tatiana Serafin for his annual review of global power shifts. With military and social conflicts pressuring nation-states, Grunstein discusses the fracturing, power vacuums, and identitarianism that will re-shape international politics in 2024. With nearly half the globe headed to the polls, major changes are on the horizon.

How will migration and extreme weather impact electorate demands? To what extent will organized labor shift economic paradigms? Will the Global South finally gain more influence vis-à-vis the Global North?

Can the Nation-State Survive Doorstep Spotify podcast link Can the Nation-State Survive Doorstep Apple podcast link

NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: Welcome, everyone, to this first edition of The Doorstep podcast for 2024. I am your co-host, senior fellow at Carnegie Council Nick Gvosdev.

TATIANA SERAFIN: And I am Tatiana Serafin, also a senior fellow here at Carnegie Council, welcoming you to 2024, Nick, and welcoming in a moment Judah Grunstein, the editor-in-chief of World Politics Review, who is going to come back and share with us his predictions for 2024 and thoughts on what happened in 2023.

Before that I do want to mention a couple of things. The first, for our audience here, is that we want you to engage with us. We want you to follow us and our conversation. Nick just wrote a great piece on our work in 2023, visiting college campuses across the country and learnings about what you are thinking on the ground because that feeds into what we are thinking for 2024. So please email us, find us on Bluesky, sometimes on Twitter, and share your thoughts.

Also, please join us on January 31 at 9:30 for our first Book Talk of the year with Kristina Lunz on The Future of Foreign Policy is Feminist. It is our first Book Talk of the year. You can sign up on carnegiecouncil.org. We look forward to welcoming back Kristina Lunz. We spoke with her last year, and we are so excited to read her book and discuss it with all of you, so please go to carnegiecouncil.org for information about that Book Talk and all of the work that we do.

NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: With that, let’s go to our conversation with Judah.

TATIANA SERAFIN: Judah, thanks so much for joining us here at The Doorstep for 2024, your fourth year here at The Doorstep podcast, and I think that gives us a lot of opportunity to talk about what is really happening in this new decade, which is not new anymore I guess. We are in our midlife crisis I would say. That is how I would put it. Thank you so much for joining us. Again, we look forward to hearing what you thought about this crazy year 2023 and what we look forward to in 2024.

I want to start off with something you recently wrote because there are so many things we could talk about. I want to start out with this quote because I think it lays the groundwork for so many threads that we pulled last year in terms of our discussion. You wrote: “It’s fascinating that with all the talk over the past 15 years of the demise of the liberal international order and emergence of a new one, no one has argued that this transformation will almost certainly entail the reconfiguration of various nation-states we currently think of as definitive.”

I love that because it is such a big way to look at all of our LEGO block problems that have created this massive I don’t know what. When you wrote that what were you thinking?

JUDAH GRUNSTEIN: First of all, thanks for having me. It has become a New Year’s ritual, and over the years I have started thinking about gathering my thoughts earlier and earlier into December.

Second of all, I need to stop writing because I always get myself in trouble. I write something, people quote it back to me, and I think, Well, what did I mean by that? It is part of my process to put out provocations, and then often I will backfill them myself with arguments.

I guess where that came from is that in the course of this past year I have been reading a few authors, Michael Mann particularly and Anthony Giddens most recently, on the emergence of the nation-state and the crystallization and consolidation of nation-states within the international system of nation-states. It had me thinking about a lot of these processes, social processes, social conflicts, tensions, and rivalries, but also the military conflicts, tensions, and rivalries that shaped both the internal structuring and rise of national governments and nation-states and the international system. In the second post of that thread that you just cited, Tatiana, I write that I can’t think offhand of a historical example where the global order shifted, went from one era to another, where there were not either combinations of or fracturing of existing nation-states or nations before they became nation-state systems.

I have been thinking about this idea that we think of the nation-state as almost the teleological end of an evolutionary process, and what my reading this year reinforced for me is that is contingent on a lot of historical events, happenstance sometimes, or flukes, so if it is not an evolutionary process, what makes us think that it is absolutely unchangeable or that it is inevitable that it cannot go backward, shift, or change? That is where that thinking came from.

I am also thinking about the ways in which ten years ago, 15 years ago maybe, a big challenge for the nation-state was going to be the supranational, the post-national order, of supranational entities like the European Union, the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Union of South American Nations, you name it. It was going to be these big regional groupings that were going to replace the nation-state. Clearly in a lot of cases that is absolutely nowhere near to being realistic. In the case of the European Union, depending on where you dial the microscope in, you might see things that resemble a sovereign entity and in other areas absolutely not.

All that thinking, why does it necessarily have to go upward in terms of bigger or post-national or supranational, and why can’t it go downward in terms of fracturing of states into smaller entities that are nation-states or resemble them?

To wrap it up—a little too late to not be longwinded about it—I think that when you look at the international and global pressures on nation-states right now, primarily with regard to armed conflict and tensions of that nature, and then you look on the ground at various nation-states and you see how the very foundation of the nation is being contested in terms of all these identitarian movements and very divisive debates over who claims to speak for a national identity, it seems like the nation-state is under a lot of pressure right now. What does that mean as we move forward into what we are going to be talking about with regard to the entities that exercise sovereignty, and what sovereignty will look like, probably not in the next year but over the course of years to come?

NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: Judah, as you were making your comments, I could not help but think about what has changed over the past 15 years in terms of what we discuss and what we look at. Fifteen years ago we did talk about Blue states and Red states in the United States, but we did not talk about anything like a “great divorce,” which now has begun to seep into the mainstream, as you said, as people start to ask: “Do we identify with our fellow citizens within this construct of the nation-state as the border as they have been defined?”

Certainly technological shifts over the last several decades accompany this decentralization, that you can decentralize, you can do things at a local level, or you can bring down to lower levels technologies and capabilities that before were only in the hands of centralized nation-states.

From your perch in Europe, and as you said the trend line was the idea that we were moving toward a united Europe that would function essentially as a supranational entity—we have seen political challenges in recent years, we have seen challenges within European states—what is your sense about how the technological shift, which allows for things to be done at the local level, is connecting with these political, ideological, and identitarian trends that you are noting that push toward the potential fracturing of large nation-states?

JUDAH GRUNSTEIN: In the United Kingdom the obvious parallel is the pressure on the United Kingdom that has been brought to bear since Brexit, most notably and visibly with regard to the Northern Ireland Protocol, but also Scotland was not at all thrilled with Brexit with very pro-EU sentiment in Scotland. In fact most of the Brexit vote was in England as I understand, so there has been a lot of pressure on the United Kingdom as a cohesive nation-state or state of nations, and there has been talk that King Charles might be the last king of the United Kingdom because of those tensions.

I want to throw in right now from the get-go everything is sort of a double-edged sword. Some of these pressures are pressures that are very divisive for nation-states, but at the same time they have aspects that demand the kind of cohesion and power that only a nation-state can exercise.

With regard to the technological aspects one of the things that makes the nation-state possible and that then the nation-state uses to replicate itself is the "administrative power of surveillance," which is from Giddens straight out—no plagiarizing; I am making my citation right now—and he lifts it from Foucault obviously. His point is that as a centralized authority knows more about what is going on it can then use that information to adapt its administrative bureaucracies better, to expand its power, but also to improve its services, most notably in the economic sphere but also in terms of social demographics and things like that.

When you look at the kind of administrative power and surveillance power that I think is what you are talking about, Nick, that those kinds of things are either filtering upward to major corporations and Big Tech—Google probably right now has more surveillance and information authority and disciplinary authority in Foucaultian terms than a lot of nation-states—but also filtering downward because a local government can keep just as close tabs on its population and its inhabitants as a distant central government can. Where does that balance of power end up? I think it is a cat-and-mouse game.

Another iteration is the surveillance power of states versus the organizing power that the Internet offers to social and political movements. We saw that in the Arab uprisings in 2011. Everyone was sure that now no government was safe from the organizing power and mobilizing power of social media, and things looked obviously a lot different once states clued in and figured out how to keep tabs on all that.

I do think in Europe you have similar social tensions going on, the urban/rural or urban/agricultural, where you have urban centers having very different interests than peri-urban and then the agricultural sectors. You see that in Germany this week and in the Netherlands a little further back. That maps onto it; the same kind of nationalist identity or nativist identity movements are pretty strong in Europe. At the same time you have separatist movements in Catalonia, which has been weakened but has not disappeared. I mentioned the United Kingdom.

This is just in the core, when you think of the core and the periphery. When you look outside of Europe and the United States and look at things like most recently this port deal between Ethiopia and Somaliland, a quasi-state breakaway region from Somalia. If all you could do was define the features of a nation-state, Somaliland is a nation-state; it is just one that is not recognized by any other nation-state. All of a sudden Ethiopia needs ocean access, and they offer recognition in return for a port. Everyone is happy except Somalia.

These are the kinds of pressures I think that can bubble up and poke out in ways that with all the bandwidth being soaked up by the war in Ukraine and now the war in Gaza there is not a whole lot of bandwidth to deal with it. I think it is a mistake, especially now, to think that we can just keep our eye on Europe and the United States or just on the core and not think about what is happening elsewhere in the world in terms of these pressures.

This can get us into looking at the United Nations and what has happened there, but one of the defining features of nation-states is that they recognize each other. You cannot have a nation-state in a system that is not made up of other nation-states. As bad as it is in a system of nation-states to be Somaliland and not be recognized, it is not much better to be the one nation-state and there are no other nation-states to recognize you. If you have a global order that is eroding and in massive turmoil, it puts everything under pressure in the ways that we just talked about.

TATIANA SERAFIN: Now that you are talking about this fracturing I am going to tie it into something else that you wrote because I think it is connected, this idea of fracturing, what it leads to, and what it erodes. With half of the globe or something like that up for election is the erosion of the politician a real thing that is part of this fracturing, and then part of what you are writing: “There are good reasons to believe we are in for a period in which states and state-supported non-state actors will resort to armed conflict more willingly than in the recent past.” Is that where the next half of the decade is headed?

JUDAH GRUNSTEIN: One of the things that I did have on my mind to mention is that I think we are in a period of time where it is already difficult and only going to get increasingly difficult to make predictions because when you think of predictions it is the continuation of present trends. If you think about it like a river, if you know the course of the river, you can intuit where it is going to go. When you reach a point where the river breaks up into a whole bunch of whirlpools, eddies, and things like that, it gets a little more difficult to figure out what the next evolution or next development is going to be. I definitely think we are in that kind of period. That is a caveat.

The thing about the global climate landscape is that nothing we know today can help us predict what is going to happen tomorrow, but, having said that, we are in a landscape and we are in an ecosystem that is making it more likely or facilitating the resort to armed conflict. It is shaping conflicts in a way that makes it easier or more likely that they end up in armed conflict rather than negotiations, compromises, or brokered solutions.

There was a lot of backlash against the idea that, for instance, the attack of Hamas on October 7 had anything to do with the global order and the erosion of the international order and particularly these norms against aggression and against armed conflict. The obvious argument is that Hamas has been doing this for years. There have been years of sporadic conflict between Israel and Hamas.

My response to that is you do not need a smoking gun in terms of text or Internet messages among the Hamas leadership saying, “Look, China is making inroads in the Middle East; now is our time to act.” That is not how this works. However, there was reporting of Hamas’s leadership saying that the global environment right now is actually propitious for a strategic breakthrough.

The reason it is obvious to them is that it is obvious to everyone. You have the United States with its hands full trying to keep the NATO alliance unified and cohesive, trying to keep Europe onboard, trying to keep House Republicans onboard with supporting Ukraine against Russia, while it is also trying to create this coalition to counter China’s growing influence. You have China, which is in fact making inroads into the Middle East and wants to be a bigger actor there.

You have all these tensions, and then you also have in the immediate run-up, in the past two to three years, Azerbaijan resorting to force to settle a decades-long territorial conflict and dispute; you have Russia in Ukraine; you have the internal civil wars in Ethiopia that no one cared about and which dragged on horrifically for two years in Tigray and are still continuing in other regions.

So you have all these things going on where very clearly there are going to be opportunistic actors saying, “Now is our time,” or states saying: “You know what? We are tired of it. We are going to try to settle this dispute now once and for all.” We see this with Venezuela and Guyana. Even though it is very unlikely that Venezuela will do anything that rash, it is rattling the sabers because it seems to be what people do now.

Yes, I do think the global security order is going to be increasingly severely strained, and one of the reasons why is because, setting aside any utopian retrospective portrayals of the liberal international order, there was a norm toward multilateral peacemaking, multilateral negotiations, a real off-ramp to conflict and mobilization when it began, this sense that we have multilateral channels to work with.

In some ways that started breaking down with the civil war in Syria with regard to Russia’s obstructionism. Regarding the United States, obviously with the invasion of Iraq, you can trace it back to that as well. Libya was a little more of a multilateral consensus but clearly overstepped in terms of the UN mandate by the Western coalition.

I think what you have is a vacuum of national or international will, capability, or bandwidth to step in and channel these things away from armed conflict. All of that combined again puts a lot of pressure on nation-states, whether nation-states that want to swallow up some territory that they have claimed for a while, nation-states that will split off and divide up, or smaller states that are trying to defend themselves from bigger states.

Again, nothing started yesterday. This is not stuff that happened overnight, but instead this accumulation of details and accumulation of factors that I think ends up eventually reaching the famous tipping point or inflection point, and then all of a sudden the difference of quantity becomes a difference of quality.

NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: Judah, I want to connect what you just said back to the point about politicians and political leaders. As you were saying that I was thinking that on the one hand we have some leaders who have just been around forever and in some ways it is like a time freeze: In 1985, Daniel Ortega; in 2023 and 2024, Daniel Ortega again in Nicaragua. Putin has been around now for 25 years running Russia in one form or another. Benjamin Netanyahu has been part and parcel of Israeli politics for the last three decades, so you have that factor.

You have new generations of leadership, and most notably the announcement that Gabriel Attal will take over as prime minister of France to have a younger Millennial at the head of government of a major state and someone with no memory of the end of the Cold War and was a child when 9/11 happened and the invasion of Iraq, so we have new people moving into power who do not have these landmark events in their consciousness that I think many of us, particularly Gen X, have in our lived experience about the world.

Also, we seem to have, particularly in the United States but in other countries as well, a trend toward political leaders who seek to run for purposes of—it has always been true for politicians—self-aggrandizement but not producing the caliber of statesmen and stateswomen that we had in the past. You mentioned the U.S. Congress. You look at the personalities in the U.S. Congress today, and that can raise concerns.

You talked a bit about the systemic issue, but maybe bring it back to the personal issue: Who is actually in charge in governments around the world, and what is that telling us about how we navigate or don’t navigate some of the pitfalls that you are outlining?

JUDAH GRUNSTEIN: First of all, I think it is important to highlight the most outrageous aspects of this Boomer generation that hangs on and the Millennials who are now taking power, which is that Generation X has been completely leapfrogged in terms of U.S. presidential office but also leadership elsewhere. On that level, I think that needs to be said. Generation X has to speak up and get back in the game.

More seriously, everything you mentioned—it is almost like a metaphor for the way in which we are dealing with extremes now in international politics because beyond the people you mention you have Paul Biya in Cameroon, who I think is well into 40 years in power, Museveni in Uganda, and Hun Sen in Cambodia, who just passed things off to his son after 37 years or something.

On the other hand, you have Macron, who is a young president, and now Gabriel Attal, who is the youngest French prime minister, although for many reasons I believe Macron will be pulling the strings on that in terms of power. You have Gabriel Boric in Chile, who was the youngest president there when he took office, so, yes, you have this older generation that has a ton of experience.

It is important not to discount that. We ran a good feature article on this, that age itself is not a reason for an elder statesperson to be in office. There is a lot of experience and a lot of contacts, but again the world has changed so there are aspects where you wonder how appropriate that is, and then you have young people with a lot of dynamism and new ideas who are not so attached to old ways and who are maybe not married to the same dichotomies and polarities, but again it is extreme. You do not have the middle option, it seems like.

I think what is ironic—and one of our columnists, James Bosworth, wrote this about Latin American politics—is that when you ask people what they want most, they say they want that middle option, they want moderates, but when you look at first-round election results, because most of Latin America has the two-round presidential system, because oftentimes that moderate option is the establishment party that everyone is tired of, they get ruled out after the first round, and that explains why a lot of the second-round elections in Latin America are the far right against the extreme left, who are often outsiders.

What is interesting is that people want one thing, and they don’t get it. This is where the personalities and systems intersect because we have had this whole narrative for a couple of years—it was central to Biden’s administration—of democracy versus autocracy, and I think what is important to dial into is how is it that in democracies people very clearly with regard to polling want one thing and keep getting things other than what they want. I think that is when the personalities win out because you get antiestablishment figures and iconoclastic figures.

I will be honest. I am of two minds about it. I don’t like the whole “not fit for office” argument. When you think of the U.S. House of Representatives, for instance, as much as I don’t like the politics of some of the flame-throwing “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) Republicans, within certain boundaries it is good to question the norms of political discourse and political interaction, to be upfront and blunt, and to bring language that is used colloquially to politics—you see it a lot on social media.

With the progressive Democrats, the younger congresspeople—I forget the nickname they have, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and “The Squad”—there was a sense of ruffled feathers, but all they did was renovate political language, in a very smart way to my mind, the MAGA Republicans maybe in a little more of a cruder way, to put it diplomatically, but the idea that people cannot be in politics is what a lot of the discourse, censoring that kind of political behavior to me smacks of, and I like “mud on the boots” in politics. That is important, and I think that is how you best counter the idea that politics and politicians are completely divorced from reality.

I think where the danger is—and this is again where a lot of these outsiders benefit and take advantage—is that you have, in the United States, in Europe, and elsewhere as well, this idea that they are all corrupt, every institution is rotten, and what you have is any mistake, even when it is recognized and corrected, is proof that the institution is rotten.

So when a mainstream news source corrects an error in a news report it is proof that they are publishing fake news and that we cannot believe anything they say. The same thing goes for institutions and politicians, and then you get into the echo chambers of online discourse and social media.

I think we are in a very delicate stage and period for institutions of states, and this is more the pressure that they are under because it is very easy it seems to radicalize people and to get people to believe that everything has to be thrown out and we have to start from scratch. I think that is why you have some of the younger faces coming in and some of the older faces hanging on. In some ways it degrades the lifeblood of democracy, which is much more than just going to the polls and voting, although that is how it is expressed.

TATIANA SERAFIN: Now we come to the famous “What are we looking forward to this year?” question. I want to say last year, Judah, you said you were looking forward to people going back to snail mail and typewriters—I don’t know if you remember—and getting off their phones. I have to tell you, that was true. You were right. You predicted it. I personally am done with Musk and Twitter.

As a result, I have noticed that I do not engage in social in the way that I used to last year. I really don’t. I find that my students don’t either. It is super-fascinating to me. Maybe we are not using typewriters like you said, but we are definitely I think—and there have been studies proving that people are just not using social as much as they used to; engagement is down—looking for people-to-people connection and in-person connection.

I find that you were right, so I am looking forward to your predictions this year. Nick, too, I want to hear from you. You have written a lot about some of our work this year, traveling around the country and listening to people and their issues, and then I will go last.

JUDAH GRUNSTEIN: You say that, but I was going to say, Tatiana, I went back over our discussion from last year just to remember what I said. You said that 2023 was going to be the “year of India.” Up until about a month or two ago, I was like, “Man, that was spot on,” because Modi racked up the wins in terms of global diplomacy. It got a little tarnished with some of the transnational assassination attempts and things like that, but for the most part it was a solid call for 2023.

The other thing I remember discussing, maybe not as my big prediction for 2023, was the emergence of the Global South as a more vocal and powerful actor in global politics, and I think that did play out in 2023 and that we are going to see that more. Part of it has to do with the recognition in the United States and Europe that in order to compete geopolitically with China there has to be more responsiveness to the needs and grievances of the Global South and Global South countries.

I think it is going to become a little more contentious because I think fundamentally the West does not necessarily have the tools to do so, both in terms of lacking state-backed investment and infrastructure possibilities and in terms of only having private sector investment. I think the war in Gaza also is creating very deep divisions between the Global South and the West and charges of double standards and hypocrisy between what the West expected of the Global South with regard to the war in Ukraine and what it is actually doing with regard to the war in Gaza. I think the Global South will continue to play a bigger role but that the politics will become more contentious.

One of the things we flagged in our “year in review” series that I think is going to be a big story in 2024 is the rising activism, mobilization, and power of organized labor in Europe, the United States, and the West in general but also elsewhere. The balance of power between capital and labor has shifted, again because of electoral politics. Biden’s famous “foreign policy for the middle class,” requires creating the kinds of jobs that lend themselves to organized labor.

I do not know how this possibly can get worse, but I believe immigration and mobility are going to hit some sort of tipping point. There are two things that are heading for a head-on collision. The first is the nationalist or nativist backlash against immigration and mobility, and the second is the urgent need in developed economies for skilled as well as unskilled labor that is desperately trying to make it to the countries with developed economies. I can tell you, for instance, that in the United Kingdom the National Health Service, the amount of doctors, nurses, skilled staff, and technical staff that is of immigrant origin or immigrants is enormous, and that is I think something you will see playing out, again those two political forces colliding.

I will say this. Demand for labor in the Global North is a double-edged sword for the Global South because it results in quite a bit of brain drain and also an exodus of the biggest capital resource that a lot of Global South countries have, which is their young demographic that has a lot of dynamic qualities and aspirations.

I think those are the sorts of things that we will be tracking. Also, I am keeping my eye out for this question of the nation-state. I think I mentioned last year the idea that as the solidified order crumbles there is more room for green shoots to come up. Those can sometimes be bad and sometimes good.

I do not want to speak for both of you, but I think most observers ended 2023 a little more pessimistic than they began it, even after 2022. So I don’t know. I like to maintain a sense of optimism because it is just as irrational as pessimism but a little more reassuring, but the most abstract thing I will be keeping my eye on is what kind of ideas and what kind of alternatives to the power centers that we have now in the international system might be starting to emerge and lay claim to sovereignty.

TATIANA SERAFIN: Nick?

NIKOLAS GVOSDEV: I would probably echo almost everything that Judah has said and maybe put two additional points as we move to 2024.

First, this is of course a year of elections and leadership transitions around the world. By the end of the year we may have very different governments in places and very different perspectives, so I think there is a high degree of possibility for change. I like, Judah, your metaphor of the green shoots coming up, and we may be seeing some of those by the end of 2024.

Longer term, and I think this goes back to what we did for us, 2023 was the year of engagement, taking The Doorstep out onto the road to various college campuses, and one of the things—it won’t immediately manifest itself next year—I think part of this transition is that for the younger generations the emphasis in foreign policy on security is giving way to an emphasis on sustainability, that it is not going to be about security just in the narrow sense of physical security and military security, but it is about the overall sustainability of life and of lifestyle. I think those are going to become defining issues for politics as we move forward.

TATIANA SERAFIN: I am going to point people to the piece you wrote for Carnegie Council, Nick, because I thought that was a great summing up of what we learned when we were on the road.

I am going to say that I totally agree. I checked off migration, labor movements, Judah. They were two on my list, but what I am looking to—and I don’t think people are discussing it enough, and we had a Book Talk this year about it called Fire Weather with John Vaillant—is how extreme weather is going to impact governments, nations, people on a local level, and on a national level. I think nobody is paying enough attention. We just came through a day that wreaked havoc across the United States, but Canada had its worst fire year ever, and nobody really talked about it. Europe had terrible fires this summer.

On a local level weather is what people care about—how that impacts your commute, your day, your life, and your house flooding. I think that as a thing is going to be so powerful. It impacts migration and so many things. That is my big story, not just for obviously 2024 but going forward. The impact of extreme weather is not being dealt with in politics and business, and on an individual level. We all think somebody is going to take care of it. Well, who is that somebody? Who is the somebody who is supposed to take care of it? That is what I worry about.

I also worry about free speech. Judah, last year you mentioned what I think you called the “return of the super-empowered individual,” and I think we have seen the super-empowered individuals put the squeeze—at least in the United States—on speech, although you can say the same thing of Putin in Russia or any state that does not have free speech, and I really, really worry that if we cannot dialogue we are not going to move forward, and this sense of pessimism. I caught pessimism, and I am the least pessimistic person on the planet. I caught it because of the decline in the ability to speak freely. That is a big concern of mine going forward.

JUDAH GRUNSTEIN: Can I add one final optimistic thought?

TATIANA SERAFIN: Thank you. Please do.

JUDAH GRUNSTEIN: We are seeing things that we did not think we would see again in terms of discourse, in terms of a lot of –isms, in terms of tongues unleashed, and norms on acceptable speech, not legal speech or free speech, but what is acceptable in the public political discourse. To be explicit I am talking about racism, Nazism, and fascism. It is very worrisome for obvious reasons.

I think there is a pendulum swing about this sort of thing, and it also has been generating a huge amount of mobilization to resist it. There is often a sense of concern the first time these things break through.

I think a lot will play out in November in the United States in particular, but people are mobilizing. There is a lot of understanding of what is at stake, and I think there are a lot of people of goodwill and good faith who may not agree with each other on everything but certainly agree on the most important things, and we just have to hope and work to make sure that is enough to get us over this rough patch.

TATIANA SERAFIN: Thank you so much again for joining us for our fourth year of review and prediction.

JUDAH GRUNSTEIN: Thank you very much for having me. It is a pleasure as always.

Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs is an independent and nonpartisan nonprofit. The views expressed within this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the position of Carnegie Council.

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