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Can Liberal Democracy Survive COVID-19?

Summary:
Even if Western leaders manage to limit the COVID-19 outbreak’s immediate fallout, it will mean little without forward-looking efforts to strengthen liberal-democratic systems from within. Such a failure would could well amount to handing China victory in the global contest of ideas that is now underway. MADRID – By some mix of cruel irony and remarkable prescience, the theme of last year’s Venice Biennale – the biennial art exhibition’s 58th incarnation – was: “May you live in interesting times.” The line, purportedly a translation of an old Chinese curse, was meant to highlight the precariousness of life in this dangerous and uncertain age. With the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, and credible global

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Even if Western leaders manage to limit the COVID-19 outbreak’s immediate fallout, it will mean little without forward-looking efforts to strengthen liberal-democratic systems from within. Such a failure would could well amount to handing China victory in the global contest of ideas that is now underway.

MADRID – By some mix of cruel irony and remarkable prescience, the theme of last year’s Venice Biennale – the biennial art exhibition’s 58th incarnation – was: “May you live in interesting times.” The line, purportedly a translation of an old Chinese curse, was meant to highlight the precariousness of life in this dangerous and uncertain age. With the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world, and credible global leadership nowhere to be seen, that reality has become impossible to ignore.

Venice has always been a monument to human ingenuity. Situated in the most improbable of...

Ana Palacio
Ana Palacio, a former Spanish foreign minister and former Senior Vice President of the World Bank, is a member of the Spanish Council of State, a visiting lecturer at Georgetown University, and a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on the United States.

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