Thursday , June 17 2021
Home / Project Syndicate / Prosecute the Populists?

Prosecute the Populists?

Summary:
As legal investigations of current and former populist leaders get underway, it is easy to succumb to schadenfreude. But the assumption that Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and Sebastian Kurz are finally getting their comeuppance is premature. MOSCOW – Until the cease-fire, the world’s attention was trained on Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza, which may have suited Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is facing trial on corruption charges. And Netanyahu is hardly the only populist leader in legal peril. From Austria to the United Kingdom to the United States, similar investigations are underway. Have democracies finally found the means, and the willingness, to vanquish their domestic enemies? The Big Lie and Its

Topics:
Nina L. Khrushcheva considers the following as important:

This could be interesting, too:

Yu Yongding writes China Needs Higher Inflation

Takatoshi Ito writes An Olympic-Size COVID Risk

Laura Alfers writes A Digital Bridge to Social Support

Zachary Karabell writes America’s Flawed Search for Itself

As legal investigations of current and former populist leaders get underway, it is easy to succumb to schadenfreude. But the assumption that Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and Sebastian Kurz are finally getting their comeuppance is premature.

MOSCOW – Until the cease-fire, the world’s attention was trained on Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza, which may have suited Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who is facing trial on corruption charges. And Netanyahu is hardly the only populist leader in legal peril. From Austria to the United Kingdom to the United States, similar investigations are underway. Have democracies finally found the means, and the willingness, to vanquish their domestic enemies?

To answer that question, let us begin by looking at the poster child for anti-democratic populism: former US President Donald Trump. He is in the crosshairs of prosecutors in both New York (for potential tax and other business-related crimes) and Atlanta (for his efforts to overturn the 2020 US presidential election).

Some of Trump’s closest associates also have targets on their backs. Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City who became Trump’s personal lawyer, is facing a federal criminal investigation into his dealings in Ukraine.

If he is charged, Giuliani, who rose to prominence in the 1980s as a mafia-fighting federal prosecutor, will not be the first Trump crony to face criminal prosecution. He will follow Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn. The difference is that, with Trump no longer president, Giuliani cannot count on a pardon.

To Trump’s acolytes, such investigations are utterly illegitimate: the prosecutors are representatives of a “deep state” bent on protecting the corrupt elites from a Trump administration that heroically stood up to them. Trump’s detractors, meanwhile, may be feeling schadenfreude: after years of open contempt for US law, Trump and his cronies are finally getting their comeuppance.

Nina L. Khrushcheva
Nina L. Khrushcheva is a Professor of International Affairs and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at The New School and a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute. Khrushcheva received a degree from Moscow State University with a major in Russian in 1987 and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Princeton University in 1998.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *