The Washington Post reports: Not long before Americans shocked the world by selecting Donald Trump to be their next president, a wealthy Brazilian businessman who played a reality-star boss on television became mayor of South America’s largest city.
On the other side of the globe, in Southeast Asia, a gun-slinging vigilante who vowed to kill all criminals and dump their bodies until the “fish will grow fat” was elected to lead a nation of 100 million.
And in Britain, voters with a centuries-long streak of moderation and pragmatism opted to ignore the overwhelming advice of experts by leaping into the abyss of life outside the European Union.
The populist wave of 2016 that carried Trump to the pinnacle of international power and influence didn’t start in the United States. And it certainly won’t end there.
Instead, the biggest prize yet for a global movement built on a seemingly bottomless reserve of political, economic and cultural grievance is likely to be an accelerant to even more victories for people and causes bent on upending the existing world order.
“Success breeds success,” said Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations. “Right now, everyone is susceptible to it. The drivers seem to be universal.”
And unless something dramatic changes to curb the populist appeal, a scattering of surprise victories this year could soon turn into a worldwide rout — the triumph of those who preach strong action over rule of law, unilateralism instead of cooperation and the interests of the majority above the rights of ethnic and religious minorities. [Continue reading…]