Can Liberal Democracy survive COVID-19?

Ana Palacio (former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain) in this piece:

Together with threats to life and limits on liberty, the coming economic crisis will deepen doubts about Western liberalism and weaken its position in the global contest of ideas that is currently underway. It is thus imperative that Western leaders not only limit the spread of COVID-19, but also foster social cohesion, devise a credible path back toward growth and normalcy, and reinvigorate the values and institutions that underpin liberal democratic societies. To succeed, they will need to revive the ethos that citizenship entails both duties and rights. The scenes of heroism by medical professionals, service workers, and community members that the pandemic has produced should help to advance this objective.

Even if Western leaders manage to limit the COVID-19 outbreak’s short-term fallout, it will mean little without forward-looking efforts to strengthen liberal-democratic systems from within. Such a failure would leave the West vulnerable to a China that, accurately or not, is presenting its model as the best solution to the challenges of these interesting times.

The West should have thought some of these things much earlier. But for a long time they were just cheerleaders of China and its economy…

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