Judy Asks: Is Post-1989 Europe Building Walls?
Editor's Note: GMF's Daniel Hegedus responds to a question by Judy Dempsey: Is Post-1989 Europe Building Walls?
Certainly. However, the main question is not whether walls will be built in Europe, but whether building walls, both in the physical and metaphorical sense, remains a policy of populist contenders or evolves into our new European political normality. In this sense, the approaching thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall should serve as a reminder of just how deep and slowly healing the mental wounds left by a political normality using walls to secure its existence can be.
Although the specter of wall-building, right-wing populism has not been driven away, its triumph is also not in sight. On the contrary. U.S. President Donald Trump’s increasingly beleaguered situation, Brexit—one of the most inherently populist products ever—turning British politics into farce, the political miscalculations and decay of Italy’s League and Austria’s Freedom Party all point in the direction that liberal democracy and free societies remain the main political paradigm of the West, at least for a while.