Investigating the Rise of Populism (2) – Populism-Labelling and its Dangers

This article focuses on the “rise of populism”, the second explanation given for two of the major recent political and geopolitical surprises – i.e. the Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President, and a major concern for many regarding the future evolution of Europe, the EU, and more largely the liberal paradigm in its globalisation guise.

Previously, we presented the current scholarly definition of populism, and suggested that it was less representative of reality than thought at first glance (“A perfect definition?“). Here, we shall focus on a too often forgotten aspect of “populism”, the way the word is actually used to disparagingly brand a protest movement or party and reinsert it within a larger political science framework. We shall explain how this practice of “populism-labelling” is actually fraught with three main dangers, which, furthermore, interact.

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The Warming Arctic, a Hyper Strategic Crisis

Adapting a famous battle between the Teutonic knights and the Russian army during the thirteenth century in his 1938 movie, “Alexandre Nevski”, Sergei Eisenstein directs one of the most famous war scene in the movie’s history: he shows the terrible armoured Teutonic Knights charging the Russian ragtag army over a frozen lake. However, such is the weight of the Knights’ armours, that, after some fights,  the ice of Lake Peipous breaks up and all the Knights drown, giving the victory to the Russians. This could be a metaphor for what might happen in the Arctic during the decades to come, with an important nuance: there might be no winner in the end. Because of climate change, the Arctic is warming […]

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