One Country, Two Planets. The United States 6 Months before the Presidential Election

23 May 2024: What is the mood in the US six months before the elections? From 30 April to 10 May, political scientist and Americanist Dr Tobias Endler travelled the US and shares his impressions here:
10 days between Manhattan and Texas. In other words, two Americas that are 3,000 kilometres apart. For someone who has been travelling the country for decades, it feels more like 10,000 km in 2024.
This brings us to a first observation: the big dividing line is between urban and rural areas. The presidential election in November will be decided along this line. According to the statistics, 8 out of 10 Americans live in ‘urban areas’, but this term covers many things, and because of the first-past-the-post system, the question of victory or defeat will be decided in the large rural states. Texas is a world unto itself, and it’s America to the power of 2. read more One Country, Two Planets. The United States 6 Months before the Presidential Election

The Man behind the “Agent Law” in Georgia

17 May 2024. For weeks, hundreds of thousands of people have been taking to the streets in Georgia to demonstrate against the so-called “Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence” of the ruling party “Georgian Dream“. The law is closely modelled on Russia’s “agent law” which the Kremlin has used for years to stifle opposition activists, the media, journalists and NGOs. It requires organisations that receive more than 20 per cent of their funding from abroad to register as ‘agents of foreign influence’. This law has enabled Russia to eliminate all forms of opposition and close down NGOs and all independent media. The same scenario is now threatening Georgia. But despite massive protests, the Georgian parliament waved the law through on 14 May. The result: The country in the Caucasus, an official candidate for EU membership since December 2023, is in danger of being re-capitulated into the Russian orbit as a kind of satellite state. This makes EU membership an extremely distant prospect.
What is behind it?
read more The Man behind the “Agent Law” in Georgia

Democratic Crossroads: The Future of Liberal Democracy

Online Talk with Francis Fukuyama and Dr. Tobias Endler, 16 May, 7:15 p.m. (CET)

12 May 2024. U.S. democracy is exposed to unprecedented tensions: social polarization, disenchantment with politics, growing economic inequality, dealing with climate change, migration, and a general mistrust in institutions are affecting public opinion and are strengthening anti-democratic forces and voices in the country. As a response to these problems, the big question and fear is whether the USA, like so many political systems around the world, is moving into a so-called “democratic backsliding“. So what is the state of democracy in the country that has been regarded as a political role model in the world for over a century? Are we witnessing a “US-only phenomenon” here? And what impact will the result of the presidential election have on this long-standing trend?

Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama is an American political scientist and Director of the Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, where he also directs the Master’s program in International Politics. His research interests include developing countries, nation building, democratization, governance, international political economy and security issues. Fukuyama has commented on the most important issues in recent world politics and has established himself as a liberal thinker.

Moderation: Dr. Tobias Endler

read more Democratic Crossroads: The Future of Liberal Democracy