What happens when a democratically elected leader devolves into an authoritarian ruler?
India and Turkey are two of the world's biggest democracies—multi-ethnic nations that rose from their imperial past to be founded on the values of modernity. The have fair elections, open markets, and freedom of religion. But despite their democratic values, each of their charismatic leaders—Narendra Modi in India and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey—have used their electoral support to amass significant control, in some cases limiting press freedom, pursuing opposition, and subverting democratic methods to extend their rule.
For his new book, A Question of Order, Basharat Peer spent a year and a half traveling across India and Turkey to uncover the alarming, illiberal drift these countries have engineered and the terrible human toll it has exacted. Through a combination of right-wing populism, majoritarian politics, and aggressive nationalism, the two countries provide a shocking warning to what many say are the same strongmen tendencies spreading across the globe—including here at home.
On March 21, New America NYC and The India Center Foundation marked the release of Basharat Peer's A Question of Order with a conversation on what seem to be illusory promises of liberal democracy and the people fighting to protect it.
Basharat Peer @BasharatPeer
Opinion Editor, The New York Times
Author, A Question of Order: India, Turkey, and the Return of Strongmen
Elmira Bayrasli @endeavoringE
Co-founder, Foreign Policy Interrupted
Fellow, International Security Program, New America
Manu Bhagavan @ManuBhagavan
Professor of History and Human Rights, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, the City University of New York
Author, The Peacemakers / India and the Quest for One World
Professor of Political Science, Barnard College
Author, The Primary of Politics: Social Democracy and the Making of Europe's Twentieth Century