CNN’s Fareed Zakaria delivered an opening statement Sunday that equated President Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Zakaria was attempting to make a larger point about the power of nationalism as a movement and, without denoting a difference between the authoritarian and the legitimately-elected among them, accused all of the leaders he listed of using fear and emotion to create a victim mentality among their supporters.
“The case for nationalist populism goes like this: ‘It is a nasty world out there. People are trying to take our jobs, undermine your security, move into your country. The cosmopolitan urban elites don’t care’ … In some variant or another, this is the argument made by Netanyahu, Putin, Erdogan, Modi, Bolsonaro, the Brexiteers, and of course Donald Trump,” he explained.
He went on to suggest that Putin’s claims that Russia had been “pushed around” by the west since the Cold War and the Chinese “obsession” with overcoming the humiliation of the Opium Wars were equal to Netanyahu’s argument that Israel deserves a place at the international table. (RELATED: Benjamin Netanyahu Appears Set For Another Term As Israeli Prime Minister)
Zakaria concluded by arguing that liberals had consistently underestimated the emotional power of nationalism, banking on a rational acceptance of a more global society. “As [Isaiah] Berlin wrote, as globalization grows in its reach, nationalism will be the predictable backlash,” he explained.