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Robert Kagan on Authoritarianism and the Threat to the Liberal Democrati...

On the growing threat of authoritarianism to the liberal world order. Click "Show more" to view all chapters. For more conversations, visit

Chapter 1 (0:15 - 36:01): The Threat of Authoritarianism

Chapter 2 (36:01 - 57:27): Defending the Liberal Order

Does the rise of authoritarian powers represent an ideological threat to liberal democracy—or just a strategic challenge? Why must America defend the liberal order created after World War II?

In this Conversation, Robert Kagan, a historian and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, argues that authoritarian regimes represent an ideological as well as strategic threat to the America-led liberal democratic order.

Drawing on his recent essay “The Strongmen Strike Back,” Kagan explains that authoritarian regimes—whatever their differences of character or policy—are united in their ideological opposition to liberalism, and have compelling reasons to try to subvert it wherever possible. Highlighting the growing dangers posed by aggressive authoritarian regimes, now armed with technologies of surveillance, Kagan explains why America must defend liberalism at home and the liberal democratic order abroad.

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