In recent years, democratic backsliding has become a source of increasing anxiety with the rise of populism, polarization, and disinformation. The seeds were sown 20 years ago with the decision to invade Iraq, the unintended consequences of which continue to reverberate today. The faulty intelligence and incompetence of the intervention caused a decline in trust in elites, experts, and the establishment. This in turn weakened the social contract between government and citizens, enabling the rise of identity politics, and creating the space for populist leaders claiming that they represent the “real people.” The Iraq war paved the way to Brexit and Trump.
The Iraq War and Democratic Backsliding
Issue Date April 2023
Page Numbers 135–49