There are two very disturbing geopolitical trends currently taking place. First, authoritarianism is on the rise in many countries. Second, the leaders of those authoritarian movements are working together and forming alliances against America, the West, and democracy in general. Putin is suffering military humiliations on the battlefield but Putinism seems to be advancing. Marc Fisher with a solid overview in WaPo (Gift Article): Leaders of democracies increasingly echo Putin in authoritarian tilt. “Recent years have brought a sharp reaction in many parts of the world, as globalization, political polarization, the rise of social media and a collapse of trust in major institutions have left many people feeling betrayed by their governments, torn apart from their careers and alone in their communities, according to historians, political scientists and sociologists who have studied these shifts in the world’s economies and governments. The result has been a similar quest for nationalist solutions in country after country, and a growing bond among the far-right autocrats in those places.”

+ Ian Bremmer shares some maps. “Democracy is a better system. It’s more just. It’s more humane. But it’s not winning.”

+ Today’s most obvious example of authoritarian regimes working together: Russia has hit Ukraine with a wave of attacks, dive-bombing the capital, Kyiv, with what appear to be Iranian-made ‘kamikaze’ drones.”

+ For a slightly different view of the problematic trend, Francis Fukuyama argues that the failures of authoritarian states are the big story. The Atlantic: More Proof That This Really Is the End of History. The place he’s still concerned about: America. “Celebrations of the rise of strong states and the decline of liberal democracy are thus very premature. Liberal democracy, precisely because it distributes power and relies on consent of the governed, is in much better shape globally than many people think. Despite recent gains by populist parties in Sweden and Italy, most countries in Europe still enjoy a strong degree of social consensus. The big question mark remains, unfortunately, the United States.”

+ WaPo: Racist GOP appeals heat up in final weeks before midterms. “As the campaign heats up in the final weeks before November’s midterm elections, so have overt appeals to racial animus and resentment. And the toxic remarks appear to be receiving less pushback from Republicans than in past years, suggesting that some candidates in the first post-Trump election cycle have been influenced by the ex-president’s norm-breaking example.” (Racism is hardly norm-breaking. And here’s the important part. Politicians wouldn’t be selling hate, fear, and racism if there weren’t a whole lot of receptive buyers.)