Are populist foreign policies doomed to fail?
Are populist foreign policies doomed to fail?
Populist foreign policies pursued recently by President Trump, British Brexiteers, and leaders of other European democracies have produced surprisingly little real policy change. Populist rhetoric generally proves to be incompatible with pursuit of the national interest in a globalized world. On most issues, populist governments choose to break their foreign policy promises in order to stay in office.
Edizione2019 - Globalizzazione nazionalismo e rappresentanza
good morning my name's chris giles i'm the economics editor of the financial times it's my great pleasure this morning to be introducing this session and the guest speaker today andrew moravczyk who is the director of the european union program at princeton university and the professor of politics there too and you'll be speaking on the question why populist foreign policies are doomed to disappoint and for the extremely eagle-eyed among you you'll notice that's a slight different title from the program which is our populist foreign policies doomed to fail so whether we're now slightly moderating our views a little bit this andrew will be able to enlighten us uh in the next 45 minutes or so i don't think i'll be revealing many secrets to tell you that andrew's view will not delight the populists in the audience today nor the wannabe populists but will maybe provide some sucker to those of us and i include myself in this who believe the world is a complex not at a simple place and that broad-based evidence-based policies are a better way to go it's been a mixed week in a meeting a lot of action in foreign policy and where populists have taken control in the world just in the past week there's been a lot of action in the u.s late on thursday we had the president announcing new tariffs on mexico to come in place in alma in 10 days time all to do with immigration on the southern border and whether mexico is sufficiently controlling the flow of migrants from the rest of latin america in my own country in the uk we've seen the fall of a prime minister in the past week on the failure of her brexit policies i think that's a very easy thing to conclude and yet she's likely to be replaced by more populist candidates still and in europe we've had the european elections a week ago which didn't provide the breakthrough for populism that was widely expected but neither did it kill populist parties either so i can't think of a better person here to to help us think through the issues than andrew burapchick apart from his academic his top of the range academic work he's also been a journalist and is the european book review editor at foreign policy but also being a practical policy maker for the european commission the u.s government trade department and south korea and also andrew is a wonderful speaker so i think we're in for a bit of a treat this morning andrew the floor is yours oh thank you very much for uh for having me it's always a pleasure to be here i'm glad to see so many of you here particularly students there in the back um if i were you i would be up hiking in the mountains on a beautiful day like this not hearing about populism i take it the reason so many people are here is because this is a big issue and many people at this conference have spoken about it and i want to make today adding to that a very simple point the simple point is the following that in foreign policy democratic populist policies or right-wing populist policies particularly appear to be unsustainable specifically and i want to be clear i'm speaking about democratic regimes so we're not talking about putin or turkey or any of that but in democratic societies we're talking about foreign policy so we could have an interesting discussion about domestic policy and i think something similar may be true um but i'm going to talk about foreign policy so the argument is that populist leaders fail to implement most of their concrete policies um and in fact they eventually adopt something very much like the policies of the opposition uh or those uh who criticized them that's the basic um puzzle that i want to address the interesting part i think is why why this must happen in my view um now before i get to that one thing right wing nationalists i won't talk about left-wing governments i want to be very precise and focused um and i'm also following cass moody who talked yesterday who relates populism to right-wing governments and fail to implement foreign policy promises so the interesting question is why why must this happen and i'm going to argue that populists are defined by a particular electoral rhetoric which makes some assumptions about foreign policy they have an implicit foreign policy doctrine and when they get into office it turns out that the fundamental principles of that foreign policy doctrine are wrong and they have to adapt they adapt some in some cases they don't get elected at all because of their foreign policy position in other cases they go into coalitions and find uh that other people don't agree with that in other cases they try to implement it and fail and in many cases they end up then ultimately changing their view so this is a particular syndrome that doesn't just occur by chance it must occur and finally in closing i'm going to raise the issue of why nobody seems to notice that populist foreign policies are as we say in english all bark and no bite okay so i want to give one example at the start of what's i think the archetypal case of a populist foreign policy that proves unsustainable which is brexit so i think we can say now that unless policy just spins out of control and um gets made by accident the future uh legal status of of of britain may be inside the european union or outside the european union but it is increasingly likely that the policies that britain pursues will be very similar to the policies it pursues now most of the radical proposals for pulling out of the eu across the board and rearranging britain's policies entirely with other great powers have now fallen by the wayside the reason the parliamentary choice now really is to do nothing or to adopt something like teresa's theresa may's proposal may be something even softer than that there's much less bite to the brexit bark than we would have thought this is referred to as the hotel california effect you can check out any time you like but you can never leave my favorite one actually is the financial times i think it was wolfgang munchow who said brexit has become rhino brexit in name only and what i'm going to argue is that's the point right for these people people like this the best political outcome is to bark but not to bite that for all of them they have a nationalist base that supports the barking but they must rule in alliance with people who are concerned about the pragmatic politics of what actually happens when you try to implement something and those people will not be satisfied unless the policy is watered down that's why most of these people have disappeared from the domestic political scene and even if boris johnson comes back my betting would be he'll find some way to soften brexit i think the same is true for all these other democratic populists instead of going through each case now i'm going to raise issues about them during the talk showing that all of them have watered down what it is they proposed to do so again the basic thesis here is that barking and not biting is the optimal political strategy for a populist once they get into office so they bark in the election they continue to bark when they're in office but they don't bite and that's because barking satisfies the populist base while not biting sacrifice satisfies the popular better informed interest groups and avoids public failure of policies that would call the whole thing into question here's a wonderful cartoon about barking and biting because i thought there might be some students here i put it up because it's actually done by a first-year student at boston university published in the student paper but it's typical of an example of trump barking a lot but actually if you look at u.s policy toward north korea today it's essentially exactly the same policy with exactly the same options as the two previous american administrations faced and his rhetoric is no more credible than that of his opponent now before i go into the details of this analysis let me just make a few caveats first populists do implement some symbolic or incomplete or weak policies some examples are moving the u.s embassy to jerusalem you get a lot of headlines for saying that you're going to move the u.s embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem it has very little practical import calling president macron a hypocrite it may be true uh or not um but it's not a major substantive foreign policy action and somewhat controversially migrant quotas eu migrant quotas unlike eu restrictions on migration external migration we're always a policy designed to apply to only a very small number of migrants only for the initial purpose of checking them it was seen both by proponents and opponents proponents in germany opponents in hungary as a form of political cover for their situation it's not actually a significant policy and never was there are also some policies that populists do implement because everybody supports them again controversially restrictions on migration restrictions on migration are something that every political party in the western world in the entire oecd world implements whatever they say they're doing so the previous italian government was no different than the current italian government in in its external migration policy the previous american government restricted migration very forcibly uh under obama so my view is that that's a um a general policy not something specific to populous and finally of course we can wonder what president trump or somebody else matteo savini would do in a foreign policy crisis we don't know although actually the north korean case is relatively uh reassuring so there are these cases like immigration where you can see here in almost every country there's an extraordinarily large by comparison to other issues support for no increased migration and so that policy is not something distinctively populist but in all other areas where populists make distinctive proposals it's bark and not bite okay so if that's the case why why is this true and this is i think where we really learn something about the essence of populism um so my argument again is that populists have one set of incentives when they talk to voters and another set of incentives when they implement policy they have a foreign policy doctrine that they use rhetorically and then when they implement they're subject to the same constraints as most other people so when speaking to voters what is the distinctive foreign policy doctrine of right-wing populists i think it has two elements the first is that the goals nations seek are based on simple intuitive and consensual goals and these goals are rooted in the values or interests or policy solutions of the nation so populists don't like to think that policy comes out of some complex compromise between different interest groups domestically they think of policy as being clearly derived from simple values that are in the minds of the majority of the population so there's a great deal of consensus at home in this view and there is the opposite internationally that international negotiations are conflictual in the game theoretic sense zero sum and the more determined countries win the bargaining fights over these policies so you can see that in all cases populists pick fights with people about issues because they view those issues as being fundamentally more conflictual than do people of other persuasions so simple intuitive and consensual national goals um why well because po one reason is that populists appeal to goals that are symbolic and general to the nation things like nation sovereignty interdependence identity um but some populists also make arguments about the material world that imply all domestic actors should be on the same side for example when trump says we want higher trade surpluses or less migration he makes this argument in terms of the nation as a whole not saying it's good for these people are not good for those people or anything like that and these solutions are in the eyes of populists as they sell them to voters simple and intuitive simple solutions to simple problems that track simple goals you close the borders you leave the eu you you pull out of nato those are typical solutions of this school so here's some examples think about how the brexiteers talk about brexit they don't say well on balance we think this will be beneficial for us they use rhetoric like we need to be a fully independent self-governing country we need to take back proper democratic control and these rhetorical appeals translate directly into voting on the part of individuals so if we look at polls about why voters voted the way they did something like defending sovereignty the principle that decisions about the uk should be taken in the uk is the most strongest reason defended by brexit voters the strongest reason dependent defended by leave voters for voting as they did right a simple ideal not a calculation of interest similarly with controls over border and immigration and the brexit solution is simple just leave brexit is brexit right so the appeal of this ideology electorally is that it is a simple set of solutions to problems that are supposed to appeal to all of us um you can see this also in france um here we have some quotations from marina penn i'm sorry about leaving them in french but you can see that the rhetoric is the same although more french that she views the world as nations united by a single culture people pursue goals they've pursued for centuries that are culturally unified um and therefore people defend the liberty to defend this identity as against these international organizations that lack these qualities and that do terrible things like speaking english so this is an appeal again a simple appeal to a simple general value trump has the same kind of rhetorical appeal he says every american should support making america great again like who can oppose making america great again every american ought to get behind that um and he tends to formulate goals as i said before in this zero-sum um but also unified domestic manner um so that's the first element uh then the second element of the populist appeal is that international politics is conflictual it's hostile it's zero-sum why because in the world those values like nation and history and culture are distinct to individual countries they necessarily conflict the purpose of the nation is to defend those values and in the uh because there's no common ground between different values or between zero some material interests it's the more determined parties that prevail in these kinds of conflicts so the populist appeal is very much that in this conflictual world we care more about this so we're going to defend you and again brexit is a great example you can see the rhetoric is so zero-sum one person favors britain one person favors europe um the alternative is subservience and people are always quoting winston churchill so here's one lesson for you from this talk when politicians quote winston churchill they're in trouble and you're in trouble because winston churchill is exactly this kind of thinker right somebody who was wrong about almost everything in his political career until he got to world war ii when these kind of populist notions the united nation faces a conflictual situation with others arises it's almost never true in the modern world george bush was reading winston churchill before he went into iraq always a dangerous sign um so what is the response of the populace because you might ask the populace well if it's a conflictual world what guarantees that we're going to win in this conflict and the populist answer is we care more about it we're determined to win we will bargain harder we and um this is exactly uh the appeal that the brexiteers made in britain yeah it's difficult to do this but we're tough we're going to do it and marine le pen again has a more sophisticated version of the same rhetoric um but um she argues uh that the uh real values in the international system are not the common values not universalism of of uh human rights values or something like that they're the individual cultures of individual nations and places like the imf or elsewhere don't share this culture and therefore france has to defend itself so she wants to increase french defense spending by 50 percent and she says if we are determined to do this if the french leaders are brave then we can defend french interests anywhere in the world all we need is the will right so that's the appeal that's the electoral appeal when you hear about them in elections that's what you get so what happens when they need to implement policy it turns out that neither of these things are true when you implement policy the nation is never united there are always lots of compromises between different interests that have a say and when you implement policy you have to deal with other countries and no matter how weak those other countries are you are interdependent with them in a way that means you can never get a hundred percent solution that you oppose on them even if you are donald trump leading the united states and so by the force of uh events populists are time and time again forced to backtrack so let's see how this works first domestic politics is pluralist not consensual there are lots of different interests so what happens to right wingers first they almost never get elected when they do get elected they have to go into a coalition and the coalition waters down their view and even when they rule the whole country then they end up being constrained by their external environment that it really isn't the interest of the country to pursue these policies the first example of not being elected is marine le pen the second example of coalitions is a place like austria or currently italy and the third example is a place like hungary or trump so i'll go through these first of all right-wing populists are smaller than you think um they aren't really a governing majority a real majority anywhere except hungary and that's under pretty suspicious circumstances often they can't get into office at all a good example is marine le pen i counted it because i'm a social scientist there were over 10 000 articles published in the english language press on the potential election of marine le pen to be president of france in the one month before the french election marine le pen was a person who could never zero percent probability be elected for president of france she was beaten double digits in the polls by everybody she could possibly have run against and she lost two to one right but nonetheless we're told over and over again this is a real threat ukip and the bnp have never held significant domestic office they can only win in a foe election like the european parliamentary elections we can talk about that later ifd has no power in germany the dutch right is excluded uh and so on so populists really struggle to even get the political power in most places to have any impact at all look at marine le pen it's not just that she lost two to one but look at the power of the of their assembly nacional in france it's tiny actually the european parliamentary elections are atypically strong showing for them and they only got about 25 percent um this is not a powerful political movement that's easily going to govern on its own same thing in the european parliamentary elections everybody talked about the decline of the social democrats and the people's party but if you look at all the pro-european parties which is the line there it's almost exactly the same as it was before and if you actually look more closely at what happened up here there's a slight increase in the number of strongly anti-european parties euro skeptical right-wing parties but most of that is due to british conservatives who were euroskeptic being kicked out and replaced by brexit party people so in fact the numbers are misleading the change is very small and these people don't have anywhere close to a majority uh in europe what's the result the result is they start to change their views look at marine le pen in 2004 to 2006 she favored a frexit and she wanted to pull out of the euro in 2017 when she was running for president she was very ambivalent it was very hard to figure out exactly what her policy was lots of barking not much policy and now she's formally renounced leaving europe and the euro why because the structure of politics forces her to do it she has to go toward the middle if she wants to get elected and for these reasons and because of the obvious failure of brexit we no longer hear about the spread of these radically anti-european policies a country like hungary never has mentioned it and other countries have stopped doing so and in any case all these populists have different specific concerns on which they don't agree so we're not going to see a great spread of these policies over time because it is hard for these people to get elected if they hold these views and therefore they moderate them then there's uh the case of coalitions so suppose you do get elected in a country like suppose you're the uh freedom party in austria what happens to you you get destroyed so um in 2007 2000 to 2007 and in the recent government there's been a coalition party in austria as we all know containing radical right people and what did the government do it pursued pro-european policies it pursued a successful european presidency in both cases and it pursue and it weakened the extremists in both cases these are the most recent european parliament results and you can see the fp fp is you know your standard vote total for a right-wing populist group in central europe somewhere between 15 and 20 um the only salient political policy issue on which they've had serious impact is migration and as i said before their view is mainstream i had this strange experience recently of sitting at lunch alone with sebastian kurtz the head of the austrian government in montana one of these weird conference experiences nobody knew who he was and so i sat to him talk to him for an hour and the first question of course was what's it like to rule with the far right and he said not a problem he said they want some positions in various ministries they want some control over the police they want our migration policy to change which i support and otherwise i said to them you take that and i'll run the policy thank you very much and the result is that you get a pro-european policy then there's a case of hungary suppose you get elected and you have a majority so we should see orban doing all this wonderful anti-european stuff but does he hungry has taken a cooperative position on almost all eu and nato issues of course they don't talk that way and they often send out a press release saying they're doing differently um and they're these little issues you know are there russians spying there what about ukraine and the hungarians and so on and so forth but on the big issues they back down and orbon is a genius you have to give him credit for that he is a genius at picking an insignificant issue like migrant quotas and making it a big deal by running a referendum on it um in fact the issue didn't matter much hiding the fact that he's totally supporting the european position on the important issue which is restrictions on migration from outside whether we like that policy or not that is the european consensual policy and orban is 100 behind it he's also behind the assistance to africa to support it even though he says he's not so um these people are playing this bark and bike game very skillfully now let me say i'm not supporting the populists as chris said i think what's going on in hungary and domestic politics is a bad thing i have relatives there it's an important issue for me but facts are fact and on foreign policy uh hungary is not behaving particularly badly um so then we have the issue of interstate politics so you have first the problem that it's not really in the interest of the countries of that elect populist governments to engage in highly conflictual behavior internationally but they also lacked the capability to actually achieve those goals even if they wanted to this is the story of brexit right it starts with the simple fact that britain didn't really have an interest in pulling out of most of the eu common policies he just wanted to change some of them notably migration most of the other ones it proposed and would have been happy to just accept the status quo almost uh across the board that's because it's highly interdependent with europe and there is no alternative um so that's what we talked about before but suppose britain really wanted to bargain hard suppose you're a true believer in brexit and you think okay let's have an independent trade policy let's sign deals with people let's do things completely differently this option is totally non-credible it's crazy to think that you're going to get a better deal negotiating with india or china or russia the wto or donald trump than you will with europe and in fact it's impossible to realize in anything like real time trade negotiations take uh decades and the even on individual issues britain lacks the bargaining power to achieve what it wants to achieve bargaining power in international trade negotiations in the simplest possible model are a function of the percentage of gdp that you export um and britain is far more trade dependent on europe far more investment dependent than europe is on it so britain's negotiating position was from the start going to be weak and that's what it proved to be which is why the history of brexit over two years is a history of british concessions um so what did the british do they bluff they say well we really are determined we really are determined we're really going to be tough um i love david davis's kind of ambivalent way of expressing this if you go to buy a house and you tell the person you're buying from it's the only house i'm going to buy does the price go up or down of course we have options open it's only sensible but does he really have options open or did he just say he has options open i think what we've seen in the last two and a half years is the brexiteers talk as if they have options but they can never pull the trigger on those options because they don't exist um one other small point about this which is it's not just the fact that britain lacks the interest and the power to negotiate um a brexit that would be favorable to the hard brexit point of view it lacks the capacity the technical capacity what people forget about international organizations is that they are designed to manage that complexity by creating simple rules that all countries follow so they don't have to constantly renegotiate hundreds of thousands of regulations so a conservative estimate of the number of eu directives regulations and rules implemented by the uk parliament is 35 000. i think that's almost an order of magnitude low actually but even that number is so large that you can't imagine britain renegotiating rethinking rewriting all that stuff in a short period of time even more in the wto and and then britain would have to renegotiate that with every country in the world because many agreements particularly on services are now country specific so you imagine you're talking about potentially millions of negotiations and the purpose of international organizations like the eu and the wto is to is to reduce that complexity britain had benefited from that which is why was reported in the financial times that britain only had 10 active trade negotiators at the time of brexit because you didn't need them you were subject to a rural government international system you pull out you need to have people capable of negotiating a million agreements with the rest of the world and that's not a feasible technical uh goal um when david davies was asked about this winston churchill reared his ugly head again if our country can deal with world war ii it can deal with this he was actually talking about the logistics of managing this but comparisons of brexit to world war ii are silly um precisely because um uh the the gains from doing so are are less um so if we were to add all that up in brexit you know you you would see that britain doesn't really have an interest in pulling out that the electoral rhetoric doesn't match the um implementation rhetoric that britain starts um by making a populist pitch that all we want is sovereignty independence democracy but when you implement what you want is a million agreements of a certain kind that's a very different politics and a very different task and one that the populists are not particularly good at delivering even if they were they tell you we're going to get what you want because we're tough we're determined but in real international politics how much power you have depends on your interdependence relationships and how much you value them or what political scientists call asymmetrical interdependence um and um so britain ends up with a cooperative solution and finally populists tell you it's simple but when you actually realize it it turns out to be very complex let me before i conclude talk about trump so you might say okay maybe orbon hasn't do much maybe salvini hasn't done much yet maybe the brexit thing was mismanaged but trump trump's an important guy right well he's more important he can do more because his country is more powerful and because the presidency of the united states is a powerful office so the two constraints i talked about domestic politics and international politics are lessened a little bit but the truth is when you look at trump's foreign policy it's remarkably um ineffectual so um there are two things that he has really done that matter a lot tariffs on chinese goods although those are bargaining tariffs so supposedly they're supposed to go away at some point in iran sanctions though that was a policy supported even before the election by the republican congress but still you can argue another president would not have done as he did there those are important things but what else is there actually so when you look at these other policies most of them are pretty insignificant they're symbolic things like pulling out of the paris accord for the united states the paris accord meant nothing because they didn't commit the united states to do anything and the congress signed it in that way and the process doesn't commit the united states to do anything most of the action in the united states is at the state and local level anyway and they're still involved moving the israeli embassy as i said the announcement about the golan heights being part of israel and so on then there are policies that are just more or less the same our policy toward north korea as i said toward saudi arabia trade agreements very interesting look at the nafta agreement or the renegotiation of nafta which might never be ratified anyway and the agreement with korea trump talked about these trade agreements as if they were the biggest problem facing the united states but when you read the text the changes are very small cuba afghanistan this was the issue trump most cared about he wanted to pull the united states out of afghanistan for seven months he fought in the white house to try to get that view achieved and then in the late august i think august 23rd 24th of his first year in office a date that is probably the date in the year where the least number of people are watching television or reading the news trump gave a speech and he said well you know and this is my favorite trump quote things look very different when you're inside the oval office as president so i guess we're going to increase our troop presence in afghanistan you know and why because i think he feared the embarrassing outcome that might happen if he pulled out and what's more did so over pentagon objections syria where of all people john bolton the crazy man of american politic foreign policy had to walk back trump's statements pulling out of japan south korea nato what about all those threats about nato if they don't spend more money gone right so most of this stuff is just fake and trump is politically savvy to focus on domestic policies the treatment of migrants at home maybe building a wall on the border or tax cutting that he can control with the help of the republican party all right final point then i'm done if i'm right if this analysis is right and populous in foreign policy are all bark and no bite why does everybody think the opposite why is there all this talk about the decline of the global legal uh liberal order and so on and i think that's because in the public debate nobody has an incentive to say the emperor has no clothes okay who are these people who are conspiring or anyway colluding to um to disguise the fact that populism is very ineffective at pursuing foreign policy okay first of all both populist politicians and their opponents obviously populists want to talk as if they're effective but interestingly so do their opponents i'm sure many of you are skeptical of populist views and you'll probably be the first pers people to stand up and criticize what i'm saying right here and right now that's what happens in the united states my most vicious critics are are my fellow people on the democratic side who say you're making light of trump you're making it seem as if trump isn't important i'm just stating the facts in foreign policy with the exception of the chinese tariffs and iran hasn't done much journalists commentators and policy analysts trump salvini orban brexit are irresistible stories just like i said with marine le pen all those stories about her becoming president of france when she couldn't this story writes itself it sells newspapers cnn has changed its position politically as a function of this uh story so it's impossible for journalists and commentators to resist this uh and the result is we hear day in and day out if we're newspaper readers that this is the issue finally scholars i'm ashamed to say my own profession people want to be part of the game with the quasi exception of cast muta who talked earlier in this session who sometimes hints at a bit of skepticism uh about how much populous actually achieve um or how bad it is but even so most people uniformly in my academic community uh treat it as important let me give you one example and then i'll stop um the golan heights announcement you'll remember president trump announced to try to help benjamin netanyahu get re-elected that the united states now supported the israel annexing the golan heights from syria so when the new york times runs the story this is what you see on the front page trump reverses core policy tenant on golan heights the paper lands on my table in the morning and i thought oh no you know there's an example that disproves my hypothesis right i thought well that's a really important policy but then you look more closely and compare the headline to what's down here in paragraph five of the story what's in paragraph five in paragraph five it says as a practical matter mr trump's announcement changes little there's no negotiation underway under the status of golan heights nor any expectation that israel is going to withdraw from it the united states could veto any united states security council resolution condemning the move anyway that is typical of journalistic coverage of populists so whatever your political position is i think that when we analyze this uh we should think of populists as being all bark and no bite on foreign policy i know you many of you disagree with this so i look forward to your comments thank you well thank you very much andrew for that very stimulating and also at times provocative talk i'm sure there will be lots of comments and questions in the audience we've got about 20 to 25 minutes um and so i'm open to if you raise your hand uh then i'll take some questions yes a gentleman in the about fifth row over there if you could wait for the mic as well please thank you uh thank you it's always fascinating to listen to andrew arctic presentations and it was somehow reassuring in a way but there is an element that i'm afraid was missing in the presentation and the reason element of disagreement and it is the following you didn't touch about the very strong capacity of populist forces to shape the political agenda they may not be influential in service in the implementation but they have a tremendous capacity to drive the political agenda this is extremely dangerous in my view i tell you two uh examples of this the first one is about the one you mentioned about migration if there is strong consensus in european politics on migration it is precisely because of the very strong capacity of popular forces to drive the agenda in that topic the second example is about the capacity also in the last european elections to reshape the political debate from what used to be the left and right uh cleavage and so discussions on social inequality uh or other issues concerning social justice to other topics and in particular it changed the coordinates in the direction of a conflict between the europeanist forces and the populist forces which changes in the way the game thank you should i answer this uh very good question um you know when people talk about the power of populists to shape the public debate the example they always use is the one you used migration but the reason populists can shape that issue is because it's generally an issue of concern for example british people were polled for the last 17 years and in every year except the year of the brexit referendum itself when asked what foreign policy issue do you care about most they said migration and when they said what do you want to do about it they said less right the public opinion numbers i showed here are extraordinarily stable across every kind of country countries that have active populist parties countries that don't they've been stable for decades right so in political science you distinguish between issues that are underlying salient cleavage issues that are that seem to be fixed in the population no matter what the institutions or the parties and issues that can be manipulated by politicians because public views are not set or not strong and so i think it's far-fetched given the uniformity of the view in any kind of a situation that um to to simply blame views on migration on populist parties the populist parties are able to do that because they have a political opportunity to do that because other parties um tried to suppress the issue but in but in the end that issue bubbled up that was a political opportunity that was was was there so to put it another way my interpretation is that migration helps cause the populace uh rise not vice versa and it creates a political opportunity now i agree that political opportunity is quite symbolic in some ways as well as being practical so it's not as if it's always the people who are most hurt in their wages or something by migration who are those who who speak up but still the issue doesn't get created by a policy party it pre-exi by a populist party it pre-exists them um but that's an important empirical debate people could have but i think the evidence pretty strongly supports that um across the board um and um we'll see what happens with the recent elections so um my sense is that the uh focus of debate will not be pro-european anti-european because the anti-europeans will be excluded from the from the ruling group anyway in the european parliament as they have been since always um but instead uh what will happen is you'll have a much more fine-grained debate between the traditional parties in the european parliament the people's parties and the social democrats and liberals and greens including el marsh about what the policies are that the european union should propose some of them may fall into a right left cleavage some of them may fall on a on a different kind of cleavage say the environment but still it seems to me unlikely that the european parliament could or would profitably have any more debate about this than it's had before because actually the total strength of the anti-european forces is is not appreciably different than it was previously so there's a certain amount of headline making uh uh events in the european parliament uh on that cleavage but the rest of it is business as usual okay uh other questions the woman right at the back who's standing up hi professor marczyk i'm katerina paulucci from james madison university in florence so you of course your lecture was about the foreign policies of the populist parties but what about the national policies the internal policies and don't you think that those could eventually trickle down onto the international sphere as well so in other words do the populists have any impact on national politics and would this not impact on the global sphere for instance the fact that now there is a legitimation in a way of nationalist talk there is no sanction anymore on nationalism on sovranismo on these kinds of concepts and ideologies would that not lead to an international arena that is more conflictual where everybody fights for themselves instead then cooperation so aren't we moving from a very cooperative kind of dialogue internationally to a more conflictual and does discourse not influence than politics you think that you seem to think that these are two separate spheres the one of discourse and the one of real facts but do these not have anything to do with each other so i see that as two good questions one is whether domestic politics affects international politics the other is where the discourse affects action so um on domestic politics i think there are some issues that countries pursue notably how they treat foreign nationals within their jurisdiction which um which do spill over and uh i think as with all governments some of the decisions that a populist government would make um say increasing defense spending in the united states might have an effect internationally though interestingly that's not a populist policy that's a republican policy trump we should remember was opposed to increasing defense spending it's the republicans that want to increase it and every republican administration wants to do that um on your second question i'm actually a skeptic about this um lots of people who work in the international community think of the discourse the the the feeling in the room of diplomats is affecting a lot of things i think less so and i think the discourse changes remarkably quickly let me give you one example in general republicans are far less well uh positively viewed by the rest of the world than democrats in the united states so the numbers of people critical of trump internationally it's about 70 percent exactly the same numbers as for bush what's interesting is when a democrat gets elected boom in a month they switch and if you ask yourself what happens in those eight years when the republican is in office the answer is the republicans moderate to the international system not the reverse so if you look at the second bush administration first bush administration starts the iraq war does all this stuff second bush administration cozies up to europe uh behaves much more uh soundly so i think that um in fact the force of events particularly the need to manage complicated issues slowly forces countries toward this convergent policy which was the source which was the theme of my talk and i think that um people's rhetoric simply adjusts to that i actually think that the political world is remarkably orwellian we are capable of changing our beliefs amazingly quickly about about about some of these issues and people do it because the force of events pushes them that way you might think that that's a naively soberly um almost technocratic view of the world it's not it's very political i think many of these issues are not the optimal technocratic policy they're political compromises but they have a tremendous force and that's what you see in the case of something like brexit where no matter how much you talk about it you can't change the facts on the ground okay there's a woman on the other side do you want a with a red with a red top one thank you for your presentation professor morafchik i'm a political theorist and i work on foreign policy as a state's agency so i i have a doubt regarding your account of how framing is important for proposing political foreign policy views and i'm thinking why are the others not able to frame in a simple manner uh foreign policy issues and there's another question which is linked to it and which makes me think that in general middle size powers have lost this capacity of doing an effective foreign policy so how can we always think that not acting in foreign policy when other governments non-populist governments are in power really then gives us the resources to fight something on people who are capable of doing this very simple and fascinating messages i mean if everything is simple everybody's voting for simpleness thanks um so i think that one way to talk about the the politics the the politics of the discourse um consistent with my view is if you ask why the left-wing parties or the the non-populist parties have had difficulty matching um right-wing populist rhetoric so both all political parties are limited they face a tension tension between appealing to the voters as a whole and appealing to their base and um the the parties that on the moderate side have been limited by two things they're afraid to criticize migration even though everybody supports restrictions on migration and even though they implement restrictions on migration so whatever else you think about savini he's totally right about macron which is macron says that savini's being outlandish and what he's saying but also restricts migration just as tough all you need to do is go to the italian french border and look at the cops on the other side who beat people up who cross and you know that this is true right so but he's not in a position to take credit for that with the result that savini can take credit for all the sleazy deals that were done on the beaches of libya to stop people from coming and the same thing is true with macroeconomic policy macroeconomic policy for a country like italy under the euro is a disaster the euro is not helping it might not be the only factor but it's not helping but uh moderate parties have great deal of difficulty raising that issue because they're pro-european and so they get caught between these two what happens is new parties come in and they are not limited by these um previously held positions and interest groups within them and they take a more position that's better shaped toward the electorate so if i were a moderate party i would try to be more nuanced in my support for europe treat it more as a pragmatic thing and less as an ideal thing and i would i would be willing to say look our job is to provide security for italians and that security involves border security and that's fine and we every government does that and establish your credibility and if you establish your credibility with the voters then five years down the line you can move toward a more sensible migration policy where you're letting people in in a controlled way to help the economy to you know generate whatever goals you want to generate but i think these issues have been mismanaged by other parties but that's precisely because i'm taking the view from the start that these issues exist they aren't just manufactured by people political parties take opportunities on the big issues little issues you can play with but big issues like migration and macroeconomic policy you you as a politician have to adapt to it and i think the existing parties are both limited and um made some bad choices about that you see that also with the british labor party in a hopeless situation trying to figure out what its position should be vis-a-vis brexit when it's pretty obvious as chris mentioned to me that that strategically probably would make more sense to be in favor of a referendum or uh um or or uh or remain i'm i'm just going to abuse my position as chair um very briefly to ask a question myself which is that you've been talking about the sort of force that keeps populist populism in foreign policy in check and is there not sometimes a counterforce which is that the the base of the populist parties will push them in another direction so in the conservative party in my country it's pretty clear that whoever wins the leadership election has to appeal to the the 100 000 or so members by saying that he or she will take an extremely tough measure uh attitude on brexit and while then then the new leader will get will face exactly the same trade-offs as to his amaze faced doesn't it mean that it makes an accident more likely to happen yes i think so i mean i think that the the the tension again is this tension between the the powerful minorities within parties and the party as a whole so what's interesting about the the conservative party is that the parliamentary party doesn't favor the the hard leave position the electorate is ambivalent and uh but the party members are very powerful and it really depends on how your polity is organized the anglo-saxon countries despite their intense pride in their written or unwritten constitutions have terrible systems when it comes to dealing with this because they're majoritarian and so if a small group can capture a party their power is multiplied whereas in a parliamentary system they still have to form coalitions it's much more difficult to impose your view and so i think that you're right the british system should equilibrate it's hard to see how a parliamentary vote could be taken that would support a no deal brexit but the one thing that makes that a chansey proposition is the internal organization of parties um so that is the weak link okay i think we've got time for one or maybe two more questions there's a woman just here and in the fourth row thank you um i have a question that sort of follows on from other people but it would be more about um the actors of international relations and local level implementation you mentioned the paris accords and how sub-national actors do play some role in foreign policy in that sense in its implementation on the ground and i wonder if we see at the same time that populists often do a lot better in local or provincial elections than they do in national elections uh what happens there do we see the same sort of pattern that you've argued about uh moderation through actual holding of office well they tend to do well in local or locally organized elections because locally organized elections are jurisdictionally unrepresentative that is some jurisdictions are over represented but they don't do particularly well in cities um and so and it's really cities where 70 of the people in most countries live that are at the forefront of most of these issues where sub-national actors move forward if particularly if you're viewing that from a progressive standpoint so i think it's it's unlikely we would move to a world where cities would be dominated by by right-wing nationalist populist governments i mean that would be from electoral standpoint an almost impossible lift for people but it's true that in some jurisdictions if you draw a map of a country you know most of the map looks uh the color of populism but that's because you have these enormous empty jurisdictions it's like the united states the western united states i mean there's wyoming yeah okay but you know what matters for climate change policies new york city and san francisco okay one more question if there is any did you yes i think we have the mic down here the front thank you i enjoyed it very much as a british person i certainly agree with you that nigel farage is barking uh leaving that aside uh the uh the essence of your talk uh which certainly encouraged me a great deal is ultimately that even populists are rational and i'd come back slightly to the question that mr giles asked you uh are you really quite so certain that the current leadership of the conservative party is going to take a rational position and that some of the deep identity issues of sovereignty and the historical development of britain under the european community is going to be in a sense push down and the rationality will ultimately prevail and secondly and this is what mr jones was saying you know there is a danger of riding a tiger now that you set off emotions in the mass of the population which are really really difficult to control um i think that populist leaders are rational but not in the sense that you i think are implying that i think they're rational i don't think they're rational technocrats i don't even think they care about um you know what what are the aggregate gnp goes up very few people do in politics despite what economists teach us about what they should think but i think they are politically rational so i wrote a piece in the financial times three months before the referendum predicting that even if the referendum passed brexit would be unsustainable and the argument was based at that time on the presupposition that boris johnson would be prime minister was that he to save his own political skin he was going to have to um make this very calculation that um even if populists don't care about the technocratic rationality of the policy they are good political thinkers a lot of things you can say about matteo salvini but that he he's a good political thinker and boris johnson isn't at the very least an opportunist who can think rationally in the short term and my argument is essentially that the populists do not have the clout to rule alone and their natural allies are people that don't support a lot of this stuff and if they were to implement it despite the opposition of those allies much of it would be disastrous and that would undermine their public support therefore if they can just make a simple political calculation this is where they're going to come out in that sense i think they are rational and i think in fact they're in many ways more rational for the reasons we talked about than their opponents um and it's that political rationality that i'm trusting to limit the populist threat well i think that time is unfortunately up now um that was an extremely stimulative and sometimes provocative uh just over an hour uh with the message that for if people are worried about populism the hope that checks and balances particularly in the international order will moderate the bite of populists if not their bark i would like to thank and i hope we can all thank professor maravczyk very much for a great session thank you very much you