Head of Policy and Research Jessica Brandt led a conversation on democratic competition with autocracies at GMF’s Brussels Forum. She was joined by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin; National Institute for Civil Discourse Executive Director Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer; and Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks.
Over the last seven decades, liberal democracies on both sides of the Atlantic have built a rules-based international order promoting peace, security, and opportunity through cooperation. Today, those liberal democracies face a persistent challenge from authoritarian actors who seek to undermine democracy and reshape global order to their own benefit. This competition is playing out in four, overlapping non-military domains: technology, information, politics, and economics. Democracies have asymmetric advantages in each of these domains that can be exploited to sharpen their competitive edge over authoritarian actors. However, they also face an array of domestic challenges that threaten to undermine their competitive strengths. Experts discussed how the United States and Europe can overcome this authoritarian challenge by protecting and strengthening their democracies, leveraging their strategic advantages, and reframing the contest on their own terms.