Nationalist Authoritarianism and the Future of Democracy

Nationalist Authoritarianism and the Future of Democracy

Thursday, September 30, 2021
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Bechtel Conference Center
Encina Hall, First floor, Central, S150
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305
  • Ben Rhodes | Writer, political commentator, and national security analyst

For Fall Quarter 2021, FSI will be hosting hybrid events. Many events will be open to the public online via Zoom, and limited-capacity in-person attendance for Stanford affiliates may be available in accordance with Stanford’s health and safety guidelines.

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                                                           (Open to all)                                                                    (Stanford affiliates only)              

Why is democracy so threatened in America and around the world? And what can we do about it? Join Ben Rhodes to explore the answers to these questions and discuss his recent book, After the Fall.

Ben Rhodes

In 2017, as Ben Rhodes was helping Barack Obama begin his next chapter, the legacy they had worked to build for eight years was being taken apart. To understand what was happening in America, Rhodes decided to look outward. Over the next three years, he traveled to dozens of countries, meeting with politicians, activists, and dissidents confronting the same nationalism and authoritarianism that was tearing America apart. Part memoir and part reportage, After the Fall investigates how much America’s fingerprints are on a world we helped to shape, through our post–Cold War embrace of unbridled capitalism and our post-9/11 nationalism and militarism; our mania for technology and social media; and the racism that fueled the backlash to America’s first Black president. At the same time, Rhodes learns from stories of a diverse set of characters—from Barack Obama himself to Cuban rebels to a rising generation of international leaders—that looking squarely at where America has gone wrong makes clear how essential it is to fight for what America is supposed to be, for our own country and the entire world.

Ben Rhodes is a writer, political commentator, and national security analyst. He is currently a contributor for NBC News and MSNBC; co-host of Pod Save the World; a senior advisor to former President Barack Obama; and chair of National Security Action, which he co-founded with Jake Sullivan in 2018. From 2009-2017, Ben served as a Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama. In that capacity, he participated in all of President Obama’s key decisions, and oversaw the President’s national security communications, speechwriting, and public diplomacy.

Writer, political commentator, and national security analyst