Global Insight: The rise of populism

Populism's threats make it an important topic for this weekend’s Foreign Policy School, Professor Robert Patman says.

Researchers from several countries, as well as policy analysts and journalists, will be among the speakers at the 57th annual Foreign Policy School, being held at the University of Otago, this weekend.

The threat of populism made it a nationally and globally significant topic, Prof Patman, who is co-director of the prestigious event, said.

"Populism is a widespread trend and it has some worrying characteristics," he said.

Pointing to populist leaders of recent years, including the United States’ Donald Trump, the United Kingdom’s Boris Johnson and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro, Prof Patman said populism tended to polarize society, disregard truth, was often anti-migrant and could erode a society based on rules and law.

Former US president Donald Trump. Photo: Getty Images
Former US president Donald Trump. Photo: Getty Images
New Zealand was not immune to populism, he said.

"We can learn from others and also be vigilante to ensure we don’t go in a direction that undermines our situation domestically and internationally."

Prof Patman said the Foreign Policy School had a role in preparing New Zealand to play a larger part on the world stage.

"The Foreign Policy School was set up . . . [to help New Zealand] develop a worldview based on Wellington, not on London.

"That’s still the aspiration. We can only take part in international debates, and contribute to rules on such things, if we are well-informed."

Watch the full video below - 


Never miss another Global Insight interview. Subscribe now to receive your fortnightly email alert. Click below.