Ever since liberalism emerged in the 18th century, its inevitable conflict with autocracy has helped shape international politics. What James Madison called "the great struggle of the epoch between liberty and despotism" dominated much of the 19th century and most of the 20th, when liberal powers lined up against various forms of autocracy in wars both hot and cold.
Many believed this struggle ended after 1989 with the collapse of communism, the last claimant to "legitimate" autocracy, and was supplanted as the main source of global conflict by ancient religious, ethnic and cultural antipathies, a view seemingly confirmed by Sept. 11, 2001, and the rise of Islamic radicalism.
But the present era may be shaping up as, among other things, yet another round in the conflict between liberalism and autocracy.
nice article but one point the writer misses is that the fight against al-Qaeda is itself a struggle against autocracy for what else is the goal of a pan-Islamic Caliphate than an autocratic political model