‘After the Fall – A conversation with Ben Rhodes’


Speaker: Ben Rhodes, author, political commentator and former Deputy National Security Advisor to President Barack Obama. Interviewer: Benjamin Novak, The New York Times

Main takeaways

  • Developing autocratic tendencies in the West is a failure of the structures that were supposed to protect liberal
  • In both the Obama and Biden administrations, it was/is generally considered that the EU is in charge of holding Hungary and Poland to account, not the
  • Over the last couple of years, there were some parallels in tendencies between the US and Hungary, it was just on a smaller scale in the latter, and this is why the Ben Rhodes used the country as an example in his book.
  • The US is in hardship with its allies, when it acts as the Trump administration did, which made it somewhat responsible for the surge of autocracies.
  • America should be exemplary in that multi-racial, multi-ethnic democracies can work, it could be a model for the whole international
  • It is too late to exit from this role, otherwise China and Russia will transform the world into their own image.
  • The Hungarian opposition have shown that it is more important to come together than focus on our differences.

Policy recommendations

  • There is a need to rebuild the safeguards of democracy in both Europe and America, before trying to prove others that our model of governance is better than the alternatives.
  • Members of the Hungarian civil society need their voices to be heard more in Washington.
  • Washington should publicize the autocrats’ corruption cases as a tool to fight authoritarianism, it should also show more open support for democratic oppositions.
  • The US should use a humble, not overreaching diplomatic way, when it approaches its democratic allies.