Hello. I’m Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, and this is Nine Questions for the World, a special, limited edition podcast series.
It’s based on nine events held at the Council on Foreign Relations over the past year in celebration of our 100th anniversary. In each episode, you’ll hear me in conversation with some of the best thinkers, on some of the biggest topics of our time, as we ask fundamental questions about the century to come.
Richard HAASS: What makes a democracy vulnerable to becoming something else?
Anne APPLEBAUM: I mean, first of all, I should say, I think democracies are always vulnerable to becoming something else. Democracies are fragile.
HAASS: Are we seeing in some ways history reviving?
Margaret MACMILLAN: If history does teach something, I think it is that nothing lasts forever and that the unexpected may happen.
HAASS: Let's do a little bit of demography 101. What is it? Why is it so important?
Nicholas EBERSTADT: Demography slowly but quite unforgivably changes the realm of the possible. Give it a generation and it will change the world.
The Council on Foreign Relations, or CFR, is an independent, non-partisan membership organization. We are dedicated to informing the public about the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries. In other words, we try to explain what’s going on in this big, complex, interconnected world of ours.
The Council was formed after World War I, it was a time in which the world was changing dramatically. As you may have noticed, the world is changing once again, and the century to come is sure to be shaped by new challenges like climate change, the COVID pandemic, and the emergence of powerful rivals, above all China and Russia. Challenges like these call out for thoughtful conversation in response to probing questions.
So, let’s ask them, one by one.