How to exploit vulnerability of right-wing populists such as Orbán and Netanyahu

Allegedly the following analysis comes from U.S. embassy officials:

Right-wing populists such as Orbán and Netanyahu thrive on posturing against outside antagonists, using external criticism to bolster their bona fides as strongmen who can stand up to the international community.


Whenever Western countries would publicly pressure Orbán on his policies, he would refashion that pressure into electoral support, leaving his critics with no good options. Stay silent and he would win; speak up and he would also win.

The proposed solution is to move the messaging from outside public pressure to inside, driving wedges in domestic coalition groups to expose inherently extreme groups as oppositional and destructive to coalitions.

In practice, this means strategically targeting policies where Netanyahu is on the wrong side of Israeli public opinion and forcing him to choose between his hard-right partners and the rest of the country.

Publicly being a supporter of what the rest of the country wants to do can put an extremist in relief; sets them on a political island that makes any attempted power grabs and control issues far more easily judged as coming from the island.

Excellent analysis here:

…most Israelis have no desire to mortgage the security of Israel and its indispensable relationship to the United States in favor of some far-flung hilltop settlers in West Bank regions that few Israelis could locate on a map.

That identification of extremists as being apart from the middle is translated into a simple control language: posturing against inside antagonists means hold accountable those who commit extreme acts such as hate-based attacks.

And that is also known as defending representative law and order, using a basic harm principle, which U.S. embassy officials seem to have presented as the kind of domestic coalition that can unseat right-wing populists.

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