Populists are amassing an empire on which the sun never sets. Leaders of their stripe govern as far east as the Philippines and as far west as the US. The European branch now has no less a nation than Britain as its unofficial garrison. When Jair Bolsonaro was elected president of Brazil almost a year ago, several more time zones were folded into the widening realm.

Naturally enough, liberals fear encirclement and subversion by a kind of Popintern, run or at least egged on by Washington, just as the Comintern took orders from Soviet Moscow. The idea of liberalism penned in under an American-led siege is not the Bizarro World plotline it seems. Donald Trump really has been friendlier with strongmen than with more conventional allies. The US president’s former aide Steve Bannon really is working on what he calls a “global populist movement”.

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