Mar 30, 2022
"Politics in America, Britain, and other Western nations", reads the blurb for the Edmund Burke Foundation’s National Conservatism series of conferences, "have taken a sharp turn toward nationalism—a commitment to a world of independent nations”. In the US and the UK, this inflection point crystallized in 2016 with the result of the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump. In continental Europe, the torch has been picked up by an arc of national-populist parties, from Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz to Spain’s Vox, Italy’s Fratelli d’Italia and Poland’s Law & Justice Party. The latest such NatCon conference was held last week this side of the pond, in Brussels, bringing together a colorful assortment of right-wing politicians, scholars and journalists at a ritzy venue a short walk away from the seat of EU institutions. Naturally, the gathering had been planned well before Russian troops invaded Ukraine, and the conference had to adjust to a fast-moving news cycle accordingly. The ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war has also predictably shaken up the French presidential race. This week, we sit down with Sebastian Milbank, who covered the NatCon summit extensively for The Critic, to unpack the conference’s main themes and to assess the state of play in France a mere 10 days away from the first-round of voting.
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*Contrary to Jorge's introduction, the Edmund Burke Foundation is based in Washington D.C., not Jerusalem.