Liberalism in an Illiberal Region

  By Justin Kempf A review of Quest for Democracy: Liberalism in the Modern Arab World by Line Khatib Liberalism in the Modern Arab World On July 25th, 2021 Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed suspended parliament and dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi. It marked the collapse of the last remaining democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring.... Continue Reading →

What is the Purpose of a Constitution?

by Justin Kempf A review of Anti-Constitutional Populism edited by Martin Krygier, Adam Czarnota, and Wojciech Sadurski and Constitutionalism and a Right to Effective Government? edited by Vicki C. Jackson and Yasmin Dawood. The Purpose of a Constitution Among the most useful resources for those concerned about democracy is found at Constitute. It brings together 202... Continue Reading →

Why Social Revolutions Produce Durable Authoritarianism

Become a Patron! Preorder Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way's Revolution and Dictatorship: The Violent Origins of Durable Authoritarianism here. Revolutions and Durable Authoritarianism Revolutionary governments capture the imagination. Their origins have mythic qualities. Those involved become heroes and villains of epic proportions. Moreover, the regimes they establish frequently survive for generations. Indeed, most of the revolutionary... Continue Reading →

How to Resist Democratic Backsliding

  Become a Patron! Preorder Laura Gamboa's Resisting Backsliding: Opposition Strategies against the Erosion of Democracy here. How to Resist Democratic Backsliding Laura Gamboa makes bold claims in a new book on democratic backsliding. The past few years have seen an explosion in the number of books on democratic decline and breakdown. Scholars have already made... Continue Reading →

Pluralism and its Complications for Democracy

  Become a Patron! Pluralism in Democracy Robert Dahl saw pluralism as a foundation of democracy and a challenge to democracy. The presence of independent organizations represent the freedom of association. They also provide opportunities to decentralize power throughout society. However, the growth of organizations also creates new centers of power that impose their influence... Continue Reading →

Pisano Reimagines Politics in Staging Democracy

Become a Patron! Staging Democracy The distinction between democracy and autocracy has become difficult to ascertain with the proliferation of so many hybrid regimes around the world. Most autocratic regimes hold multiparty elections. Of course, they are neither free nor fair. Nonetheless, they make efforts to demonstrate some form of electoral legitimacy. Moreover, the unfairness... Continue Reading →

Is This Still a Hot Peace?

Become a Patron! Hot Peace Perhaps the book Michael McFaul is most recognized for is From Cold War to Hot Peace. It's his personal memoir from his time as the American ambassador to Russia. But like I said on the podcast it also provides a chronicle of US-Russo relations during a time of transition. McFaul begins... Continue Reading →

Power and Purpose Nearly Twenty Years Later

Become a Patron! Power and Purpose In the recent interview with Michael McFaul and Robert Person, we mention two different books written by Michael McFaul. It's likely you have read his most recent book From Cold War to Hot Peace. But we also mention an older book called Power and Purpose. McFaul coauthored this book with James... Continue Reading →

Corruption is Transnational

Become a Patron! Central Asia and Transnational Corruption A theme of the podcast has become the blurred line between national and international politics. Ronald Deibert explained how autocrats use technology to repress opponents even after they flee their country. A few years ago Christopher Walker coined the term sharp power. Walker writes sharp power "involves... Continue Reading →

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