Fragile Autocracies

Become a Patron! Fragile Autocracies Many writers (including myself) refer to democracy as fragile. Even the most consolidated democracies face numerous threats from within and without its borders. However, the idea of democracy as fragile gives a false impression of authoritarianism as durable. In reality every regime has numerous internal and external threats to its... Continue Reading →

Faux Democracy

Become a Patron! Faux Democracy "Misappropriation of the word is a testament to democracy's appeal," write Sarah Repucci and Amy Slipowitz in the recent Freedom in the World Report. The current democratic recession is different from those in the past. During previous autocratic waves, opponents of democracy openly attacked democratic governance. Both monarchists and fascists saw... Continue Reading →

Autocracy Today

Become a Patron! Autocracy Today Despite the decline of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism around the world, some things are different. Autocratic regimes today incorporate many democratic institutions. They also follow public opinion closely and even mobilize people to demonstrate genuine support for their policies. Most autocrats even engage in multiparty elections. Some elections... Continue Reading →

The Persistence of Criminal Governance in Mexico

Become a Patron! Criminal Governance in Mexico Yesterday The New York Times highlighted a lack of medical doctors in rural Mexico due to ongoing criminal violence. It describes how "doctors are being kidnapped to tend to gang members wounded in battle" and how medical staff were killed "because they transported enemy cartel members to a hospital."... Continue Reading →

Conspiracy Theories as a Tool of Mass Mobilization

Become a Patron! Conspiracy Theories and Mass Mobilization Karl Lowenstein wrote long ago, "Fascism is not an ideology but a political technique." Totalitarianism is distinct from authoritarianism. Both are undemocratic, but totalitarianism mobilizes the people. It makes them complicit in the assault on democracy. It's difficult to wrap your head around. Authoritarianism, on the other... Continue Reading →

Between Russia and China: Anja Mihr on Central Asia

Anja Mihr is an associate professor of Political Science at the OSCE Academy at Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and the founder and program director of the Center on Governance through Human Rights at the HUMBOLDT-VIADRINA Governance Platform (gGmbH) in Berlin. Recently, she edited the volume Between Peace and Conflict in the East and the West Studies on Transformation... Continue Reading →

Moisés Naím on the New Dynamics of Political Power

Moisés Naím is a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and an internationally syndicated columnist. He served as editor in chief of Foreign Policy, as Venezuela's trade minister, and as executive director of the World Bank. He is the author of The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why... Continue Reading →

Power as Revenge and Redemption

Become a Patron! Putin's Revenge of Power As Vladimir Putin rampages his army through Ukraine, observers do not sense the cold calculation of strategic analysis. Instead, it’s impossible to interpret his behavior as anything less than revenge. He wants revenge from the West for the breakup of the Soviet Union. He wants revenge from Ukraine... Continue Reading →

Why the Armies of Arabia Remain Weak Institutions

Armies of Arabia Early in the book, Armies of Arabia, Zoltan Barany writes, “Perhaps the most important and conspicuous attribute that all Arab armies in republics and monarchies share is their remarkable ineffectiveness on the battlefield.” This is where most of us need to start. Barany seeks to understand why the Gulf monarchies field ineffective... Continue Reading →

Elizabeth Perry and Grzegorz Ekiert on State-Mobilized Movements

Elizabeth Perry and Grzegorz Ekiert join the podcast to discuss their new book Ruling by Other Means: State-Mobilized Movements (coedited with Xiaojun Yan). Elizabeth is the Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government at Harvard University and Director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute. Grzegorz is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Government at Harvard University and Director of... Continue Reading →

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