For more than twenty years, the Journal of Democracy has been a leading voice in the conversation about government by consent and its place in the world. The Journal is published for the National Endowment for Democracy by the Johns Hopkins University Press and is available to subscribers through Project MUSE.
How are foreign kleptocrats using Western institutions to protect their ill-gotten gains? In our seven-article cluster on transnational kleptocracy, analysts examine the rise of offshore finance, Malaysia’s massive 1MDB scandal, how Russia and China compare to the kleptocratic model, and more. In our first complimentary article, Alexander Cooley, John Heathershaw, and J.C. Sharman explore how kleptocrats rely on a web of transnational relationships and Western fixers to safeguard their illicit funds.
Does democracy help or hurt the struggle against terrorism? Amichai Magen explains the “triple democracy advantage” in preventing and responding to terror, while Geoffrey Macdonald and Luke Waggoner argue that rising extremism in Tunisia highlights the importance of managing expectations during democratic transitions.
What went wrong in Burma? Zoltan Barany assesses why high hopes for democratic change in Aung San Suu Kyi’s Burma have faded amid stalled reforms and a brutal military assault on the Rohingya Muslim minority.
Our January-issue contributors also investigate the nature of nativism in Western Europe; the grassroots politics of Timor-Leste’s recent elections; and the surprising impact of presidential-election runoffs in Latin America.
April Issue Sneak Preview
With the February 25 announcement of proposed constitutional changes abolishing term limits on China’s presidency, Xi Jinping has clearly signaled his intention to continue as president after his customary two terms end in 2022. This decision marks the latest stage in an ongoing erosion of the mechanisms put in place by Deng Xiaoping and his colleagues after Mao Zedong’s death to prevent the “overconcentration of power.” Xi has tightened intraparty discipline, and used an anticorruption crackdown to purge his rivals. He has reclaimed certain policy-making authorities for the Communist Party from the state. He has come to be called “Leader,” a title associated with Mao.
After more than thirty years of institutionalized collective leadership, Xi Jinping is taking China back to a personalistic dictatorship. How has Xi accomplished this, and what does it mean for the future of Chinese politics?
For answers to these and more questions, please see Susan Shirk’s article "China in Xi’s ‘New Era’: The Return of Personalistic Rule,” now available here in a special pre-release version. And for more insights on China’s internal changes and its growing global influence, from Canberra to the Czech Republic, don’t miss our full eight-article cluster “China in Xi’s ‘New Era’” in the Journal’s upcoming April issue.
Authoritarianism Goes Global: The Challenge to Democracy
In recent years, as leading authoritarian countries such as China, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela have become emboldened within the global arena, challenging the liberal international political order, the advanced democracies have retreated rather than responding to this threat.
Democracy in Decline?
For almost a decade, Freedom House’s annual survey has highlighted a decline in democracy in most regions of the globe. Some analysts say this shows that the world has entered a "democratic recession." Others dispute that interpretation, emphasizing democracy’s success in maintaining the huge gains it made during the last quarter of the twentieth century.