Authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China are skillfully puffing themselves up to appear more economically, politically, and militarily powerful than they actually are—in particular, by presenting an outsized image of their ability to influence the politics of other countries. The success of this “authoritarian inflation” is clearly visible in Europe, the United States, and beyond. Distorted perceptions of authoritarian potency damage democratic confidence and help Russia and China to exert real influence, which turn undermines Western values and institutions. If left unchallenged, these false perceptions will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
How Authoritarians Inflate Their Image
Issue Date July 2021
Page Numbers 109-23