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.

What Is "Sharp Power"?

July 2018

Today’s authoritarians are using “sharp power” to project their influence internationally, with the objective of limiting free expression, spreading confusion, and distorting the political environment within democracies.

The Rise of Kleptocracy: A Challenge for Democracy

January 2018

As explained in the essays that follow, kleptocracy has become a potent threat to the integrity of democracy around the globe.

The Authoritarian Threat: The Hijacking of “Soft Power”

January 2016

Although the leading authoritarian regimes are today integrated in many ways into the global system, they have not become more like the democracies; instead, they have been devising policies and practices aimed at blocking democracy’s advance.

Breaking the News: The Role of State-Run Media

January 2014

“New media” may generate a lot of buzz, but authoritarian regimes are proving disturbingly adept both at counteracting them and at using more traditional media to help themselves hang on to power.

School for Dictators

October 2012

A review of The Dictator’s Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy by William J. Dobson