Vladimir Putin’s reputation as a skillful leader was buoyed by years of economic good fortune. But when his regime faltered, his rule quickly descended into the fearful, repressive, and paranoid state we see today.
Volume 34, Issue 2
There have been numerous waves of protest against the country’s corrupt theocracy. This time is different. It is a movement to reclaim life. Whatever happens, there is no going back.
The regime’s ill-fated policy to eliminate covid from China spurred the largest protests in a generation. It also made Xi Jinping’s challenge of maintaining authoritarian control over Chinese society even harder.
Oppositions in monarchies don’t have to stage revolutions to win freedom: Monarchies are as compatible with democracy as they are with autocracy. The challenge for those who would remove a king is not to fall for the promises of reform that never come.
The staggering global popularity of soccer makes it a prime target for regimes that worry about the negative press they get for their undemocratic practices. The Gulf monarchies have led the way in getting into the wide world of sports as a means of cleaning their image.
Complaining about parties and politicians is common everywhere, but troubled Peru has devolved into a cautionary tale for what a democracy without established parties and professional politicians can look like.
Chilean voters overwhelmingly rejected a draft constitution that did not reflect their values. They have spoken clearly: They want a new charter, not a new country.
The past year offered the brightest picture in almost two decades, as global improvements in freedom nearly equaled global declines. Is democracy poised for a comeback?
The Iraq Invasion at Twenty
Although Saddam fell twenty years ago, the politicians who have come after him still think like Baathists. But a new generation has begun making itself heard. It believes in Iraq as a nation and it understands democracy as more than a source of spoils to be divided among groups.
The global democratic decline of the last two decades is rarely discussed in the same breath with the 2003 decision by the United States and Britain to invade Iraq. But the roots of our present disorder can be traced to that disastrous and foolhardy war of choice.
Iraq today is more of a democracy than most people think, but still less of a democracy than it could be. While its future is uncertain, one thing is not: It will be determined by Iraqis.
A review of Beijing’s Global Media Offensive: China’s Uneven Campaign to Influence Asia and the World by Joshua Kurlantzick.
Zelensky’s speech on the first anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion; “Us–You–Them” by Ukrainian author Haska Shyyan; Belarusian human-rights defender Ales Bialiatski’s Nobel lecture; Activist Lhadon Tethong’s testimony on human-rights abuses against Tibetans in China; Activist Miriam Atahi’s remarks on women-led protests against Taliban rule in Afghanistan.