Some autocracies are dominated by their militaries, while others hold the generals in check. The key is this: If an autocratic regime did not create its military, it will struggle to control it.
Volume 34, Issue 3
The opposition thought they had Turkey’s autocratic president on the ropes. But Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s brand of authoritarian populism triumphed. A more divisive and repressive chapter will almost surely follow.
When Israel’s new government introduced proposals that threatened the judiciary’s independence, the country erupted in protest. These tensions will not soon end. Likud, once a center-right party, is now as populist as the European far right.
This Arab state is different. It is far more liberal than any other Gulf kingdom, and it may even have a path, with much trial and effort, to becoming the region’s first democratic constitutional monarchy.
Under Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party has wound down local elections and reasserted control in the countryside. But putting these burdens on its own shoulders brings new and significant risks for Beijing.
Democratic capitalism is in crisis. But if we are looking to salvage liberalism’s ideals, we should look to the course set by postwar Germany. It offers powerful lessons for the present.
Behind today’s authoritarian wave are democratically elected leaders who use and abuse institutions to undermine the system that brought them to power. But with the right strategies, opposition forces can slow or stop these would-be autocrats.
People obsess over where Russia’s democracy went wrong. The truth is it did not fail: Russia’s democratic transition never got off the starting blocks.
Symposium: Is India Still a Democracy?
In this symposium, the Journal of Democracy brings together leading scholars of India to perform a biopsy on the state of that country’s fragile democracy, and to offer us a prognosis for its future.
Under Narendra Modi, India is maintaining the trappings of democracy while it increasingly harasses the opposition, attacks minorities, and stifles dissent. It can still reverse course, but the damage is mounting.
To say that Indian democracy is backsliding misunderstands the country’s history and the challenges its faces: A certain authoritarianism is embedded in India’s constitution and political structures.
Since the beginning of the second Modi government, an emboldened BJP has launched a steady, comprehensive, and unprecedented attack on civil liberties, personal rights, and free speech across India.
It is true that politics under the BJP is a break from the past. But attempts to reduce the country’s present condition to democratic backsliding misunderstands the moment and is an injustice to India’s journey as a democracy.
India has a long history of elites acting undemocratically. But the current government’s attacks on the media, arrests of opposition, and discriminatory laws are deeper and more alarming.
A review of Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, by Paul Scharre.
Activist Xu Zhiyong on the Imperative for a Democratic China; Historian Timothy Snyder on “Russophobia”; Fadzayi Mahere on why Zimbabwe is a tragedy; a call for the release of the speaker of Tunisia’s parliament, Rached Ghannouchi; a Burmese student recounts her experience as a strike leader following the 2021 military coup.