Region: Multiregional

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April 2021, Volume 32, Issue 2

Why the Future Is Democratic

The swelling pessimism about democracy’s future is unwarranted. Values focused on human freedom are spreading throughout the world, and suggest that the future of self-government is actually quite bright.

October 2020, Volume 31, Issue 4

The Authoritarian Assault on Knowledge

Universities, publishers, and other knowledge-sector institutions face increasingly sophisticated authoritarian efforts to quash critics and subvert independent inquiry.

October 2020, Volume 31, Issue 4

China’s Message Machine

The People’s Republic of China uses massive amounts of propaganda to influence how it is perceived beyond its borders. “Big data” reveal how that image is carefully and deliberately shaped for different audiences in different places.

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July 2020, Volume 31, Issue 3

China’s Pandemic Power Play

President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to seize new ground and promote China’s global influence. But their assertive, strong-arm tactics are born from fear and restless insecurity.

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April 2019, Volume 30, Issue 2

Weaponizing Interpol

Globalized authoritarian regimes are increasingly abusing Interpol’s notice system to go after political opponents based abroad. These regimes seek not only to punish their critics, but also to legitimate their own acts of repression.

April 2019, Volume 30, Issue 2

Populists in Power

The historical record since 1945 gives us a picture of how populists operate once they hold political power. The record shows that populism is inimical to liberal democracy, and not a corrective to some of its failings.

October 2018, Volume 29, Issue 4

Liberal Democracy’s Crisis of Confidence

Public-opinion data from Pew Research Center show that global support for representative democracy is widespread, but often thin. Amid rising economic anxiety, cultural unease, and political frustration, citizens are increasingly open to alternative systems of government.

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October 2018, Volume 29, Issue 4

Understanding Authoritarian Regionalism

Taking advantage of broad global respect for regionalism, authoritarian regimes are using their own regional organizations to bolster fellow autocracies. These groupings offer a mechanism for lending legitimacy, redistributing resources, and insulating members from democratic influences.

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January 2018, Volume 29, Issue 1

Fighting Terrorism: The Democracy Advantage

Despite worries that terror groups can turn open societies’ very openness against them, the numbers reveal that liberal democracies enjoy significant advantages in resisting the threat of terrorism. 

January 2018, Volume 29, Issue 1

News and Notes

Fourteenth Annual Lipset Lecture; Conferences on Democracy; Zagreb Youth Summit; IDEA Report on Democracy; Venezuelan Opposition Honored; NDI Democracy Dinner; NED's International Forum

October 2017, Volume 28, Issue 4

Liberal Democracy’s Fading Allure

Is liberal democracy the only suitable type of government for a strong, modern society? A quarter-century ago, the answer seemed to be a clear yes. But today the picture is much cloudier.

April 2017, Volume 28, Issue 2

The Modernization Trap

Populist nationalism is emerging as the main competitor to liberal democracy. But despite its current resurgence, in the long run, like other illiberal paths to modernity, it is likely to prove a dead end.

April 2017, Volume 28, Issue 2

News and Notes

Oswaldo Payá Award; Democratic Deconsolidation: An Exchange; Yazidi Activists Honored; Human-Rights Summit; Remembering U Ko Ni (1953–2017); NED’s International Forum

January 2017, Volume 28, Issue 1

Violence Against Women in Politics

The use of force and intimidation against women trying to take part in politics is a growing problem in many places. Such violence assumes a number of different forms, but all aim to keep women as women out of public life.

October 2016, Volume 27, Issue 4

When Dictators Die

What political consequences can we expect when aging dictators die while in power? A fifth of the world’s autocracies are facing such a possibility, but the evidence shows that this may not augur well for democracy.

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October 2015, Volume 26, Issue 4

The Rise of the World’s Poorest Countries

Widely believed to be hopelessly mired in poverty, stagnation, and dictatorship, the developing world has in fact been making steady progress for over two decades in health, education, income, and conflict reduction, along with democracy.

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October 2014, Volume 25, Issue 4

From Politics to Protest

The protests that have been erupting around the world may signal the twilight of both the idea of revolution and the notion of political reformism.

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July 2014, Volume 25, Issue 3

Gay Rights: Why Democracy Matters

The year 2013 featured unprecedented strides for gay rights in some parts of the world, particularly in Western Europe and the Americas, but also startling setbacks elsewhere, as in Russia and some countries in Africa.

April 2014, Volume 25, Issue 2

The Freedom House Survey for 2013: The Democratic Leadership Gap

Civil-liberties scores have notably declined over the past several years, while political-rights scores have slightly improved—perhaps because modern authoritarians have begun to adopt subtler means of repression. Overall, however, freedom experienced a global decline for the eighth straight year in 2013.

January 2014, Volume 25, Issue 1

The Crisis of Liberalism

Liberalism as a governing order is barely two centuries old. A response to the great alternatives presented by Europe’s political history, it represents a unique synthesis of the ancient and the modern. But globalization has cast a deep shadow across liberalism’s future.

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April 2013, Volume 24, Issue 2

Islamists and Democracy: Cautions from Pakistan

It is easy for Islamists to accept the democratic principle of majority rule when it results in their being elected to power. But the experience of Pakistan warns us that efforts to “Islamize” laws and public life may be hard to reverse even if Islamists are voted out of office.

April 2013, Volume 24, Issue 2

Armies and Revolutions

A key factor in determining the success or failure of revolutions is how the national armed forces react. What are the keys to making accurate predictions about what the soldiers will do when the fate of a regime hangs in the balance?

July 2012, Volume 23, Issue 3

Turkey and Thailand: Unlikely Twins

Turkey and Thailand, two countries at different corners of the Asian landmass, appear at first glance to be an odd couple, but a closer look at their respective political situations reveals surprising parallels.

April 2012, Volume 23, Issue 2

Ballots, Bullets, and the Bottom Billion

Does recourse to the ballot box spur violence and instability in the world’s poorest countries? Despite the worries of modernization theorists such as Paul Collier, the evidence indicates that, over time, elections are not associated with higher levels of political violence.

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April 2011, Volume 22, Issue 2

Liberation Technology: Whither Internet Control?

Paradoxically, the rising profile of “liberation technology” may push Internet-control efforts into nontechnological areas—imprisonment rather than censorship, for example—for which there is no easy technical “fix.”

April 2011, Volume 22, Issue 2

FOI Laws Around the World

Are laws guaranteeing citizens freedom of access to public information (FOI laws) among the most important democratic innovations of the last century?

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July 2010, Volume 21, Issue 3

Liberation Technology

The Internet, mobile phones, and other forms of “liberation technology” enable citizens to express opinions, mobilize protests, and expand the horizons of freedom. Autocratic governments are also learning to master these technologies, however. Ultimately, the contest between democrats and autocrats will depend not just on technology, but on political organization and strategy.

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April 2010, Volume 21, Issue 2

Democracy and Deep Divides

How do democracies deal with the deep divisions created by race, ethnicity, religion, and language? The cases of Canada, India, and the United States show that democratic institutions—notably, competitive elections and independent judiciaries—can bridge divides and build stability, but they must find a way to manage the tension between individual and group equality.

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April 2010, Volume 21, Issue 2

The Ex-Presidents

What makes elected leaders step down at the appointed hour, and what do they have to look forward to once their terms end? A look at the political afterlives of world leaders tells us that the future prospects of presidents and premiers may well affect their behavior while in office.

April 2010, Volume 21, Issue 2

What Makes Legislatures Strong?

A review of The Handbook of National Legislatures: A Global Survey by M. Steven Fish and Matthew Kroenig, and Legislative Power in Emerging African Democracies edited by Joel D. Barkan.

July 2003, Volume 14, Issue 3

After the Shooting Stops

A review of "Ending Civil Wars: The Implementation of Peace Agreements" Edited by Stephen John Stedman, Donald Rothchild, and Elizabeth M. Cousens.

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July 1999, Volume 10, Issue 3

Democracy as a Universal Value

In the summer of 1997, I was asked by a leading Japanese newspaper what I thought was the most important thing that had happened in the twentieth century. I found this to be an unusually thought-provoking question, since so many things of gravity have happened over the last hundred years. The European empires, especially the…