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Authoritarianism

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a primetime speech at Independence National Historical Park Sept. 1 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a primetime speech at Independence National Historical Park Sept. 1 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

What Does Biden’s Confrontational Speech Mean for U.S. Foreign Policy?

Framing geopolitics in terms of democracy and autocracy won’t necessarily help bring peace.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin

How to Take Down a Tyrant

Three steps for exerting maximum economic pressure on Putin.

Supporters cheer in front of an image of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Supporters cheer in front of an image of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

What’s New About the New Authoritarianism?

Three recent books tackle how threats to democracy have shifted in the 21st century.

A billboard depicting Tunisian President Kais Saied hangs on the side of a building in the east-central city of Kairouan, on July 26.
A billboard depicting Tunisian President Kais Saied hangs on the side of a building in the east-central city of Kairouan, on July 26.

Democracy Fades in the Arab Spring’s Success Story

Few restraints remain for Tunisian strongman Kais Saied after his constitutional referendum passed overwhelmingly and opposition parties boycotted the vote.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on July 16.
U.S. President Joe Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on July 16.

The Old Human Rights Playbook Won’t Work Anymore

As Biden’s Saudi visit showed, state-to-state shaming isn’t the only way to shift the calculus of authoritarian rulers who abuse their citizens.

Protesters attend a rally backing the Senegalese opposition in Dakar, on June 8.
Protesters attend a rally backing the Senegalese opposition in Dakar, on June 8.

Senegal’s Democratic Backsliding Is a Threat to African Democracy

A constitutional coup in a country that has long been a beacon for freedom would encourage authoritarians across the continent.

British Home Secretary Priti Patel and Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Vincent Biruta shake hands after signing an agreement at the Kigali Convention Center in Kigali, Rwanda, on April 14.
British Home Secretary Priti Patel and Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Vincent Biruta shake hands after signing an agreement at the Kigali Convention Center in Kigali, Rwanda, on April 14.

Britain Seeks to Send Refugees to Rwanda

Boris Johnson’s government is partnering with an authoritarian regime in a legally questionable effort to make Britain’s asylum-seeker problem disappear.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic addresses the public in Belgrade, on Apr. 3.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic addresses the public in Belgrade, on Apr. 3.

Aleksandar Vucic’s Pyrrhic Victory

The Serbian president’s anti-Western propaganda is coming back to haunt him.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan reviews the guard of honour upon his arrival during a welcome ceremony ahead of a meeting with Ukrainian President, in Kiev, on October 9, 2017.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan reviews the guard of honour upon his arrival during a welcome ceremony ahead of a meeting with Ukrainian President, in Kiev, on October 9, 2017.

Ukraine’s War Is Erdogan’s Opportunity

Turkey’s president is seizing on Europe’s crisis to establish his own country’s independent power.

A pro-Ukraine demonstrator wearing a face mask holds a placard reading “Hands off Ukraine” during a demonstration in front of the Russian Embassy in Berlin on Feb. 22.
A pro-Ukraine demonstrator wearing a face mask holds a placard reading “Hands off Ukraine” during a demonstration in front of the Russian Embassy in Berlin on Feb. 22.

Ukraine, Russia, and the Bear Hug of Authoritarianism

Of all the democracies that emerged in the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has suffered the most from Russian interference.

People protest for political reform and the release of political prisoners in Kazakhstan.
People protest for political reform and the release of political prisoners in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan Can’t Torture Its Way to Stability

Until the Tokayev regime shows remorse for its brutal crackdown, the country’s reforms won’t bring progress.

Journalists visit the Huawei Digital Transformation Showcase in Shenzhen, China, on March 6, 2019.
Journalists visit the Huawei Digital Transformation Showcase in Shenzhen, China, on March 6, 2019.

Digital Human Rights Need a Single Home in U.S. Government

If everybody is responsible for countering digital authoritarianism, no one is responsible.

putin-intellectual-catastrophe-site
putin-intellectual-catastrophe-site

The Intellectual Catastrophe of Vladimir Putin

The meaning of Russia’s war in Ukraine is its own national weakness.

Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov poses with an ancient Akhal-Teke breed three years old studhorse, Begkhan, that won an Inernational Annual Horse Beauty contest in Ashgabat on April 23, 2016.
Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov poses with an ancient Akhal-Teke breed three years old studhorse, Begkhan, that won an Inernational Annual Horse Beauty contest in Ashgabat on April 23, 2016.

Turkmenistan Is All About the Berdimuhamedovs

Central Asia is about to receive its first dynastic family.

Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and Prime Minister of Bahrain, and Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, arriving at the pier at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain This handout image released by the US Naval Forces Central Command on Jan. 31, 2022.
Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and Prime Minister of Bahrain, and Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, arriving at the pier at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain This handout image released by the US Naval Forces Central Command on Jan. 31, 2022.

Bahrain’s Paranoia About Iran Is Self-Defeating

A new regional alliance is undermining Bahrain’s stability at home.

A man looks at paperwork on a desk presented by a poll worker.
A man looks at paperwork on a desk presented by a poll worker.

Belarus Vote to Amend Constitution Worries NATO

The changes, certain to pass, will let Russia house nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil.

A woman tweets with a smartphone.
A woman tweets with a smartphone.

How Twitter Failed Africa

Big Tech ignored policies that enable disinformation and propaganda across the continent.

Musician turned politician Bobi Wine (C) is joined by other activists on July 11, 2018 in Kampala, Uganda, during a demonstration to protest a controversial tax on the use of social media.
Musician turned politician Bobi Wine (C) is joined by other activists on July 11, 2018 in Kampala, Uganda, during a demonstration to protest a controversial tax on the use of social media.

How Democracy Can Defeat Autocracy

Autocrats are on the defensive as popular protests mount—but democracy’s fate depends on leaders delivering results.

A resident surveys the damage in the aftermath of protests
in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Jan. 11.
A resident surveys the damage in the aftermath of protests in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Jan. 11.

Kazakhstan’s Protests Aren’t a Color Revolution

The country’s widespread popular demonstrations transcended class, region, and politics—making them distinct from those in Belarus and Ukraine.

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