authoritarianism

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Here’s How the 2020 U.S. Elections Resemble Those of Fragile Democracies

A veteran observer of elections in troubled countries describes the undeniable parallels.

Paramilitary police march near the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, China.

COVID-19 Might Not Change the World

Pandemics are not always transformative events. While some worrying preexisting trends could accelerate, it’s incorrect to assume that the coronavirus will end globalization, kill liberal democracy, or enhance China’s soft power.

Riot police march through Hong Kong during an anti-government demonstration on Sept. 6.

How to Stop the Export of Authoritarianism

China is slowly killing the global human rights regime. Defending it requires Washington’s full engagement.

An Al-Jazeera channel's journalist stands inside the defendants cage with his colleagues during their trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood at Cairo's Tora prison on March 22, 2014.

Arab Dictators Are Learning to Love Collective Punishment

Middle Eastern regimes increasingly aren’t just targeting dissidents—they’re going after their entire families.

Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Is Sri Lanka Becoming a De Facto Junta?

In under a year, Gotabaya Rajapaksa—the former defense secretary-turned-president—has bent the democracy to its breaking point.

(From L) European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Chinese President Xi Jinping, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold a press conference in Paris on March 26, 2019.

Europe Must Stand Up to China Before It’s Too Late

The EU must defend its values rather than caving to economic pressure from Beijing.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up his fist as he leaves after speaking during a Make America Great Again rally at Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pennsylvania, on May 20, 2019.

The World’s Weakest Strongman

Donald Trump’s use of violence and division isn’t a symbol of authority—it’s a sign of desperation.

A woman watches a live broadcast of Russian President Vladimir Putin's address to the nation over the coronavirus outbreak.

Authoritarians Are Exploiting the Coronavirus. Democracies Must Not Follow Suit.

Democracies are far more effective at combating national crises, but that hasn’t stopped despots across the world from trying to tighten their grip.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (center) votes with other representatives in the Hungarian parliament in Budapest on March 30.

Viktor Orban Can’t Eradicate the Coronavirus by Decree

Hungary’s authoritarian leader has granted himself dictatorial powers, but his neglect of the country’s health system and his powerlessness in the face of a depreciating currency will come back to haunt him.

A 14th-century painting showing the caravan of Niccolò and Maffeo Polo crossing Asia.

The ‘Chinese Virus’ Spread Along the New Silk Road

Western democracies may lose the coronavirus propaganda war, but China certainly won’t win it.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban delivers his state of the nation address in Budapest on Feb. 18, 2018.

The Shocking ‘Coronavirus Coup’ in Hungary Was a Wake-Up Call

While the world is shut down, history hasn’t stopped. Authoritarians are seizing the opportunity.

A military patrol walks past the empty Louvre Pyramid in Paris on March 28. The country has introduced fines for people caught violating its nationwide lockdown measures intended to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Authoritarianism in the Time of the Coronavirus

The pandemic offers dictators—and democracies alike—an opportunity for abuse.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a New Year’s address to Russians in central Moscow on Dec. 31, 2017.

Putin Is Following the Game Plan of Other Autocrats Before Him

And moves like his Jan. 15 announcement generally work—both to secure a leader’s power and ensure a favorable transition down the road.

Syrian youths walk past a billboard showing a picture of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on July 9, 2018. The caption below reads in Arabic: "If the country's dust speaks, it will say Bashar al-Assad."

The Conditions That Created ISIS Still Exist

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death won’t eliminate the threat of Islamist extremism so long as autocratic regimes continue to hold sway in the Middle East.

U.S. President Donald Trump sits in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 27, 2018.

The Tyrannical Mr. Trump

If the U.S. president is impeached and removed from office, don’t expect him to accept the result.

Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev in the Kremlin in Moscow, on Dec. 19, 2012. (Maxim Shemetov/AFP/Getty Images)

Putin Wants a Kazakh Retirement

Russia and Kazakhstan have plenty in common. Why not the transition plans for their longtime presidents?

Ballot papers for Turkey’s presidential election are seen at a polling station in Istanbul on Aug. 10, 2014. (Ahmet Bolat/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The Evolution of the Strongman

Why authoritarians have grown more liberal as democracies have grown more authoritarian.

A member of staff poses for a photograph at a workspace in the National Cyber Security Centre on Feb. 14, 2017 in London, England. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

How to Regulate the Internet Without Becoming a Dictator

The British model of filtering data rather than content can protect citizens while preserving an open internet.

U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May attend the G20 Leaders' Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Nov. 30, 2018.

Trump and May Are Discrediting Democracy

Chaos and dysfunction in Washington and London make liberal democratic government look bad—and embolden China and Russia to market authoritarianism as an efficient alternative.

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