For all the concern over authoritarianism’s advance, the competence of governance may be what determines the next chapter in the struggle between democracy and dictatorship.
Volume 31, Issue 3
Liberal democracy has drawn its share of false indictments. But like any form of government, it has genuine weaknesses that can at best be managed. How well liberals navigate these inherent tensions may help determine the future of freedom.
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.
His regime has hung onto power despite setbacks that would have toppled most democratic governments. Beside pure repression, Maduro has developed new autocratic tools that have kept Venezuela’s authoritarian state afloat.
The Islamic Republic is in a volatile, even prerevolutionary situation, hammered by foreign opposition and sanctions from the outside, and the disillusionment and discontent of its own people from within. But a catalyst needs to appear.
In the decade leading up to the covid-19 pandemic, nonviolent civil resistance grew more popular than ever—but its effectiveness had already started to plummet. The future of nonviolent resistance may depend on movements’ ability to move beyond mass protests toward exploring alternative tactics and developing smarter, longer-term strategies.
No country in the world is more intensely targeted by Beijing’s influence operations than Taiwan. The lead-up to the January 2020 elections saw China putting a full-court press on the island, but Taiwanese democracy broke it.
Although South Korea is praised for its success at fighting covid-19, the triumph came at a cost to rights and privacy, and is drawing attention away from a larger drift toward illiberalism and bitterly factionalized politics.
The illiberal credo prominent in Russia’s foreign policy is more than just a clever political ploy. Rather, this outlook reflects the traumatic experience of the 1990s, and it is stoked by young political thinkers, the Russian Orthodox Church, and the Kremlin itself.
Evo Morales lost the presidency in November 2019 due not to a coup, but to a citizen revolt. After his controversial bid for a fourth consecutive term, the opposition mobilized against him and his regime disintegrated.
Social Media Disruption
The encrypted messaging service WhatsApp has become an increasingly important tool for “fake news” in Nigeria, while weakening government control of information and broadening opportunities for political participation.
In Latin America, greater exposure to social media—and the digital misinformation that comes with it—seems to be bolstering prodemocratic attitudes even as it fuels public distrust in democratic institutions.
A review of MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed bin Salman, by Ben Hubbard.
Remarks on China from Deputy U.S. National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger; joint statement by David Kaye, Harlem Désir, and Edison Lanza on protecting the free flow of information during the covid-19 pandemic; open letter by Indian academic and Dalit-rights activist Anand Teltumbde; reflections from Joshua Wong on the future of Hong Kong’s prodemocracy movement