When personalistic dictators go to war, they are more likely to miscalculate and lose than leaders of other types of regimes. Such failures can have dramatic consequences for the stability of their regime at home, as well as for the rest of the world. Russia’s grotesque invasion of Ukraine is one of the most horrific… Read more »
Myanmar – from one dictatorship to another
The coup d’état in Myanmar marks a defeat for the military’s attempt to create a “discipline-flourishing” democracy. The coup occurred on 1 February, just before the newly elected parliament was set to convene. This timing made it easy to arrest the country’s leading politicians. The military used allegations of electoral fraud as a pretext. The… Read more »
The United States Must Be Viewed as a Flawed Democracy at Significant Risk of Transitioning into Dictatorship
A study of flawed democracies and semi-dictatorships describes a common pattern of events as follows: After having lost an election, the sitting president claims that the election was invalid, whereupon he attempts a coup d’état and his supporters storm the parliament. A few years ago, this sequence of events would have been unthinkable in any… Read more »
Coronavirus and the (Wannabe) Dictators
In December of last year, the Chinese state jailed a physician in the city of Wuhan. His crime? Attempting to warn authorities against the occurrence of a potentially contagious and deadly new virus. The physician, Dr. Li Wenliang, has since died from the same disease whose spread he tried to contain.
Erna Solberg as dictator?
Seen in hindsight: was Norwegian democracy actually in peril for a few days in mid-March 2020? This piece is part of our blog series Beyond the COVID Curve. COVID-19 has quickly changed everything from our daily routines, to the policies of governments, to the fortunes of the global economy. How will it continue to shape… Read more »
What China’s Approach to the Wuhan Virus Tells Us about Politics in Dictatorships
It is easy to become fascinated by the images from Wuhan.
Totalitarianism Closing in on China
The only drama in the “two sessions” jamboree in Beijing this spring is that there was no drama at all. Each year the Chinese political élite, 5000 men and a few women strong, congregate in the capital for a week of meetings of the legislature, the National People’s Congress, and its advisory body, the Chinese… Read more »