The world has changed and today’s autocrats are changing with it. Demonstrating resilience and a keen ability to adapt, leading authoritarian regimes are developing more subtle and sophisticated methods to retain power. To suppress dissent, mass brutality has been replaced by selective safety inspections and tax investigations, as well as arbitrarily applied regulations designed to undercut the activities of independent civil society and opposition groups.
New economic resources at the disposal of regimes in Beijing, Moscow, and Caracas have enabled them to bolster their authoritarianism. Meanwhile, the democratic world has been slow to acknowledge and respond to the emergence of these new, more nimble regimes.
Please join a discussion featuring William J. Dobson, author of The Dictator’s Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy, and Joshua Stacher, author of Adaptable Autocrats: Regime Power in Egypt and Syria, as they discuss how leaders in China, Egypt, Russia, Venezuela, and other countries have adapted to suppress democratic movements in their countries. Despite the initial excitement surrounding the recent upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa in particular, continuity—not wide-ranging political change—remains the hallmark of many of the world’s autocracies.
The International Forum for Democratic Studies
at the National Endowment for Democracy
cordially invites you to a presentation titled
New Authoritarians and the Challenge to Democracy
William J. Dobson
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Kent State University
International Forum for Democratic Studies
Thursday, December 6, 2012
(lunch served from 12–12:30pm)
1025 F. Street, N.W., Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20004
RSVP (acceptances only) with name and affiliation by Tuesday, December 4.
William J. Dobson is the politics & foreign affairs editor for Slate and author of The Dictator’s Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy. Previously, he served as the managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine. Under his editorial direction, the magazine was nominated for the National Magazine Award five years in a row, and in 2007 and 2009 Foreign Policy won the overall award for General Excellence. During the height of the Arab Spring, the Washington Post editorial page commissioned Dobson to write daily online pieces on modern authoritarianism.
Joshua Stacher is currently a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where he is starting a book project on Egypt’s political transition. He is also an assistant professor of political science at Kent State University. Stacher is the author of Adaptable Autocrats: Regime Power in Egypt & Syria (Stanford UP, 2012). He is a regular contributor to and editorial board member of MERIP’s influential Middle East Report. Stacher has made media appearances and written commentary for NPR, CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera, Foreign Affairs, Jadaliyya, and The New York Times, among others.