Geopolitical Trend: Authoritarianism Spreads Around the Globe

Global Democracy Index (Economist Intelligence Unit)

Authoritarianism is emerging as an attractive alternative to liberal democracy for a growing number of countries worldwide.

Authoritarianism is a form of government characterized by strong central power and limited political freedoms. Individual freedoms are secondary to the interests of the state, and there is an absence of constitutional authority or supremacy over the government in an authoritarian regime.

Authoritarianism has been the norm in countries like Russia and China. However, there is a growing trend towards authoritarianism among democratically-elected governments in countries like Turkey, Hungary, and Poland.  Here are recently published stories that relate to this trend.

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Robert Mugabe, Former President of Zimbabwe

China’s Role in Ousting Mugabe During the Zimbabwe “Coup”

The ouster of Robert Mugabe has dominated global coverage of Africa over the past few weeks.

In Western coverage of the first week after the coup in Zimbabwe, there was speculation about what China knew beforehand and whether Beijing played an active role in pushing for it.

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russian president Vladimir v. Putin announces run for president in 2018
Vladimir V. Putin, President of Russia

10 Elections to Watch in 2018 

Millions of people around the world voted in elections this year. The French elected Emmanuel Macron president, while South Koreans elected Moon Jae-in president. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani won reelection with a much wider margin of support than his first time around. Turkey voted to expand President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s constitutional authority. Britain’s Theresa May gambled and lost her parliamentary majority, whereas Japan’s Shinzo Abe gambled and came away with a big victory. German Chancellor Angela Merkel led her party to a first-place finish but is struggling to form a coalition government. A disputed independence referendum in Catalonia triggered a constitutional crisis in Spain, and a similarly controversial independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan raised political tensions in Iraq. Next year will see equally important and consequential elections. Here are ten to watch.

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King Salman of Saudi Arabia with President Vladimir Putin of Russia in Moscow (2017)

Geopolitical Shifts in the Middle East

The impact of the Arab Spring, the retraction of the U.S. military, and diminishing economic influence on the Arab world—as displayed during the Obama Administration—are facts. The first visit of a Saudi king to Russia shows the growing power of Russia in the Middle East. It also shows that not only Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but also Egypt and Libya, are more likely to consider Moscow as a strategic ally.

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