Democratic progress has stalled in the face of an authoritarian backlash, warns The Forward March of Democracy Halted? World Politics and the Rise of Authoritarianism. The report outlines the range of threats to democracy and highlights the key battlegrounds worldwide in the fight for ideas.
A key trend highlighted in the report is the rise of a new authoritarianism, in which autocrats use modern sophisticated techniques of globalisation and digital communications to boost their power and stifle opposition. The paper identifies the changing nature of authoritarianism, highlighting the manipulation of popular anti-imperialist feeling and the increase of bilateral ties between modern autocracies.
Given the swift and powerful rise of these authoritarian nations, the report also provides advice for democracies to stem the tide of authoritarianism on this new globalised and interconnected battleground. The report calls for democracies to enhance awareness of the authoritarian threat and to increase democratic co-operation in response to this unchecked ideological assault.
Dr Alan Mendoza, Executive Director of The Henry Jackson Society, commented:
“This report should serve as a wake-up call that revitalising democratic progress must be a key battle for our time. There is an urgent need to increase cooperation between democratic nations in defence of our fundamental values. Tackling authoritarianism head-on is crucial not least in the context of the rise of China and, in 2014 particularly, the illegal actions of Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. History has taught us that failing to tackle authoritarianism has dire consequences. This report makes clear that our efforts in support of democracy must be redoubled”