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Articles on Authoritarianism

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U.S. President Donald Trump waves to supporters as he departs after playing golf at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling Va., on Nov. 8, 2020. Trump is refusing to concede the election, a common tactic of authoritarians. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Trump lost, but racism is alive and infused in U.S. history

Trump is reminiscent of strongmen like Hungary's Viktor Orbán and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A good portion of the electorate like what he's selling anyway. That's a bitter pill for the U.S.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Carson City Airport on Oct. 18, 2020, in Carson City, Nev. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Can America survive the re-election of Donald Trump?

Americans can survive a second Trump term if they resurrect a language of critique and possibility that draws from history and shields the U.S. from authoritarianism.
European Council President Charles Michel (R) and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speak as they attend a news conference following a virtual summit with Chinese President in Brussels, on June 22, 2020. Yves Herman/Pool/AFP

The EU’s new defensive approach to a rising China

Long lenient toward China, Europeans have recently taken a firmer approach. Beijing's conduct during the Covid-19 pandemic and its general intransigence have had a lot to do with this.
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Russian disinformation in the time of Covid-19

The Covid-19 epidemic has given rise to an avalanche of fake news, and accounts managed by Russian interests lead the way. How does this misinformation work, and what are its aims?
Ugandan activist and writer Stella Nyanzi outside a Kampala court after a ruling in her favour against President Yoweri Museveni Sumy Sadurni/AFP via GettyImages

Naked protest: how ordinary citizens reveal truth to repressive regimes

When protesters strip naked to amplify their political voice, it is often a last resort within very restrictive regimes.
A supporter of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen outside her campaign headquarters in Taipei on January 11, 2020, the day of her re-election. Sam Yeh/AFP

‘Make noise in the east, then strike in the west’: Taiwan in China’s crosshairs

By providing assistance to many countries affected by the pandemic, the People's Republic of China is seeking to create a diversionary tactic to quietly put increasing pressure on Taiwan.
Hungarian police officers check cars at the closed Austria-Hungary border, March 18, 2020. Alex Halada/AFP via Getty Images

Coronavirus versus democracy: 5 countries where emergency powers risk abuse

National emergencies allow for the purest expressions of sovereign power, testing the government’s commitment to human rights. Some leaders are failing the coronavirus test, experts say.
Members of a medical assistance team from Jiangsu province at a ceremony marking their departure after participating in the fight against Covid-19 in Wuhan, March 19, 2020. STR/AFP

Debate: How Beijing is trying to save face in the global fight against Covid-19

China is seeking to present itself as a model in the fight against the coronavirus – even if it means rewriting the history of the crisis and discrediting the governance of liberal democracies.
A train attendant in Nanchang, China, gestures in solidarity with medical staff departing for the city of Wuhan, Feb. 13, 2020. STR/AFP via Getty Images

Coronavirus unites a divided China in fear, grief and anger at government

Public criticism of the Chinese government's handling of coronavirus shows that the Chinese people can overcome both strict censorship and a gaping class divide when they get angry enough.
Pakistani Islamists march to protest the Supreme Court lenient treatment of Asia Bibi, a Christian Pakistani woman accused of blasphemy, in Karachi, Feb. 1, 2019. ASIF HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images

Execution for a Facebook post? Why blasphemy is a capital offense in some Muslim countries

Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia all punish blasphemy harshly – even with death. Such laws have political as well as religious motives, says a scholar on Islamism: They're a tool for crushing dissent.

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