Politics

Democracy’s best strategy for overpowering the autocrats

Autocrats are on the defensive as popular protests mount, but democracy’s fate depends on leaders delivering results.

Protesters in Yangon, Myanmar (Image: SOPA/Sipa USA/Theint Mon Soe)

The conventional wisdom these days is that autocracy is ascendant and democracy is on the decline. But the superficial appeal of the rise-of-autocracy thesis belies a more complex reality — and a bleaker future for autocrats.

As people see that unaccountable rulers prioritise their own interests over the public’s, the popular demand for rights-respecting democracy remains strong.

In country after country — Myanmar, Sudan, Russia, Belarus, Nicaragua, Poland, Uganda, even Kazakhstan before protests seemed to have been hijacked by a governmental power struggle — large numbers of people have recently taken to the streets, even at the risk of being arrested or shot. There are few rallies for autocratic rule.

Read more about democracy’s battles…

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