Politics, both domestic and international, have certainly changed over the last few years. It’s almost impossible to enter a discussion or read a report on current trends in foreign policy and national security without two points being raised: one that domestic extremist violence is now considered the top terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland, and two, that the world is entering a new era of great power competition. What is not frequently discussed is how these two trends are intricately linked, and how addressing one can aide the United States in the other.
Authoritarian governments, primarily led by Beijing and Moscow see themselves in competition with the United States for key relationships with countries around the world. For decades following the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was an assumption that the international standard for progress and reform was the adoption of democracy and liberal market reforms. Today, that is no longer the case. Authoritarian regimes are offering an alternative vision for how to organize society and for a government’s relationship with its people. Their proposition is simple: Yes, it may be more repressive and there are fewer freedoms than with liberal democracy, but it is also more orderly, efficient, and able to handle big problems.
The above excerpt was originally published in Just Security.
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