In a webinar dated May 12, 2020, Villanova University Scholar Samer Abboud examined the emergent "illiberal peace" in Syria. The absence of an internationally mandated or internally negotiated peace process, he argued, has allowed the Syrian regime to craft an illiberal peace as an outcome to the nearly decade-long conflict. This illiberal peace is shaped through a politics of exclusion in which Syrian society is bifurcated into the loyal and disloyal through processes of reconciliation, settlement, and new legal regimes of citizenship. Click below to watch the recording of the talk.
[The following article originally appeared in French in Le Soir]
Over the past 20 years of exile, I returned to Morocco sporadically to visit family and friends. Now, I am here indefinitely until the coronavirus pandemic passes. I have observed its effects upon my homeland as not just a proud Moroccan, but also a trained social scientist assessing how the Moroccan state has responded – and how new social dynamics can emerge from it.
Countries retreating into closed systems and deciding to protect only their own groups could prevent international cooperation on climate change issues which is the only way to avert climate catastrophe, says Francis Fukuyama in conversation with Ana Kasparian. Watch here.
"Freedom is inseparable from human dignity," says LarryDiamond for Bertelsmann Foundation talks on "How to Fix Democracy." The crisis is “bad, deepening, accelerating,” but he suggests several steps we can take to reverse the trend, such as ranked-choice voting to tackle the two-party system, and spreading “motor voter” laws to increase the number of registered voters. Watch the video here.
"The Kofi Annan Commission on Elections and Democracy in the Digital Age found the rise of social media has caused irrevocable harm to global electoral integrity and democratic institutions—and the effects may get even worse," Paris Martineau writes in Wired. CDDRL's Deputy Director Stephen J. Stedman served as the Secretary-General of the Commission.
In the inaugural episode of the Power 3.0 podcast, featured guest Larry Diamond discusses the Chinese Communist Party’s range of influence and interference activities that target the public, civic, and social institutions of democracies, including subnational governments, universities, think tanks, media, corporations, and ethnic Chinese communities. Listen here.
The January 3 assassination by the United States of Qassem Soleimani — the commander of Iran’s Quds Force — transformed Iran, Abbas Milani told Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Director Michael McFaul on the World Class podcast.
Posters of Soleimani’s face were plastered everywhere, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameni announced three official days of mourning, and hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to grieve Soleimani’s death, Milani explained.
Of all of the countries in the world attempting a transition to democracy, Francis Fukuyama thinks that Ukraine is the most promising.
“The election of [Volodymyr] Zelensky and the new parliament is just a miracle,” Fukuyama told Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) Director Michael McFaul on the World Class podcast. “Can you imagine, a country getting rid of two-thirds of its parliament and starting over with new people, many of whom are under 35 years old?”
"Ideologically, today’s autocrats are a more motley and pragmatic crew. They generally claim to be market friendly, but mainly they are crony capitalists, who, like Putin in Russia, Orban in Hungary, and Erdogan in Turkey, are first concerned with enriching themselves, their families, and their parties and support networks.
"What if we had a better way to select presidential nominees, one that didn’t reward appeals to the most ideologically committed voters and donors in each party? What if we weren’t trying to excite the already convinced — to vote, to contribute and to volunteer on campaigns? This pulls each party toward more militant postures and deepens polarization. What if we prized substantive dialogue across the partisan divides over intense mobilization within them?
“What saves citizens from the knock on the door in the dead of night, from the risk of being silenced or removed, is a constitution, a robust body of laws, an independent judiciary to enforce them, and a culture that insists on free elections, human rights, and human dignity,” says Larry Diamond for Stanford Magazine.
The Democrats are facing a dilemma: If they defend democratic norms by acting to remove President Trump from office, they risk getting dragged into a polarizing style of politics that works to his political advantage. Read here.
In today’s Egypt, commitment to democracy appears scarce among actors both within the regime and in civil society, and public-opinion polls further suggest that demands for democratic governance have been abandoned. An undemocratic political understanding and disenchantment with the concept of democracy seemingly prevail among a majority of the population.
Since November 2018, a grassroots revolt of the forgotten lower middle classes from France’s far-flung suburbs and rural areas has risen against high taxes; social injustice; and the elites, President Emmanuel Macron foremost among them. Although this “Yellow Vest” movement is not dead, it is now weakened by internal feuds, excessive violence, a takeover by the far left, and Macron’s deft handling.
ARD Conference Examines Authoritarian Upgrading, Popular Uprisings and Foreign Interventions in the Middle East
CDDRL’s Program on Arab Reform and Democracy held its annual conference at Stanford University on October 11 and 12, titled “The Struggle for Political Change in the Arab World.” The conference is an outgrowth of ARD’s efforts to support new research on the dynamics of political change in the countries of the Arab world.