How Qatar Became a World Leader in Sportswashing

The government has spent billions preparing to host the 2022 World Cup. Never mind the abusive labor practices and human rights violations. It’s betting that your love of the “beautiful game” will make you more fond of this tiny Gulf state, too. | Sarath K. Ganji

Why Women Are Leading the Fight in Iran

Iran’s women were the Islamic Republic’s first target for repression. This is the newest chapter in their struggle to win back their rights. | By Ladan Boroumand
April 2020, Volume 31, Issue 2

Viral Alarm: When Fury Overcomes Fear

  • Xu Zhangrun
The coronavirus outbreak has exposed the corrupt and rotten core of the Chinese Communist Party’s dictatorial rule over China. It is a moment of revelation. Can it also become one that leads to change?
October 2022, Volume 33, Issue 4

The Politics of Enemies

  • Michael Ignatieff
Democracy’s meaning has always been contested. Letting that struggle become a battle between existential foes risks upending the whole democratic project.

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October 2022, Volume 33, Issue 4

How to Compete in Unfair Elections

Opposition movements often boycott rigged polls rather than risk legitimizing an autocrat. It is usually a mistake. Here is the playbook for how one opposition seized the advantage.


October 2022, Volume 33, Issue 4

Debate: Why Democracies Survive

Democracies are under stress, but they are not about to buckle. The erosion of norms and other woes do not spell democratic collapse. With incredibly few exceptions, affluent democracies will endure, no matter the schemes of would-be autocrats.


April 2021, Volume 32, Issue 2

China: Totalitarianism’s Long Shadow

China’s fast economic rise has not dented its dictatorship, but Xi Jinping’s neo-Stalinist strategy has unleashed new challenges and tensions for the Communist Party’s long-term prospects for survival.

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Why Sanctions Don’t Work Against Dictatorships (November 2022)
From Putin’s invasion to Kim’s nuclear saber rattling, the West has punished the world’s worst regimes. But have sanctions missed their targets?
By Agathe Demarais

Why TikTok Is a Threat to Demococracy (November 2022)
The popular Chinese-owned app is enabling Beijing to collect data on people nearly everywhere. Not only can such platforms track people’s preferences and whereabouts, but they give the Chinese government control over a powerful tool for shaping people’s worldview.
By Aynne Kokas

For Xi Jinping, the Economy Is No Longer the Priority (October 2022)
Beijing’s focus has been on strong and steady economic growth for decades. But China’s leader has just put an end to that era. For Xi, it’s only about power—at home and abroad.
By Guoguong Wu

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In The News

How Qatar Is Using the World Cup to Clean Up Its Image

November 2022

The 2022 World Cup has just kicked off in Qatar. Long before the first match, the small Arab monarchy made a bet that investing billions in the “beautiful game” might do wonders for their reputation, too.

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The Rise of Political Violence in the United States

In a deeply polarized United States, ordinary people now consume and espouse once-radical ideas and are primed to commit violence.


Russia’s Road to Autocracy

Thirty years after the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia is firmly in the grip of an autocrat. Where did Russia’s path go wrong?


How Viktor Orbán Wins

The case of Hungary shows how autocrats can rig elections legally, using legislative majorities to change the law and neutralize the opposition at every turn, no matter what strategy they adopt.