The Authoritarian Resurgence: China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela

April 23, 2015 12:00 pm - April 23, 0115 02:00 pm

1025 F. Street, N.W., Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20004


Javier Corrales
Amherst College

Andrew J. Nathan
Columbia University

Lilia Shevtsova
Brookings Institution

Frederic Wehrey
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

moderated by

Christopher Walker
Executive Director, International Forum for Democratic Studies

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About the Event

Russia, Venezuela, China, and Saudi Arabia are among the most influential authoritarian states that are seeking to reshape the international order. These regimes may disagree on many things, but they share the objective of obstructing the advance of democracy and weakening the influence of democratic principles in the world. The established democracies have been slow to recognize the increasingly determined challenge from today’s authoritarians, perhaps because they hope that these regimes will be undone by their flaws. But given the resilience that the authoritarians have displayed so far, it would be imprudent for the democracies to underestimate the seriousness of the dangers that they pose. Based on articles that appear in the January 2015 and April 2015 issues of the Journal of Democracy, Javier Corrales, Andrew J. Nathan, Lilia Shevtsova, and Frederic Wehrey discussed the multifaceted challenges presented by these regimes.

About the Speakers

Javier Corrales is professor of political science at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He obtained his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University. He is the co-author (with Carlos A. Romero) of U.S.-Venezuela Relations since the 1990s: Coping with Midlevel Security Threats (Routledge, 2013), and (with Michael Penfold) of Dragon in the Tropics: Hugo Chávez and the Political Economy of Revolution in Venezuela (Brookings Institution Press, 2011). He is also the co-editor (with Mario Pecheny) of The Politics of Sexuality in Latin America: A Reader on LGBT Rights (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010), and author of Presidents without Parties: the Politics of Economic Reform in Argentina and Venezuela in the 1990s (Penn State University Press, 2002).

Andrew J. Nathan is Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. His teaching and research interests include Chinese politics and foreign policy, the comparative study of political participation and political culture, and human rights. Prof. Nathan’s books include Chinese Democracy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985); The Tiananmen Papers, co-edited with Perry Link (New York: PublicAffairs, 2001); and China’s Search for Security, co-authored with Andrew Scobell (Columbia University Press, 2012). Prof. Nathan served as chair of the department of political science, 2003-2006, chair of the executive committee of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, 2002-2003, and director of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, 1991-1995.

Lilia Shevtsova is a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Previously, she chaired the Russian Domestic Politics and Political Institutions Program at the Carnegie Moscow Center. She is founding chair of the Davos World Economic Forum Council on Russia’s Future; a member of the Boards of the Institute for Human Sciences (Vienna), the Finnish Centre for Excellence in Russian Studies (Helsinki), the Liberal Mission Foundation, and the New Eurasia Foundation (Moscow); a member of the editorial boards of The American Interest, Pro et Contra, and the Journal of Democracy. Dr. Shevtsova is the author or editor of fifteen books, including: Putin’s Russia (2005); Russia—Lost in Transition (2007); Lonely Power (2010); Change or Decay (with Andrew Wood, 2011); and Crisis: Russia and the West in the Time of Troubles (with David Kramer, 2013).

Frederic Wehrey is a senior associate in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he focuses on Gulf political and security affairs, Libya, and U.S. policy in the Middle East. He is the author of Sectarian Politics in the Gulf: From the Iraq War to the Arab Uprisings (Columbia University Press, 2013). He holds a PhD in international relations from Oxford University.