In an article published by The American Interest, Christopher Walker, Marc F. Plattner, and Larry Diamond write:
“A new global competition in “soft power” is underway between democracy and autocracy, but only one side seems to be competing seriously. Many had assumed that the era of globalization would give democracies a huge advantage in this sphere, the basic argument being that a more open global political economy and the relentless flow of information across borders would boost open societies over repressive ones. But it is the undemocratic states that have been the nimblest at enhancing their influence.
The leading authoritarian regimes have invested heavily in building vast and sophisticated soft-power arsenals that now operate in every corner of the world. This has occurred in the context of a decade-long global democratic decline, according to Freedom House, during which already authoritarian regimes have become even more repressive. At the same time, the most influential authoritarians—China, Russia, and Iran—have become more internationalist. Authoritarianism has gone global.”