Confront authoritarianism by defending democratic values

A quarter of a century ago, when the Cold War ended, there was great hope that the United Nations and other international political and financial institutions would become the bedrock of a democratic world order that would help shape an era of peace and prosperity.  Today that hope lies shattered by the slaughter in Syria, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine, China’s building military infrastructure on disputed islands in the South China Sea, Iran’s rising influence in the Middle East, and many other troubling developments.  The world is a more dangerous place today than at any time in the last generation.

The growing projection of hard power by Russia, China, and Iran, and the increased threat of terrorism, have obscured an equally important expansion of authoritarian soft power in the areas of information, communications technology, ideas, and culture where the advanced democracies had been thought to have had a natural advantage.

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