International Forum for Democratic Studies April 2018 Newsletter: “The Rise of Kleptocracy”

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April 2018

 

The January issue of the Journal of Democracy features a seven-article cluster on transnational kleptocracy. Within the cluster, Christopher Walker and Melissa Aten explore kleptocracy’s implications for democracy around the globe in “The Rise of Kleptocracy: A Challenge to Democracy.” Alexander Cooley, John Heathershaw, and J.C. Sharman explain how kleptocrats rely on a web of transnational relationships and the complicity of Western fixers to safeguard their ill-gotten gains in “Laundering Cash, Whitewashing Reputations;” and Miriam Lanskoy and Dylan Myles-Primakoff discuss how Russia’s ruling elite use kleptocracy as a tool of domestic political control in “Power and Plunder in Putin’s Russia.” The cluster also features Oliver Bullough on kleptocracy in a globalized world; Brett L. Carter examines the African context; Cynthia Gabriel explores kleptocracy in Malaysia; and Andrew Wedeman offers a perspective from China.
 
Also in the issue, Zoltan Barany assesses “Suu Kyi’s Missteps,” Carl Gershman reviews Condoleezza Rice’s new book, Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom, Cynthia McClintock shows how presidential runoffs have helped new democracies in Latin
America overcome key political challenges; and much more.
 
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Dean Jackson of the International Forum spoke with Maria Ressa about her experience working as a journalist in a rapidly deteriorating media environment and the impact of social media on the trajectory of democracy in the Philippines.
NED Vice President Christopher Walker explains how authoritarian regimes, such as China and Russia, are able to exert influence abroad through new methods of targeted “sharp power,” and how they differ from traditional forms of soft power.
 
On March 21, International Forum Director Shanthi Kalathil testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on “China’s Foreign Influence Operations.” Her statement focused on “how a rising China has increasingly been able to wield influence that chills free expression within democracies around the world.”
 
 
The International Forum is pleased to welcome nine new think tank members from Brazil, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Ghana, Hungary, Serbia, and Malaysia to the Network of Democracy Research Institutes, a global network of think tanks that conduct research and analysis on democracy, democratization, and related topics.
 

On February 14, political economist and Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow Gabor Scheiring shed light on the socioeconomic roots of the authoritarian turn in Hungary, while also offering comparative insights into
recent developments in Poland and the Czech Republic.

 
On January 17, popular Ghanaian radio host and Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow Nana Ama Agyemang Asante discussed the
shortcomings of Ghana’s democracy and argued that successful elections, economic stability, and peace should not be the only criteria of a functioning democracy.
 
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