about the podcast
“Power 3.0 | Authoritarian Resurgence, Democratic Resilience” explores cutting-edge research and ideas about authoritarian resurgence, democratic resilience, and other emergent trends in democracy studies, such as disinformation and transnational kleptocracy. Produced by the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy, the Power 3.0 podcast examines how modern authoritarian regimes like those in China and Russia have in some ways leapfrogged democracies through exploiting aspects of globalization: the interconnected economic and financial system; communication technologies, social media networks and other features of the Internet; international norms and institutions; global media; academic openness and exchange; and culture. Power 3.0 is hosted by NED Vice President for Studies and Analysis Christopher Walker and Senior Director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies John Glenn.
For further discussion and resources, visit the Power 3.0 blog, www.power3point0.org
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EPISODE 30: KNOWLEDGE GAPS IN EXPOSING CHINA’S AUTHORITARIAN INFLUENCE: CROSS-REGIONAL CONVERSATIONS WITH JOHN FITZGERALD, NIVA YAU, AND TTCAT
As the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has become more authoritarian and closed to the world in recent years, its global influence has risen even more rapidly. Civil society and other democratic institutions around the world must grapple with the PRC’s malign influence in many domains, including the information, technology, economic, and political spheres. Key democratic institutions often operate with significant knowledge deficits regarding the Chinese Communist Party’s opaque political system, Chinese language skills, and the ways in which the PRC’s outward-facing engagement is adapting and evolving. How should democracies fill these crucial knowledge gaps? What role can key diaspora, academic institutions, and civil society organizations play at a global level to shrink such deficits?
Journal of Democracy author and Professor at Australia’s Swinburne University of Technology John Fitzgerald, Hong Kong native and Advisor at Central Asia’s OSCE Academy Niva Yau, and CEO of Taiwan’s Doublethink Lab TtCat discussed how their societies have leveraged expertise on China to address democratic vulnerabilities, and how others might be able to do the same. Christopher Walker, vice president for studies and analysis and the National Endowment for Democracy, and Kevin Sheives, deputy director at the International Forum for Democratic Studies, co-hosted the conversations.
EPISODE 28: KLEPTOCRATIC NETWORKS IN ANGOLA: TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK? A CONVERSATION WITH RAFAEL MARQUES
EPISODE 27: TURNING THE TABLES ON RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION IN UKRAINE: A CONVERSATION WITH JAKUB KALENSKÝ
Like other autocratic actors, the Kremlin deploys disinformation to confuse the public, attract allies, escape accountability, and strengthen its hold on power. Yet a documented intensification of disinformation operations around the invasion of Ukraine has failed to sway Ukrainians, whose overwhelming support for self-determination has only risen since the full-scale invasion began. In this episode of the Power 3.0 podcast, featured guest Jakub Kalenský discusses Ukrainian resilience against Russian disinformation and his ideas for how defenders of democracy around the world can retake the initiative in the information space.
Jakub Kalenský is a senior analyst at the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats. John Glenn, senior director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies, and Adam Fivenson, a senior program officer at the International Forum focusing on information space integrity, cohost the conversation.
Through tools such as facial recognition cameras and social media monitoring software, artificial intelligence (AI) is offering governments new ways to keep tabs on people’s conversations, movements, and activities. Advocates warn that in the absence of clear-cut rules, these new capabilities could erode the rule of law in some settings and deepen authoritarian control in others. In this episode of the Power 3.0 podcast, featured guest Vidushi Marda discusses the global AI surveillance market, the struggle to set ground rules for emerging technologies, and how governments’ race to adopt cutting-edge tools could threaten the democratic principles of transparency and accountability.
Vidushi Marda is a senior program officer at Article 19, where she leads research and engagement on the human rights implications of machine learning. Christopher Walker, vice president for studies and analysis at the National Endowment for Democracy, and Beth Kerley, a program officer at the International Forum for Democratic Studies, cohost the conversation.
EPISODE 25: COUNTERING KLEPTOCRACY AFTER RUSSIA’S INVASION OF UKRAINE: A CONVERSATION WITH JASON SHARMAN
Russia’s war in Ukraine highlighted the transnational impact of kleptocracy in financing and empowering autocratic regimes. Russian oligarchs living abroad were sanctioned and stepped down from the boards of influential Western institutions, and other measures were taken to choke off this transnational, supercharged form of corruption. In this episode of the Power 3.0 podcast, featured guest Jason Sharman discusses democracies’ remarkably unified early response, and asks what comes next: how kleptocrats might continue to evade sanctions and otherwise adapt, and the challenges of moving from “freezing” to “seizing” assets as an effective counter-kleptocracy measure.
Jason Sharman is the Sir Patrick Sheehy professor of international relations in the department of politics and international studies at the University of Cambridge. John Glenn, senior director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies, and Melissa Aten, a senior program officer at the International Forum, cohost the conversation.
Welcome back to the Power 3.0 podcast! Here at Power 3.0, we explore how new forms of authoritarian influence are reshaping the contest over democratic values. On monthly episodes, we’ll be talking with remarkable guests about their expertise and personal experiences. You’ll hear from civil society activists, journalists, researchers, and other leaders on the frontlines of the fight to defend democracy. Through these conversations, we’ll tackle some of the most pressing global challenges to democracy and deepen our understanding of the modern authoritarian playbook. The fight for democracy is personal for many of us—and it’s about more than playing defense. We hope the inspirational stories we share on this podcast will energize on-the-ground efforts to bolster democratic resilience.
In this episode, International Forum program officer Dean Jackson interviews three experts about how COVID-19 has accelerated disinformation challenges that undermine the integrity of the information space, and how public officials, civil society actors, and technology platforms can facilitate more effective communication of facts in an increasingly crowded information environment. Featured guests include Vladimir Rouvinski, associate professor of political science at Icesi University in Colombia; Renee DiResta, research manager at the Stanford Internet Observatory; and Will Moy, founder and CEO of Full-Fact, an independent fact-checking charity based in the United Kingdom.
In this episode, featured guest Mareike Ohlberg discusses how the Chinese Communist Party targets decision makers abroad through a mix of coercive, corrupting, and censorship-inducing strategies, with the aim of influencing narratives about the Party’s domestic and international legitimacy. Mareike Ohlberg is a senior fellow in the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund, where she also co-leads the Stockholm China Forum.
In this episode of the Power 3.0 podcast, featured guest Claire Wardle discusses how the rapid spread of misinformation and disinformation has disrupted the global media space and offers suggestions for how journalists, media, digital platforms, and other civil society organizations can respond more effectively while preserving free expression and democratic institutions. Claire Wardle is executive director of First Draft.
In this episode of the Power 3.0 podcast, featured guest Jamie Fly discusses mounting pressures facing independent media outlets around the world, ranging from intensifying economic constraints resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, to increased competition from ambitious authoritarian and illiberal actors taking advantage of the crisis. Jamie Fly is president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
In this episode of the Power 3.0 podcast, featured guest Lucrezia Poggetti discusses the evolving dynamics of Beijing’s influence operations in the European Union—and in her own native Italy—in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as how various European audiences have reacted to China’s “mask diplomacy.” Lucrezia Poggetti is an analyst at the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) in Berlin, Germany, where her research focuses on Europe-China relations.
In this episode of the Power 3.0 podcast, featured guest Samuel Woolley discusses how human psychology helps drive individuals to share, consume, and believe disinformation, how these processes are already impacting politics globally, and how emerging technologies might exacerbate the challenge. Samuel Woolley is an assistant professor at UT-Austin’s Moody College of Communication and program director of disinformation research at the Center for Media Engagement at UT.
In this episode of the Power 3.0 podcast, featured guest Natalia Antelava discusses innovative approaches to reporting on two dual trends—the disinformation crisis and the impact of authoritarian technologies—in an increasingly crowded and noisy global information space. Natalia Antelava is co-founder and editor in chief of the award-winning media start-up Coda Story, an outlet dedicated to sustained, in-depth reporting on key trends that covers stories within a larger context.
In this episode of the Power 3.0 podcast, featured guest Miranda Patrucic discusses how the cross-border networking of investigative journalists can be an effective tool for countering the challenge of modern transnational kleptocracy by following the money across international borders. Miranda Patrucic is an investigative reporter and regional editor for the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) focusing on Central Asia, the Balkans, and the Caucasus.
In this episode of the Power 3.0 podcast, featured guest Sam Gregory discusses how synthetic media produced by artificial intelligence, often referred to as “deepfakes,” may soon be used by malicious actors to undermine democracy—and how civil society can prepare for this challenge. Sam Gregory is program director of WITNESS, where he has led a series of strategic shifts responding to complex and changing realities around technology, social media, and human rights.
In this episode of the Power 3.0 podcast, featured guest Tutu Alicante discusses the transnational elements of Equatorial Guinea’s kleptocracy, including its impact on regional and international institutions, and how coalitions of transnational civil society groups can respond.
In this episode, featured guest Peter Pomerantsev discusses how changes in the modern information environment have been exploited by malign actors and facilitated the spread of disinformation around the world. Peter Pomerantsev is a senior visiting fellow and co-director of the Arena program at the Institute of Global Affairs at the London School of Economics. His newest book, This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality, travels to the frontlines of the disinformation age.
In this episode, featured guest Marietje Schaake discusses why democracy and human rights matter for the development and application of emerging technologies and offers ideas for identifying and establishing democratic governance norms in the context of the current technology revolution. Marietje Schaake is a former member of the European Parliament representing the Netherlands who is joining Stanford University as the first international policy director for the Cyber Policy Center, and as an international policy fellow for the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence.
Episode 11: DICTATORS IN MONEYLAND
In this episode, featured guest Oliver Bullough discusses how transnational kleptocracy—the process by which illicit money is stolen in one location, laundered through anonymous off-shore vehicles, and spent in jurisdictions where it is safe from interference—corrodes democratic and rules-based institutions. Oliver Bullough is an award-winning journalist, author, and commentator, specializing in the former Soviet Union and illicit money flows.
Episode 10: CONTEXTUALIZING CHINA’S CORROSIVE CAPITAL
In this episode, featured guest Martin Hala discusses the impact of China’s economic and political investments in the Czech Republic and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe, revealing these investments’ surprising ability to influence and impact governance institutions in the region and beyond. Martin Hala is a sinologist based in Prague and is founder and director of Sinopsis.cz, an initiative covering topics related to China in the Czech Republic and farther afield.
Episode 9: CHINA’S TECHNOLOGY-ENHANCED AUTHORITARIANISM
In this episode of the Power 3.0 podcast, featured guest Samantha Hoffman discusses how China’s authorities, driven by a preemptive concern for managing state security, are employing new technologies to augment authoritarianism, with consequences that extend far beyond China’s borders. Dr. Samantha Hoffman is a Fellow at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Cyber Center.
Episode 8: SOCIAL MEDIA AND RISKS TO DIGITAL FREEDOM
In this episode, featured guest Ronald J. Deibert discusses the dramatic shift in perceptions of social media, which principally have been seen as providing space for free expression, democratic mobilization, and citizen empowerment. Increasingly, however, a more problematic underside of social media has come into view that may have the effect of fueling authoritarianism. Ronald J. Deibert is a Professor of Political Science and Director of the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto.
episode 7: DIGITAL AUTHORITARIANISM
In this episode, featured guest Alina Polyakova discusses how authoritarian regimes have bet big on technology—including social media manipulation as well as new applications of artificial intelligence—as a tool to control political debate at home and disrupt democracy abroad. Alina Polyakova is the David M. Rubenstein Fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution and an adjunct professor of European studies at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. She specializes in Russian foreign policy, European populism, and U.S.-Russia-Europe relations.
Episode 6: CURBING AUTHORITARIAN INFLUENCE IN EUROPE
In this episode, featured guest Andrea Kendall-Taylor reflects on the shifting landscape for democratic governance in Europe and assesses the impact of Russia and China’s authoritarian influence as they converge with one another and with other illiberal actors around the region. Andrea Kendall-Taylor is a senior fellow and director of the Transatlantic Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).
In this episode, featured guest Moisés Naím discusses how illiberal political actors and authoritarian regimes are leveraging the increasingly complex globalized information space to exploit societal cleavages created by political polarization, employing a problematic mix of media manipulation and disinformation. Moisés Naím is a distinguished fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is also the chief international columnist for El País and La Repubblica, Spain and Italy’s largest dailies, and a contributing editor to The Atlantic.
Episode 4: Democracy and the illiberal temptation
In this episode, featured guest Marc F. Plattner discusses the convergence of interests between elected populist leaders and resurgent authoritarians and the ways these actors are exploiting the crisis of confidence in political parties evident in a growing number of democracies to undermine democratic institutions and promote alternative models of governance. Marc F. Plattner is founding coeditor of the Journal of Democracy and previously served as a vice president for the National Endowment for Democracy.
Episode 3: The Evolution of China’s Belt and Road
In this episode of the Power 3.0 podcast, featured guest Nadège Rolland traces the trajectory of China’s Belt and Road Initiative since its launch in 2013, with a particular emphasis on understanding Beijing’s priorities and the underlying strategic objectives accompanying its marketed emphasis on overseas infrastructure development. Nadège Rolland is a senior fellow for political and security affairs at the National Bureau of Asian Research, and author of the book, China’s Eurasian Century? Political and Strategic Implications of the Belt and Road Initiative (2017).
Episode 2: New Frontiers in Digital Censorship
In this episode of the Power 3.0 podcast, featured guest Glenn Tiffert explores how structural and technological shifts in the global information environment—enabled by algorithms, artificial intelligence, and private sector hosting services—are creating new opportunities for authoritarian regimes such as China to censor and manipulate information at the source. Glenn also identifies opportunities that the academic community and other information users can pursue to protect the authenticity and integrity of digital information and its sources. Glenn Tiffert is a visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.
EPISODE 1: China and the Global Challenge to Democracy
In this inaugural episode, featured guest Larry Diamond discusses the implications of the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to influence and interfere in the public, civic, and social institutions of democracies, including subnational governments, universities, think tanks, media, corporations, and ethnic Chinese communities. Larry Diamond is coeditor of the Journal of Democracy and a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.