Journal of Democracy January 2022: Democracy’s Clear and Present Danger, Why Afghanistan Failed So Fast, and Is Tunisia’s Democracy Lost?

Thirty years ago, democracy was on the march. Today, it faces a clear and present danger across the world, and the possibility for global conflict is rising. Is it too late to reverse course?

Plus: Tunisia’s president staged a coup in July 2021, effectively ending the country’s democracy; Afghanistan’s republic imploded in August amid the Taliban offensive and U.S. withdrawal; and China continues to intensify manipulation of foreign media for its own ends.

Read the Journal of Democracy’s just-released January 2022 issue, available for free on Project MUSE through February 15. 

  • In his final essay as coeditor of the Journal of Democracy, Larry Diamond calls this moment the darkest for freedom in a half century. Whether democracy regains its footing will depend on how democratic leaders and citizens respond to emboldened authoritarians and divisions within their own societies.
  • Former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki explains how Kais Saied’s power grab has crushed the country’s democratic hopes, using the old playbook of dictators past and present; Nate Grubman shows how the repeated failures of Tunisia’s once-promising democratic transition created a crisis ripe for exploitation by a populist outsider; and Hicham Bou Nassif argues that the Tunisian military abandoned democracy and became an autocrat’s accomplice in exchange for prestige and political influence.
  • Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili writes that the collapse of Afghanistan resulted more from a faulty foundation and the international community’s missteps than from the country’s supposedly endemic corruption.

Also in this issue:

  • Michael C. Davis examines how Beijing has been wielding the new National Security Law to suppress Hongkongers’ rights and freedoms.
  • Sarah Cook outlines how Beijing is expanding its global media footprint—and in the process undermining free expression, public debate, and electoral integrity in more open societies—and strategies for countering it.
  • Edward Lucas details how autocrats undermine media freedom and weaponize information against democracy, and shares ways that democracies can fight back.
  • Danielle Resnick recounts how opposition candidate Hakainde Hichilema defeated an increasingly autocratic incumbent in Zambia’s 2021 presidential election, ending a decade of democratic backsliding.
  • James Loxton delves into Panama’s emergence as one of Latin America’s richest and most stable democracies despite a turbulent history and rampant corruption.
  • Johan Engvall shows how Kyrgyzstan’s parliament devolved into a corrupt bazaar, dimming its democratic prospects.

Plus an exchange on Christian Welzel’s “Why the Future Is Democratic”:

  • Roberto Stefan Foa, Yascha Mounk, and Andrew Klassen argue that Welzel’s case for a democratic future is based on the mistaken notion that opinion surveys can predict the future.
  • Christian Welzel and coauthors Stefan Kruse and Lennart Brunkert maintain that emancipative values continue to spread worldwide, clearly pointing to brighter democratic days.

View the full Table of Contents

The Journal of Democracy is published quarterly in January, April, July, and October. Members of the press and members of Congress who wish to receive electronic access should email our managing editor. For more information, please visit our website or send us an email.

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