Source: Carnegie Endowment
Author(s): Nathan J. Brown, Katie Bentivoglio
For scholars and many journalists, most non-democratic regimes look the same: they are led and designed by autocratic dictators—or sometimes by small cliques—according to the leader’s whims and interests. “Pinochet’s Chile” was often portrayed as the projection of the will of a single general, and the Chinese political system is seen as the operation of a few leading Communist Party members and state officials. Political scientists have taken great strides in recent years to uncover how dictators design systems and even use outwardly democratic tools like elections to cement their rule.
Such images capture the futility of much authoritarian politics. They demonstrate how manipulative such regimes can be and how much they can use their own rigged procedures to deflect criticism: “we are just following the rule of law,” “we can’t interfere in the judicial process,” and “we have to bow to the will of the voters.”…
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