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  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem)
  • Abstract: This year’s Democracy Report shows that the trend of a third wave autocratization – the decline of democratic regime traits – continues and now affects 24 countries. When we weight levels of democracy by population size – because democracy is rule by the people and it matters how many of them are concerned – it emerges that almost one third of the world’s population live in countries undergoing autocratization. Yet democracy still prevails in a majority of countries in the world (99 countries, 55 percent). This section analyses the state of democracy in the world in 2018 and developments since 1972, with an emphasis on the last 10 years. Our analysis builds on the 2019 release of the V-Dem dataset.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Developing World, Democracy, Populism
  • Political Geography: United States, Turkey, Ukraine, India, Brazil
  • Author: Calder Walton
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: Spies, election meddling, disinformation, influence operations, data har- vesting: at present, it seems barely a moment passes without another intelligence scandal breaking on our news feeds. Following Russia’s “sweeping and systematic” attack on the 2016 U.S. presidential election—which was intended to support Moscow’s favored candidate, Donald J. Trump, and undermine his opponent, Hillary Clinton—the media frequently labeled the operation “unprecedented.” The social-media technologies that Russia deployed in its cyber-attack on the United States in 2016 were certainly new, but Russia’s strategy was far from unusual. In fact, the Kremlin has a long history of meddling in U.S. and other Western democratic elections and manufacturing disinformation to discredit and divide the West. Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer, has reconstituted and updated the KGB’s old Cold War playbook for the new digital age. This paper, an exercise of applied history, has two aims: first, to understand the history of Soviet disinformation, and second, to make sense of Western efforts to counter it during the Cold War. Doing so provides policy-relevant conclusions from history about countering disinformation produced by Russia and other authoritarian regimes today.
  • Topic: Elections, Cybersecurity, Democracy, Election watch, Espionage
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Soviet Union
  • Author: Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: This essay is a historical inquiry into the issue of the intelligence community’s standing—its prestige and credibility in the eyes of the executive, Congress, the press, and the public. Its premise is that the intelligence community needs a high reputation for both competence and morality to serve the best interest of national security.
  • Topic: Democracy, Domestic politics, Espionage
  • Political Geography: United States