Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Published by
Penguin Press (2019-06-11)
Current material
Final Pages
Original language
Politics & government


Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency

by Diamond, Larry

Larry Diamond has made it his life's work both to study democracy and to advise dissidents fighting autocracy around the world. But when Donald Trump won the presidency by openly rejecting basic democratic norms, this lifelong scholar of democracy's struggles abroad felt a horrible sense of danger at home.

As Diamond has long chronicled, democracy expands and retreats in waves. From the 1970s into the 1990s, the "third wave" saw democracy spread through Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa and attempt to take root in the former Soviet empire. But since 2006, Diamond has tracked a global democratic recession. By 2016, illiberal rulers were eroding democracy in Hungary, Poland, Turkey, the Philippines, and more, while China and Russia--the world's leading autocracies--grew increasingly bold and bullying. And with Trump's election, the global retreat from freedom spread from democracy's margins to its heart.

Diamond's core argument is stark: The defense and spread of democracy has relied for decades on U.S. global leadership, including its alliances with advanced democracies in Europe and Asia. If America does not reclaim its traditional place as the keystone of democracy, today's authoritarian trend will accelerate into a "third reverse wave" of democratic breakdowns. That wave could become a tsunami. And that could let Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and their admirers turn the 21st century into a dark time of surging authoritarianism.

But it's an ill wind that brings no good with it. Free governments can defend their values; free citizens can exercise their rights. Diamond explains how we can make the Internet safe for liberal democracy, how we can exploit the soft, kleptocratic underbelly of dictatorships, and how we can revive America's degraded democracy. We are at a hinge in history, between a new era of tyranny or a new age of democratic renewal, and freedom's last line of defense is still "We the people."

Larry Diamond is a professor of political science and sociology at Stanford University. He is also a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, where he directs the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. In 2004, Prof. Diamond served in Baghdad as a senior adviser on governance to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. His books include The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World. He is the founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy and has edited or co-edited some 36 books on democracy.

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Georgian: The Economic Policy Research Center

Quote: Penguin Press

From a scholar who has dedicated his life to studying liberal democracy comes a plan for its long-term preservation. 'Ill winds' are indeed blowing - and Diamond has shown us how to weather and, ultimately, beat back the storm.

Quote: Madeleine K. Albright, former Secretary of State, author of Fascism: A Warning

Larry Diamond nails it. The rise of the authoritarian impulse globally comes at a time when the United States is unwilling to provide the leadership that nudges these countries toward freedom. There will be lasting consequences if we continue down this road. A must read.

Quote: Senator Jeff Flake, author of Conscience of a Conservative

Author's article: The Global Crisis of Democracy - As China and Russia attack free governments and push strongman rule, the U.S. has gone silentand a new tide of authoritarianism is gathering....

Quote: Wall Street Journal

This is a powerful, vital, and essential treatment of the dangerous waters our nation must navigate in this turbulent 21st century. Without steady American leadership - which vacillates too often - chaos and instability will only increase. Ill Winds is a superb cautionary tale and a prescriptive guide as well.

Quote: Adm. James Stavridis, USN (ret.), author of Sea Power

Synthesizing a lifetime of democracy scholarship, Larry Diamond has written a brilliant, sweeping analysis of the 'ill winds' threatening the future of democracy both in America and around the world. Diamond not only provides a powerful, precise diagnosis of the causes of democratic erosion in the world today, but also offers concrete prescriptions for democratic renewal in the United States and around the globe. Ill Winds is a page-turning international manifesto, calling upon 'democrats of the world to unite' to preserve, reinvigorate, and expand those democratic institutions and values that have produced so much peace, prosperity, and freedom in the past. A must read for all, from future heads of state to every citizen of the world.

Quote: Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation

Larry Diamond is one of the world's foremost students of democracy. He has spent a lifetime studying, and advocating, self-government. In Ill Winds, he distills decades of research to explain why Trump is not unique, but rather indicative of a worldwide threat to democracy whose dimensions we must take seriously. He offers astute advice on how we can repair the democratic fabric and stop the rise of dangerous demagogues. An imperative and important read in these deeply troubled times.

Quote: Max Boot, author of The Corrosion of Conservatism

With Ill Winds, Diamond has provided a sobering description of the origins and impacts of the global assault - from both foreign and domestic sources - on democracy, and a thorough, thoughtful, and indeed, hopeful, prescription for what to do about it. His life-long devotion to the study of democracy is clearly evident in the scholarly and authoritative approach. This is a crucial read for anyone who is concerned about current trends, and reversing the insidious effects of the broad-gauged assault on truth that regrettably is eroding our traditional and long-held precepts of freedom.

Quote: James Clapper, former U.S. Director of National Intelligence, author

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