The Dictator’s Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy

By in Legal Theory & Systems on February 26, 2013

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In this riveting portrait of authoritarianism in peril, acclaimed journalist William Dobson takes us inside the relentless battle between dictators and the people challenging their rule.

We are witnessing an incredible moment in the war between dictators and democracy—waves of protests are sweeping Syria and Yemen, and despots have fallen in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. But the Arab Spring is only the latest front in a worldwide battle between freedom and repression, a battle that also rages in a dozen other countries from Venezuela to China, Russia to Malaysia. It is a struggle that, until recently, dictators have been winning hands-down. The reason is that today’s authoritarian regimes are nothing like the frozen-in-time government of North Korea. They are ever-morphing, technologically savvy, and internationally connected, and they have replaced more brutal forms of intimidation with seemingly “free” elections and talk of human rights. Facing off against modern dictators is an unlikely army of democracy advocates—students, bloggers, environmentalists, lawyers, activists, and millionaires—who are growing increasingly savvy themselves. The result is a global game of cat-and-mouse, where the future of freedom hangs in the balance. Dobson takes us behind the scenes in both camps, and reveals how each side is honing its strategies for the war that will define our age.

2 thoughts on “The Dictator’s Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy

  1. 1
    18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Brilliant analysis, June 13, 2012
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    This review is from: The Dictator’s Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy (Hardcover)

    Every once in a while — and by while I mean at least several years — a book comes along that stops you in your tracks. The Dictator’s Learning Curve is one of those books. Dobson’s well researched and proven thesis of how dictators manipulate the trappings of democracy to in fact become more autocratic is simply breathtaking. The way he demonstrates how Mubarak, Putin, Chavez and China’s repressive leaders all essentially mimic one another in their techinques is extraordinary. The stories of the opposition leaders in these countries, many of them youthful, are heroic. And the timing of this book could not be better with Putin’s return to the presidency, Egypt in transition, and Chavez’s bid for reelection. A book for both the foreign policy wonk and the reader who follows the news abroad but wants a deeper understanding of what’s really happening.

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  2. Leonid Bourikov
    2
    2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Book Review, December 21, 2012
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    This review is from: The Dictator’s Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy (Hardcover)

    The book is amazing, I have read half of it and I am amazed at how little I knew about the world.

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