The Foreign Service Journal - November 2017

The Despot’s Accomplice: How the West Is Aiding and Abetting the Decline of Democracy Brian Klaas, Oxford University Press, 2017, $27.95/hardcover, 256 pages. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the world is steadily becoming less democratic. Although the true culprits are dictators and phony democrats, Klaas argues that the West is also an accomplice, inadvertently assaulting pro-democracy forces abroad as governments in Washington, London and Brussels chase pyrrhic short-term economic and political victories—ulti- mately making the world less prosperous, stable and democratic. The Despot’s Accomplice draws on years of extensive inter- views on the front lines of the global struggle for democracy with a wide range of interlocutors. Cumulatively, their stories weave together a tale of a broken system. Brian Klaas is a fellow in comparative politics at the London School of Economics, where he focuses on democratization and political violence. He has advised several national govern- ments and major international nongovernmental organiza- tions, including the International Crisis Group, the Carter Center and One Earth Future. Foreign Policy at the Periphery: The Shifting Margins of U.S. International Relations since World War II Bevan Sewell and Maria Ryan, editors, University Press of Kentucky, 2016, $55/hardcover, $34.49/Kindle, 386 pages. As American interests assumed global proportions after 1945, policymakers faced the challenge of prioritizing various regions and determining the extent to which the United States was prepared to defend and support them. Featuring original essays by leading scholars, Foreign Policy at the Periphery examines relationships among new nations and the United States from the end of World War II through the global war on terror. Bevan Sewell, an assistant professor in American history at the University of Nottingham, is the author of The U.S. and Latin America (I.B. Taurus, 2016). Maria Ryan is an assistant professor in American history at the University of Nottingham. She is the author of Neoconservatism and the New American Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). Democracy in Crisis: Why, Where, How to Respond Roland Rich, Lynne Reinner Publishers, 2017, $32.50/hardcover, 231 pages. Democracies around the world are belea- guered with threats frommultiple sources. Where did these challenges to democratic governance come from, and how can they best be overcome? Grappling with these questions, Roland Rich interprets the danger signs that abound, not just in the developing world but in the United States and Europe, and offers innovative strate- gies for turning the tide. Roland Rich is on the faculty of the Department of Political Science at Rutgers University. He previously served as execu- tive head of the United Nations Democracy Fund (2007-2014), director of the Center for Democratic Institutions at the Aus- tralian National University (1998-2005) and a member of the Australian Foreign Service. He is the author of Pacific Asia in Quest of Democracy (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2007). The Dictator’s Dilemma: The Chinese Communist Party’s Strategy for Survival Bruce J. Dickson, Oxford University Press, 2016, $27.95/hardcover, $9.99/Kindle, 368 pages. Many predicted the Chinese Communist Party would collapse following the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989 and as the BerlinWall came down. But despite minor setbacks, China has experienced stunning economic growth and relative political stability. In The Dictator’s Dilemma , China scholar Bruce Dickson offers a comprehensive explanation for the party’s continued ability to maintain high levels of popular support even when its policies often generate resentment. Drawing on public opinion surveys, interviews and published materials, he asserts that the Chinese people today see the regime as increasingly demo- cratic; and even though it does not allow political competition and its leaders are unelected, they prefer that political change occur within the existing structures. Bruce J. Dickson is a professor of political science and international affairs, chair of the Political Science Depart- ment and director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies at The George Washington University. THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | NOVEMBER 2017 43