Ken Roth: How Democracy Can Defeat Autocracy

Kenneth Roth in Foreign Policy:

The conventional wisdom these days is that autocracy is ascendant and democracy is on the decline. But the superficial appeal of the rise-of-autocracy thesis belies a more complex reality—and a bleaker future for autocrats. As people see that unaccountable rulers prioritize their own interests over the public’s, the popular demand for rights-respecting democracy remains strong.

In country after country—Myanmar, Sudan, Russia, Belarus, Nicaragua, Poland, Uganda, even Kazakhstan before protests seemed to have been hijacked by a governmental power struggle—large numbers of people have recently taken to the streets, even at the risk of being arrested or shot. There are few rallies for autocratic rule.

In some countries that retain at least a semblance of democratic elections despite the leader’s autocratic tendencies, opposition political parties have begun to paper over their policy differences to build alliances in pursuit of their common interest in ousting the ruler.

More here.