In East Asia and the Middle East, harsh dictators have maintained power in spite of internal disruptions and shifting global trends. When North Korea’s Kim Jong-il died, experts and scholars who predicted the end of the Kim regime were rebuffed by the stability of Kim Jong-un’s rule. When the Arab Spring swept the Middle East and Syria broke into a civil war, the world waited for Bashar al-Assad to relinquish power, but seven years later Assad is still firmly in power.
Meanwhile, larger authoritarian countries like China, Iran, and Turkey, have moved even further away from an open society as they continue to tightly control free speech, cultivate personality cults, and dispute elections. Are authoritarian leaders learning to backpedal or buck the democratizing trends of globalization, or are these leaders getting better at isolating themselves from the global community?
Join Michael Green of the Asian Studies Program and Joseph Sassoon of the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies as they lead an in-depth discussion with experts Dennis Wilder and Sinan Ciddi about how individual authoritarian leaders have impacted geopolitics of their respective regions and transformed the authoritarian regime model into the 21st century.