Making the World Safe for Dictatorship by Alexander Dukalskis

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Making the World Safe for Dictatorship by Alexander Dukalskis

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KShs6,000.00 KShs4,999.00

Authoritarian states try to present a positive image of themselves abroad. They invest in foreign-facing media, retain public relations firms, and showcase their successes to elite and popular foreign audiences. But there is also a darker side to these efforts. Authoritarian states try to obscure or censor bad news about their governments and often discredit their critics abroad.

In extreme cases, authoritarian states intimidate, physically attack, or even murder their opponents overseas. This book is about how authoritarian states manage their image abroad using both “promotional” tactics of persuasion and “obstructive” tactics of repression. They adopt these practices to enhance their internal and external regime security or, put differently, to make their world safe for dictatorship.

To substantiate these arguments, the book uses a diverse array of data, including fieldwork and author interviews, cross-national data on extraterritorial repression, examination of public relations filings with the United States government, analysis of authoritarian propaganda, media frequency analysis, and speeches and statements by authoritarian leaders.

It builds a new data set—the Authoritarian Actions Abroad Database—that uses publicly available information to categorize nearly 1,200 instances in which authoritarian states repressed their critical exiles abroad, ranging from vague threats to confirmed assassinations.

It also selects three cases for closer examination to understand in more detail how authoritarian states manage their image abroad using combinations of promotional and obstructive tactics: China, Rwanda, and North Korea. The result is a new way of thinking about the international dimensions of authoritarian politics.

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Description

Authoritarian states try to present a positive image of themselves abroad. They invest in foreign-facing media, retain public relations firms, and showcase their successes to elite and popular foreign audiences. But there is also a darker side to these efforts. Authoritarian states try to obscure or censor bad news about their governments and often discredit their critics abroad.

In extreme cases, authoritarian states intimidate, physically attack, or even murder their opponents overseas. This book is about how authoritarian states manage their image abroad using both “promotional” tactics of persuasion and “obstructive” tactics of repression. They adopt these practices to enhance their internal and external regime security or, put differently, to make their world safe for dictatorship.

To substantiate these arguments, the book uses a diverse array of data, including fieldwork and author interviews, cross-national data on extraterritorial repression, examination of public relations filings with the United States government, analysis of authoritarian propaganda, media frequency analysis, and speeches and statements by authoritarian leaders.

It builds a new data set—the Authoritarian Actions Abroad Database—that uses publicly available information to categorize nearly 1,200 instances in which authoritarian states repressed their critical exiles abroad, ranging from vague threats to confirmed assassinations.

It also selects three cases for closer examination to understand in more detail how authoritarian states manage their image abroad using combinations of promotional and obstructive tactics: China, Rwanda, and North Korea. The result is a new way of thinking about the international dimensions of authoritarian politics.

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