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Robert D. Kaplan

To Save Democracy, We Need a Few Good Dictators

Biden is wrong: People in developing nations want stability, efficient government and personal freedoms more than the right to vote every few years.

History ain’t over. 

History ain’t over. 

Photographer: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images


To organize a durable global coalition against President Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and also for the long term against President Xi Jinping’s China, consider what exactly the U.S. and its allies are fighting for. This may sound like an easy question, but it isn’t.

President Joe Biden talks of Russia’s war in Ukraine as part of a “battle between democracy and autocracy.” But we are not actually in a fight for democracy, however counterintuitive that seems. After all, Ukraine itself for many years has been a weak, corrupt, institutionally underdeveloped basket case of a democracy.