The Democracy Report
The Atlantic's coverage of social and political change in North Africa, in the Middle East, and around the world

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Introduction

An unexpected wave of democratization reshaped the world not so long ago. Could it happen again now?

The Future of Democracy in the Middle East: Islamist and Illiberal

Across the region, power struggles mask a more fundamental divide over the meaning of the modern nation-state.

Should Citizens Have a Right to Rebel?

In a fifth of the world's nations, people are legally allowed to resist leaders who have overstepped their bounds.

Democracy's Deepening Recession

Around the world, the advance of freedom hinges on "swing states." And they're swinging in the wrong direction.

The (Fake) Conspiracy to Overthrow the World's Autocrats

For leaders like Putin, the true threat comes from the forces fighting for democracy in their countries.

From The Archives

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Islam

Can democracy take root in a predominantly Islamic part of the world? Atlantic contributors from the early to the late twentieth century take up the question.

Islam and Liberal Democracy

Is Islam by its very nature antithetical to the development of democratic institutions? A distinguished historian contemplates this difficult question, one whose answer is fraught with consequence for several troubled regions of the world

Was Democracy Just a Moment?

The global triumph of democracy was to be the glorious climax of the American Century. But democracy may not be the system that will best serve the world—or even the one that will prevail in places that now consider themselves bastions of freedom.

What Kind of Democracy?

At a time when citizens of a number of countries in Eastern Europe and elsewhere were demanding the right to self-determination and converting their governments from other power systems to democracies, author Raymond D. Gastil addressed the question of the degree to which civil liberties within a democracy require protection.

China Emergent

In the midst of World War II, as China's Nationalist leader, Chiang Kai-shek, struggled against Japanese invaders from without and the Communist movement from within, his Wellesley College–educated wife decried the exploitation of China by the West and delineated a vision for a more democratic future.

A Plea for the Recognition of the Chinese Republic

About a year after the revolutionary overthrow of the Qing Dynasty, Ching Chun Wang, a Chinese railway official and representative of the emergent republic, makes a case for international recognition.

Designing an Operating System for Democracy

Can an Argentine startup reinvent governance through a smartphone app?

Scotland's Democratic Revolution

Scotland's Democratic Revolution

The Scottish bid for independence could set a new precedent for separatist movements around the world.

A 'Coup' in the Kingdom in the Sky

A 'Coup' in the Kingdom in the Sky

Confusion reigns in the tiny African country of Lesotho.

The Lost Graphic Designs of a Short-Lived Democracy

The Lost Graphic Designs of a Short-Lived Democracy

History nearly forgot the avant-garde, sometimes agitational publishing culture that flourished in the Republic of Latvia between world wars.

Is There a Future for Ukraine?

Is There a Future for Ukraine?

DNA nationalism, Euro-idealism, crony capitalism: Which utopian vision will win out?

The Graffiti That Made Germany Better

The Graffiti That Made Germany Better

Berlin's architecture blends the tragedy of the past with redemption in the present and renewal in the future.

Our Man in Baghdad

Our Man in Baghdad

How America empowered Nouri al-Maliki—and then failed to keep that power in check.

Dick Cheney Just Buried the Bush Doctrine

Dick Cheney Just Buried the Bush Doctrine

The former vice president rejected democracy-promotion in the Middle East. And today's conservatives agree with him.

'There Will Be No World Cup': What's at Stake in Brazil

'There Will Be No World Cup': What's at Stake in Brazil

I witnessed protests before South Africa's tournament, too. But something bigger is happening in the land of soccer.

Does Spain Really Need a King?

Does Spain Really Need a King?

Juan Carlos helped vanquish fascism. But that's a distant memory for Spanish youth.

'Ukraine Is Run by a Guy Who Makes Chocolate'

'Ukraine Is Run by a Guy Who Makes Chocolate'

Interpreting the meaning of an election conceived in chaos

The Thailand Exception: Are Coups a Thing of the Past?

The Thailand Exception: Are Coups a Thing of the Past?

Bangkok may be the coup capital of the world, but it doesn't have much competition these days.

Europe's Democratic Deficit Is Getting Worse

Europe's Democratic Deficit Is Getting Worse

Voter participation in European Parliament elections is low—and getting lower.

What I Learned About the Indian Election at Kebab Stands

What I Learned About the Indian Election at Kebab Stands

Explaining Narendra Modi’s rise, over street food.

The Fall of Thailand's Premier—and Rise of Its 'Juristocracy'

The Fall of Thailand's Premier—and Rise of Its 'Juristocracy'

Is Yingluck Shinawatra's ouster by the country's top court a victory for democracy, or a defeat?

Ukraine's Invisible Presidential Election

Ukraine's Invisible Presidential Election

With Crimea and Ukraine's eastern regions dominating headlines, the May 25 vote approaches, unnoticed.

Modi's Next Race in India's Elections: His Own

Modi's Next Race in India's Elections: His Own

In Varanasi, where the BJP leader hopes to win his seat in parliament, missed calls and unsolicited volunteers shape a crucial race.

Moldova's Separatist Conundrum

Moldova's Separatist Conundrum

Transdniestria, a pro-Russian breakaway province, is keeping Moldovans out of the European Union. Sound familiar?

A Brief History of Soviet Rock and Roll

A Brief History of Soviet Rock and Roll

Was the subculture's birth a CIA plot, as one Russian legislator recently claimed, or a genuine musical phenomenon?

How Russian Schools Are Teaching the Annexation of Crimea

How Russian Schools Are Teaching the Annexation of Crimea

The new curriculum, sponsored by Putin's party, aims to rouse patriotism among young people.

7 Million Afghans Just Dealt a Blow to the Taliban

7 Million Afghans Just Dealt a Blow to the Taliban

The country's election was full of surprises. Will the euphoria last?

The Newfound Political Power of Afghan Youth

The Newfound Political Power of Afghan Youth

The country's historic election is a contest not just of candidates but of generations.

The Biggest Story in Photos

California's King Fire

Why We Tend to Show Our Left Side in Pictures
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