Council on Foreign Relations Press
Since the late 2000s, Southeast Asia's democratization has stalled and, in some of the region's most economically and strategically important nations, gone into reverse. The region's rollback from democracy reflects a worrying global retrenchment toward anti-democratic political change, with significant implications for freedom, health, and prosperity locally and consequences for U.S. interests around the world.
Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia Joshua Kurlantzick details the region's startling democratic regression, assesses the reasons behind this recent stagnation, examines the role of the United States, and offers recommendations for policy options to help support the foundations of democracy in Southeast Asia. This new paper builds on the topic of his most recent book, Democracy in Retreat (Yale University Press, 2013), which identifies forces that threaten democracy and shows that conventional wisdom has blinded world leaders to an ongoing crisis.
This publication has been made possible by the generous support of the Open Society Foundations and the Starr Foundation.
Joshua Kurlantzick is senior fellow for Southeast Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Kurlantzick was most recently a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he studied Southeast Asian politics and economics and China's relations with Southeast Asia, including Chinese investment, aid, and diplomacy. Previously, he was a fellow at the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy and a fellow at the Pacific Council on International Policy. Kurlantzick has also served as a columnist for Time, a special correspondent for the New Republic, a senior correspondent for the American Prospect, and a contributing writer for Mother Jones. He also serves on the editorial board of Current History. Kurlantzick is the winner of the Luce Scholarship for journalism in Asia and was selected as a finalist for the Osborn Elliot prize for journalism in Asia. His first book, Charm Offensive: How China's Soft Power Is Transforming the World, was nominated for CFR's 2008 Arthur Ross Book Award. His most recent book is Democracy in Retreat. Kurlantzick received his BA in political science from Haverford College.
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