The Return of the Men in Green: China, Russia and the New Militarization of Global Politics

Project Expert

Joshua Kurlantzick
Joshua Kurlantzick

Senior Fellow for Southeast Asia

About the Project

In the past decade, militaries around the world have become involved in domestic politics and public policy formulation at levels not seen since the Cold War. There are multiple reasons for this trend, but China and Russia have played a critical role in fomenting, enabling, and accelerating coups and other revivals of military power. China and Russia have enabled militaries to launch and sustain coups or  helped militaries become involved in domestic politics, such as electoral campaigning. This global trend has a range of significant policy implications: for publics in affected countries, including their democracies, rights, political parties, and governance; for the broader future of the global balance between democracy and authoritarianism, as China in particular pushes for an alternative, authoritarian world order and control of more strategic assets and minerals; for U.S. policymakers and other democratic powers dealing with the influence of the major autocrats in important regions; and, for policymakers attempting to navigate the changing global order. The rise of global authoritarianism and militarization—and the novel discussion of China and Russia’s role in this militarization—will make for extensive and thoughtful discussions and ultimately a book on this subject.  

This project is made possible by the generous support of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Project on the Future of Democracy.



The government of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has done little to address Thailand’s pressing issues, and now, after a Cabinet reshuffle and high-profile resignations, it seems to be in chaos.


Myanmar’s civil war between resistance groups and the ruling military junta has reached a decisive phase.


As President-Elect, Prabowo Subianto, widely accused of past rights abuses, is already showing signs that he may further damage Indonesia's fragile democracy.


The current Thai government, which assumed power in 2023, has proven ineffective in tackling the nation’s challenges, while its politics have become increasingly fractious.


Resignations in Vietnam’s top political leadership have exposed widespread societal corruption and prompted a succession crisis for the party. 


Myanmar’s military faced a significant loss in the town of Myawaddy, bordering Thailand, this week.


An anticipated Prabowo presidency poses many questions about Indonesia’s democratic future and global role.


Prabowo Subianto was named the winner of the Indonesian presidential election. But it is unclear which version of Prabowo—the more moderate candidate from the campaign trail or the self-styled strongman—will govern Indonesia.

Southeast Asia

Southeast Asian responses to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza have aligned with each country’s broader foreign policy stances.


As the Myanmar military faces a record level of defections, its control of the country looks increasingly tenuous.
No publications were found for this project.