Is Democracy on the decline?
Around the world, democracy is in retreat, authoritarian populism is on the rise, and an era of great-power competition has returned. Democracies today face growing challenges from nondemocratic nations offering alternatives to liberal democratic governance. Authoritarian rivals such as China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran are maneuvering to erode U.S. influence, fracture democratic alliances, and exploit the openness of democratic societies to weaken them from within.
The Democratic Statecraft Lab addressed the problems posed by the twin challenges of authoritarianism and great power competition. Just as it developed a strategy of containment to prevent Soviet expansionism during the Cold War, the United States today requires a foreign policy strategy designed to counter the erosion of the liberal world order. This lab aimed to map the functions of a democratic grand strategy for the coming era of authoritarian rivalry by supporting cutting edge, cross-disciplinary research and teaching to help illuminate and evaluate strategies to preserve the liberal international order.
The Lab ran from 2019-2022 as a project of the Democracy Initiative at UVA.