Los Angeles | In-Person

Is America Enabling Autocrats to Run the World?

Photo by Leah Millis/Reuters. Courtesy of Associated Press.

A Zócalo/UCLA Downtown Event
Moderated by Carol Giacomo, Editorial Board Member, The New York Times

A Saudi journalist living in the United States is murdered by agents of a government to which America provides arms. President Trump openly favors autocratic rulers from Russia to Hungary to the Philippines, and even expresses “love” for North Korea’s dictator. What does it mean when the president of the United States, a country long cast as a defender of freedom, sides with repressive regimes and even withdraws from democratic alliances? Is American financial and rhetorical support for autocrats really responsible for the decline of liberal democracy, or are other factors driving the rise of authoritarianism globally? And what specific U.S. actions strengthen authoritarians around the world—and which policies and institutions might frustrate or weaken them? Director of the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations Kal Raustiala, Washington Post Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah, and UCLA political scientist Richard D. Anderson visit Zócalo to examine how America’s turn away from promoting democracy abroad influences governments around the world.

National Center for the Preservation of Democracy
111 N. Central Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Paid parking is available at the Little Tokyo Mall Public Parking Lot (318 E. First St.). Enter from San Pedro Street. Additional paid parking is available at the Japanese Village Plaza Parking Lot (356 E. First St.) and the Office Depot Plaza Parking Lot (401 Alameda St.).

The Takeaway

The U.S. Overestimates Its Power to Promote Democracy or Enable Authoritarians

Instead of Meddling in Other People’s Governments, Americans Should Work on Their Own Democracy, and Its Credibility

The United States has neither the credibility to effectively promote democracy abroad nor the power to impose its will in favor of or against authoritarian regimes. Those twinned arguments were …