A wide variety of governments exist in the world; constitutional democracies, republics, parliamentary systems, and more. One type of government that stands in striking juxtaposition to the aforementioned types is that of the authoritarian regime, a system in which state authority, usually in the form of a highly visible individual, is projected into the everyday lives of a nation’s citizens.
Recent memory shows a variety of authoritarian regimes being toppled by popular uprisings or death, and still others popping up around the world. While some authoritarian leaders have been or are still deeply unpopular not only within their nation but within the international community, others have been able to maintain popular support with various stakeholders. These leaders are able to leverage their authority and affect the international order unilaterally. Our articles examine the evolving nature of some authoritarian regimes, the threats or opportunities for their very existence, and provides an in-depth analysis of individual regimes and the lessons they have for those of engaged with the field of international relations.
The Journal is pleased to showcase the thoughts from several people engaged within our field. We open this issue with Drs. Fidler, Reilly, and Frantz each examining authoritarian regimes from an overarching perspective, each presenting arguments regarding ways in which the Internet is changing the ways in which leaders operate, how globalization is affecting governance, and the various factors that can account for how a leader may act. Following this are two articles from Dr. Lee and Roland Wilson analyzing a pattern of North Korea’s actions, and retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Averna describing how North Korea may be encouraged to continue with the six-party talks given and Kim Jong-un’s rise to power. The issue moves on to Dr. Houghton’s thoughts on Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Dr. Carnegie’s analysis of the lessons of the democratization of Indonesia, and concludes with Dr. Reese’s characterization of the two sides of Paul Kagame’s leadership of Rwanda.
Given the variety of populist uprisings against authoritarian regimes, we hope that you, the reader, find yourself as interested as the Journal staff in the thoughts and ideas presented in this issue.
On a more internal note, we would like to thank the new Dean of the Seton Hall School of Diplomacy and International Relations, Dr. Andrea Bartoli. His support to the School and the Journal in a time of transition is cherished and has been immensely helpful. With his help, and the help of the entire community at Seton Hall, we at the Journal remain a positive contribution to the field of international relations.
Paul “Chip” Palamattam