The Rise of Authoritarian Regional International Organizations
Stephan Haggard and Christina Cottiero
The rise of authoritarian regimes is reshaping global and regional organizations and posing challenges to U.S. foreign policy. Organizations once firmly under the control of democracies are being forced to manage authoritarian members. Elsewhere, regional organizations dominated by authoritarian members are cooperating in new ways. The latter problem is visible in Central Asia, where China and Russia play significant roles; in the Middle East; in Africa; in East and Southeast Asia; and even in the Western Hemisphere where democratic backsliding has challenged existing organizations.
Authoritarian organizations play roles as aid donors, election monitors, and even as partners with the west in counterterrorism and peacekeeping. The effect of authoritarian states on regional organizations is understudied, yet the entry of authoritarian regimes into democratic institutions—and particularly the outright control of such organizations—can augment the capabilities of autocratic powers, blunt prospects for democratic rule, and influence economic policy in ways that challenge an open world economy. This IGCC initiative catalogs the effects of authoritarian regimes and organizations on international cooperation, tracks the rising influence of autocratic institutions, and studies their activities and impact.