Task Force on US Strategy to Support Democracy and Counter Authoritarianism
Freedom House, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and the McCain Institute have formed a bipartisan Task Force on US Strategy to Support Democracy and Counter Authoritarianism.
The Task Force will address the significant global decline in democratic freedom and the rise in authoritarianism that endangers U.S. national security and the post-World War II political order. The rapid pace of change, marked by globalization, digitalization, migration, rising economic inequality, and the shift in global power balances, has created uncertainty and disruption, challenging democracies and creating a space for authoritarians, populists, nationalists, and kleptocrats to flourish.
Looming political and economic crises exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic threaten the political processes and underlying stability of many democracies. The United States itself is under significant pressure, having recorded declines in major indices tracking democracy over successive years. The nation’s current societal turmoil, specifically the reckoning over the consequences of systemic racism, reminds us that our own journey to an ever stronger democracy is far from over. Not only must we address the promotion of human rights and democracy with humility, but we must also consider new responses that address newfound skepticism to the United States’ traditional leadership in these efforts.
Such profound geopolitical changes demand an urgent, strategic response. Stronger diplomatic, development, and security strategies are needed, as the efforts of successive American administrations have proven insufficient to stem this democratic backslide. Our bipartisan Task Force of leaders, experts, and former policy makers will develop practical recommendations for a U.S. strategy that places the advance of democracy and the fight against authoritarianism at the heart of American foreign and national security policy.
On April 14, the Task Force released its recommendations in Reversing the Tide: Towards a New US Strategy to Support Democracy and Counter Authoritarianism. The report is both a call to action for US leadership and a roadmap for a practical, bipartisan path forward, and proposes seven interrelated strategies for governments, civil society, citizens, and the private sector to confront challenges to democratic values and institutions.
The three institutions are grateful to the Merrill Family Foundation and Craig Newmark Philanthropies for their funding and support of this endeavor.
Sheila S. Coronel
Toni Stabile Professor and Director, Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism, Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University
Ambassador Eileen Donahoe
Executive Director of the Global Digital Policy Incubator at Stanford University, FSI/Cyber Policy Center (Working Group III Lead)
Michael J. Green
Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Professor and Director of Asian Studies, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (Working Group V Co-Lead)
Dr. E. Gyimah-Boadi
Co-founder, Board Chair and Interim CEO of Afrobarometer; Emeritus Professor of Political Science, University of Ghana, Legon
David J. Kramer
Senior Fellow in the Václav Havel Program for Human Rights & Diplomacy and Director for European & Eurasian Studies, Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, Florida International University (Working Group I Lead)
Former Under Secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (Working Group IV Lead)
Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Global Economics and Finance, National Security Council (Working Group V Co-Lead)
Ambassador Sarah E. Mendelson
Distinguished Service Professor of Public Policy, Head of Heinz College in Washington, DC, Carnegie Mellon University (Working Group II Lead)
Senior Fellow, Democracy, Conflict and Governance Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon, Jr.
Senior International Policy Advisor at Arnold & Porter; Former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
J Alexander Thier
Task Force Codirector, CEO of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery, and Senior Democracy Fellow (Non-resident) at Freedom House
Senior Technology and Policy Advisor, Institute for Security and Technology; Founder, Zakem Global Strategies (Disinformation Lead)
Read the Report
Read the report, Reversing the Tide Towards a New US Strategy to Support Democracy and Counter Authoritarianism, by the Task Force on US Strategy to Support Democracy and Counter Authoritarianism.
PRESS RELEASE: Freedom House, CSIS and McCain Institute Launch Democracy Task Force
Freedom House, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and the McCain Institute Launch Task Force on US Strategy to Support Democracy and Counter Authoritarianism