Freedom & Democracy

Confronting Authoritarian Regimes

Recognizing that democracy is a global struggle against authoritarian regimes like China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran, and developing policies to counter threats to freedom.

Authoritarian powers in places like Beijing and Moscow erode confidence in democracy and expand their influence. They do this via election interference, cyberattacks, disinformation, illicit financing, and targeting dissidents outside their borders.

China and Russia project influence in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, and they align with other authoritarian powers like North Korea. Such alliances pose a serious threat to democracies globally.

Combating authoritarian regimes is most effectively addressed by collaborating with our allies. We stress the need to:

  • Reduce corruption that fuels authoritarian governments
  • Support democratic activists in closed societies
  • Coordinate political and economic pressure on autocrats to isolate them from the global arena
  • Recognize that protecting human rights advances national security

Our Team

Read David J. Kramer's biography.
David J. Kramer
David J. Kramer

Executive Director, George W. Bush Institute and Vice President George W. Bush Presidential Center

Read Jessica Ludwig's biography.
Jessica Ludwig photo.
Jessica Ludwig

Director, Global Policy George W. Bush Institute

Read Igor Khrestin 's biography.
Igor Khrestin

Bradford M. Freeman Managing Director, Global Policy George W. Bush Institute

Read Chris Walsh's biography.
Chris Walsh

Director, Global Policy George W. Bush Institute

Read William McKenzie's biography.
William McKenzie

Senior Editorial Advisor George W. Bush Institute

Read Nicole Bibbins Sedaca's biography.
Nicole Bibbins Sedaca

Kelly and David Pfeil Fellow George W. Bush Institute

Read Victor Cha's biography.
Victor Cha

Senior Fellow George W. Bush Institute

Read Ellen Bork's biography.
Ellen Bork

Fellow George W. Bush Institute

Tom A. Bernstein, Chair

President and Co-Founder, Chelsea Piers, L.P.; Former Chairman, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Mike Abramowitz

President, Freedom House

Elliot Abrams

Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

Scott Carpenter

Managing Director, Jigsaw

Paula Dobriansky

Former Under Secretary of State, Democracy and Global Affairs; Senior Fellow, The Future of Diplomacy Project, Kennedy School, Harvard University

Carl Gershman

Founding President, National Endowment for Democracy

Michael Gerson

Syndicated Columnist, Washington Post

Carlos Gutierrez

Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, EmPath

Allan Holt

Managing Director, The Carlyle Group; Vice Chairman, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Melanie Kirkpatrick

Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

Maribeth Kuenzi, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Cox School of Business, SMU

Nancy Cain Marcus, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor, SMU

Derek Mitchell

President, National Democratic Institute

Natan Sharansky

Chair, Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP)

Craig Stapleton

Former U.S. Ambassador to France and the Czech Republic

Dan Twining

President, International Republican Institute

Kenneth Wollack

Former President, National Democratic Institute