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Alexander Dukalskis

Feb 2, 2022

Making the World Safe for Dictatorship

Oxford University Press 2021

In Making the World Safe for Dictatorship (Oxford University Press, 2021) Dr. Alexander Dukalskis looks at the tactics that authoritarian states use for image management and the ways in which their strategies vary from one state to another, using both "promotional" tactics of persuasion and "obstructive" tactics of repression. Using a diverse array of data, including interviews, cross-national data on extraterritorial repression, examination of public relations filings with the United States government, analysis of authoritarian propaganda, media frequency analysis, and speeches and statements by authoritarian leaders, Dukalskis looks at the degree to which some authoritarian states succeed in using image management to enhance their internal and external security, and, in turn, to make their world safe for dictatorship. The book looks closely at three cases, China, North Korea, and Rwanda, to understand in more detail how authoritarian states manage their image abroad using combinations of promotional and obstructive tactics.

Dukalskis also presents a new dataset--the Authoritarian Actions Abroad Database--that uses publicly available information to categorize nearly 1,200 instances in which authoritarian states repressed their critical exiles abroad, ranging from vague threats to confirmed assassinations. The database is freely available to researchers!

Dr. Alexander Dukalskis is an associate professor in the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin.

This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars. Dr. Melcher also lived in Beijing, China for nearly 10 years.

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Miranda Melcher

Miranda Melcher (Ph.D., Defense Studies, Kings College, London) studies post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with deep analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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