Back Why the best way to stop strongmen like Putin is to prevent their rise in the first place. Abel Escribà-Folch i Joseph Wright
Why the best way to stop strongmen like Putin is to prevent their rise in the first place. Abel Escribà-Folch i Joseph Wright
Article published in The Conversation on April 7, 2022
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine presents foreign policymakers with few good options to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin, or to deter these types of aggressions in the future. The U.S. government, for example, continues to push for additional sanctions on Russia in response to news of Russian military atrocities, even though prior sanctions did not deter those abuses in the first place. So it is worth thinking about what policymakers might do to prevent future world leaders from following Putin’s example.
Putin is what political scientists like us call a personalist dictator. The center of power in Russia is not a political party or the military. It’s him, personally. Strongmen’s choices are relatively unconstrained by these institutions. All power is thus concentrated in his hands, including, most notably, personal discretion and control over decision-making and appointments to state offices.