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Diplomacy CSS Blog

Why China Will Support Russia in Belarus

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This article was originally published by The Diplomat on 31 August 2020.

The political crisis in Belarus that erupted following the August 9 presidential election continues to evolve unpredictably, posing a daunting challenge for Russia in fashioning a response. President Alexander Lukashenko faces mass demonstrations by protesters alleging that the official election results, which showed the president winning a landslide re-election victory, were fraudulent. The outcome of the crisis remains uncertain. As Russia observes the volatile situation, weighing its options for shaping the future of the country, it can expect to receive support from China, which has rapidly expanded its own interests in Belarus.

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Elections

Countering Online Foreign Influence in 2020 Elections

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This article was originally published by Political Violence @ a Glance on 23 January 2020.

Social media has proved an essential tool for catalyzing political activism and social change around the world. Yet, the very features that make it so useful to those with greater-good intentions—scalability, mobility, and low costs to entry—also make it prone to manipulation by malign actors who use it to spread disinformation and divisive rhetoric. These bad actors looking to sway public opinion include both fringe groups and well-funded, highly staffed government institutions. With the US presidential election approaching, voters and policymakers are rightly concerned with what should be done to mitigate the flurry of fake news stemming from beyond the border.

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Security

Your 5 Questions on Russian Meddling Answered

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This article was originally published by Political Violence @ a Glance on 27 November 2019.

In this new series, experts give their quick responses to five questions about the most important news of the day.

What should the United States be most concerned about regarding possible meddling by Russia in US elections?

Jesse Driscoll: I think three things are pretty concerning. First, it’s concerning that the kinds of interventions we have evidence of can easily be “up-scaled” without necessarily violating laws. Second, I find it concerning that the Russian government is so entrepreneurial about identifying polarizing issues that do not seemingly have anything to with US-Russia policy—suggesting they may be fine-tuning models of voter turnout suppression that could induce disgust and be micro-targeted. Third, and most importantly, I think it’s clear that Russia is just experimenting. It’s easy to imagine other countries doing more, with more resources, in the near future.

Categories
Security Politics

Understanding Trends in Electoral Violence: Lessons from South Africa

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This article was originally published by Political Violence @ a Glance on 25 April 2019.

The African continent will see two dozen elections in 2019. While many observers herald this year’s surfeit of political contests as a sign post of the “Third Wave of Democratization,” others are less optimistic, noting the violence that often accompanies putatively democratic elections across the continent. Indeed, the causes and consequences of electoral violence in Africa are currently at the fore of work in both academic and policy circles. And the focus on electoral violence is warranted—in 2019 alone, violence has marred the political process in countries as diverse as Senegal, Nigeria, and Malawi, among others.

Categories
Defense Cyber

Defending America from Foreign Election Interference

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This article was originally published by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) on 6 March 2019.

The United States needs to safeguard the democratic process against foreign interference. It should ensure both the technical integrity of the voting system and that voters are not subjected to foreign influence operations that violate campaign laws.