On June 11, The National Interest published a review of Scowcroft Center Deputy Director Matthew Kroenig’s new book, The Return of Great Power Rivalry. The review, written by Army Special Forces officer Sam Wilkins, is titled “Does Great-Power Competition Favor Autocracies?” Wilkins discusses Kroenig’s primary arguments in favor of the democratic advantage across the geopolitical, military, economic, and domestic spheres. In particular, Wilkins finds Kroenig’s discussion of democracies’ military advantages to be the most interesting and counter-intuitive element of the book; many analysts have assumed in the past that the centralized control inherent in autocratic systems would produce military cohesion and discipline, but Kroenig argues that autocracies often have to divert resources from military forces to domestic security, while disempowering strategic forces due to a lack of trust for senior military officers. Therefore, despite the daunting challenges faced by democracies today, Kroenig believes that they will emerge triumphant in this renewed era of great-power competition, as they consistently have in the past.
It is hard to argue with an undefeated [democratic] record of four centuries and counting.