If the 20th century was the story of slow, uneven progress toward the victory of liberal democracy over other ideologies—communism, fascism, virulent nationalism—the 21st century is, so far, a story of the reverse.

Democratic revolutions are contagious. If you can stamp them out in one country, you might prevent them from starting in others.

How have modern autocrats achieved such impunity? In part by persuading so many other people in so many other countries to play along.

Even The list of major American corporations caught in tangled webs of personal, financial, and business links to autocratic regimes is very long.

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