Cover image for Defiant dictatorships : communist and Middle-Eastern dictatorships in a democratic age
Defiant dictatorships : communist and Middle-Eastern dictatorships in a democratic age
Brooker, Paul.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington Square, N.Y. : New York University Press, 1997.
Physical Description:
v, 223 pages ; 23 cm
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D445 .B765 1997B Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In the late 1980s and early 1990s, as democratic movements swept across the globe, certain dictatorial regimes held fast against this historic tide. As much of Eastern Europe emerged after decades of communist rule, dictators in China, Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Iraq, Libya and Iran maintain a firm grasp on their power. How have these rulers remained so stable?

Illustrating how overt defiance of external military or political foes has been employed with lasting success to shore up power, Paul Brooker examines the political structures of these eight dictatorships as a means of explaining their longevity. An instructive and original survey, Defiant Dictatorships traces rulers and countries remarkably unaffected by the dawn of the democratic age.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Brooker (Wellington Univ., Australia) argues that defiance--mainly of the West--and the authoritarian/dictatorial institutions and structures that maintain that posture help explain the longevity and relative internal stability of the regimes in Communist China, North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Iran. The book covers the period 1980-94, and its thesis would remain valid in 1998 were it not that North Korea, facing an internal economic crisis of unprecedented proportions, has scaled own its defiance and begun peace talks with the US and South Korea; that the Castro regime is quietly looking for ways to mend economic fences with the US; that Iran, under its new President Mohammed Khatami, has reached out politically and economically to the West and the US; and that Libya, still rhetorically truculent and defiant, has now nevertheless become a marginal actor on the Middle East stage and lives off the good will of its European trading partners. The point remains that all of these regimes--Saddam's Iraq perhaps excepted--have found that their defiance no longer pays off as it once did, be it in stability or longevity. However, this book does help explain why these regimes could survive so long--or at least until 1994--in the face of international hostility. Recommended for all levels. V. T. Le Vine Washington University