Event Summary

On Monday, AEI Jeane Kirkpatrick Fellow Clay R. Fuller presented his new report “Dismantling the Authoritarian-Corruption Nexus,” which explores the national security implications of authoritarian states’ corrupt activities. Dr. Fuller spoke about the ways authoritarian leaders steal from their people, launder stolen funds through Western economies, and use ill-gotten wealth to enrich themselves, fund international terrorism, and eschew Western sanctions.

Alongside Dr. Fuller, the discussion of the report featured Bruce Bueno de Mesquita from New York University and Daniel Twining of the International Republican Institute. Dr. Bueno de Mesquita discussed the role that democratic citizens play in promoting authoritarian corruption. He argued that citizens frequently demand their leaders seek favorable policy concessions from authoritarian leaders, which occurs through bribery in the form of foreign aid. Meanwhile, Dr. Twining pointed to the important leadership role the US plays in supporting more accountable and transparent institutions within the world’s most corrupt authoritarian regimes. He argued that citizens in authoritarian states share fundamental desires for freedom and good governance with citizens in democracies.

After the discussion, the audience asked questions about the role of transnational criminal organizations in facilitating authoritarian corruption and the usefulness of sanctions against strategic allies.

— Evan Abramsky

Event Description

Dictators require more than good stories and parades to earn the loyalty of elites and subdue their people. Illicit economic activity crosses sovereign borders, spreads corruption, and funds further illegal activities within the United States and other democracies at unprecedented levels. Combating authoritarianism and addressing the dark networks that facilitate its corrupt activities are the unavoidable strategic challenges to global security. How can US policymakers respond to the growing national security threat posed by authoritarian corruption without sacrificing democratic values?

Please join AEI for the release of Jeane Kirkpatrick Fellow Clay R. Fuller’s latest report, “Dismantling the Authoritarian-Corruption Nexus,” and a discussion of the national security threat posed by authoritarian corruption.

Join the conversation on social media with @AEI on Twitter and Facebook.


2:45 PM

3:00 PM
Clay R. Fuller, AEI

3:05 PM
Panel discussion

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, New York University
Daniel Twining, International Republican Institute

Clay R. Fuller, AEI

4:00 PM

4:30 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Evan Abramsky at [email protected], 202.862.5892.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is the Julius Silver Professor of Politics at New York University, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, and a partner in Selectors LLC, a consulting firm that uses his game theory models to address government and business problems. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations, a former Guggenheim Fellow, and the 2007 recipient of South Korea’s DMZ Peace Prize, among other honors. Dr. Bueno de Mesquita is the author of 21 books, including “The Spoils of War: Greed, Power, and the Conflicts That Made Our Greatest Presidents” with Alastair Smith (PublicAffairs, 2016); “The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior Is Almost Always Good Politics” with Alastair Smith (PublicAffairs, 2011); “The Predictioneer’s Game: Using the Logic of Brazen Self-Interest to See and Shape the Future” (Random House, 2009); and “The Logic of Political Survival” with Alastair Smith, Randolph Siverson, and James Morrow (MIT Press, 2003). He is also the author of more than 140 articles and numerous pieces in major newspapers and the subject of feature stories in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, US News & World Report, The Independent, The Financial Times, Good Magazine, and a two-hour documentary about his political forecasting. He has a doctorate in political science from the University of Michigan (1971) and doctorates from the University of Groningen (1999) and the University of Haifa (2016).

Clay R. Fuller is a Jeane Kirkpatrick Fellow at AEI, where he researches authoritarian governance, illicit finance, and corruption. He works to illuminate the opportunities and motivations of dictators, terrorists, and criminals who use free markets to consolidate and project power. Dr. Fuller has testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and Helsinki Commission on issues of illicit finance and illicit trade. He has published peer-reviewed journal articles and opinion pieces in outlets such as The Hill, Newsweek, and The National Interest. He has four degrees in political science, including a PhD from the University of South Carolina.

Daniel Twining joined the International Republican Institute (IRI) as president in September 2017. He leads IRI’s team of nearly 600 global experts to link people and governments, motivate people to engage in the political process, and guide politicians and government officials to be responsive to citizens. Previously, he served as counselor and director of the Asia Program at The German Marshall Fund of the United States. Before that, Dr. Twining served as a member of the US secretary of state’s policy planning staff as the foreign policy adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and as a staff member of the US trade representative. He has taught at Georgetown University and served as a military instructor associated with the Naval Postgraduate School. He has been a columnist for Foreign Policy and Nikkei and served as an adviser to six presidential campaigns.

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