A year ago, I wrote about the cracks in Russia and China. Amidst all the talk of the new “illiberal alliance,” a good time to remember they are not ten feet tall: The Autocrat’s Achilles' Heel ⁦
Russia and China—two great powers with autocrats at their helms—are actively testing the durability of the international order.
Great power competition is back.
There seem to be no effective checks to Putin and Xi’s growing ambitions. Both leaders, however, could be making a strategic error.
Both Putin and Xi could be making a strategic error. They are staking their countries' futures, and international trajectories, on one thing: themselves.
Putin and Xi face similar dilemmas as long-time autocrats of large countries: managing brutal elite competition for loyalty and succession, and balancing international ambitions with deepening tensions between the central government and restive regions.
“The Autocrat’s Achilles' Heel “ A terrific piece in by and