Larry Diamond

Senior Fellow
Awards and Honors:
Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award
(2007)
Richard W. Lyman Award
(2013)
Kenneth M. Cuthbertson Award
(2016)
Biography: 

Larry Diamond is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University. He also chairs the Hoover Institution Project on Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific Region and is the principal investigator of the Global Digital Policy Incubator, part of Stanford’s Cyber Policy Center. For more than six years, he directed FSI’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, where he now leads its Program on Arab Reform and Democracy. During 2017–18, he cochaired, with Orville Schell, a working group formed of researchers from Hoover and from the Asia Society Center on US-China Relations, culminating in the report China’s Influence and American Interests: Promoting Constructing Vigilance (published by the Hoover Institution Press in 2019). He is the founding coeditor of the Journal of Democracy and also serves as senior consultant at the International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy.

Diamond’s research focuses on democratic trends and conditions around the world and on policies and reforms to defend and advance democracy. He is currently writing and speaking about the deepening recession of freedom and democracy in the world in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how to reverse it. He also leads a continuing Hoover project to track China’s “sharp power” projection around the world.  His latest book, Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency, analyzes the challenges confronting liberal democracy in the United States and around the world at this potential “hinge in history,” and offers an agenda for strengthening and defending democracy at home and abroad. A paperback edition of the book with a new preface was released by Penguin in April 2020. 

Diamond is professor by courtesy of Political Science and Sociology at Stanford University, where he teaches courses on democracy and American foreign policy. He is currently offering Comparative Democratic Development as a massive open online course (MOOC) on the edX platform.  And he is working on a textbook that will eventually accompany the course.

During 2002–03, Diamond served as a consultant to the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and was a contributing author of its report Foreign Aid in the National Interest. He has also advised and lectured to universities and think tanks around the world, and to the World Bank, the United Nations, the State Department, and other governmental and nongovernmental agencies dealing with governance and development. During the first three months of 2004, Diamond served as a senior adviser on governance to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad. His 2005 book, Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq, was one of the first books to critically analyze America's postwar engagement in Iraq.

Diamond’s other books include In Search of Democracy (2016), The Spirit of Democracy (2008), Developing Democracy: Toward Consolidation (1999), Promoting Democracy in the 1990s (1995), and Class, Ethnicity, and Democracy in Nigeria (1989). He has also edited or coedited some fifty books on democratic development around the world. Among them are Democracy in Decline? (2016); Democratization and Authoritarianism in the Arab World (2014); Will China Democratize? (2013); and Liberation Technology: Social Media and the Struggle for Democracy (2012), all edited with Marc F. Plattner; and Politics and Culture in Contemporary Iran (2015), with Abbas Milani. With Juan J. Linz and Seymour Martin Lipset he edited the four-volume series Democracy in Developing Countries (1988–89), which helped to shape a new generation of comparative study of democratic development.

Diamond writes a monthly column for the American Interest and frequently writes, speaks, and consults about how to defend and reform liberal democracy. He is a prominent advocate of reforms—particularly vote by mail and ranked-choice voting—to strengthen American democracy.

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Recent Commentary

Is the Third Wave Receding?

by Larry Diamondvia Hoover Digest
Thursday, January 30, 1997

The rapid emergence of new democracies during the past two decades is often termed the third wave of democratization. (The first wave took place from the 1820s to the 1920s, the second, from the 1940s to the early 1960s.) Hoover fellow Larry Diamond argues that the third wave is substantially over-and that we must act now to prevent a reverse wave from sweeping the weaker democracies away.

Prospects for Democratic Development in Africa

by Larry Diamondvia Analysis
Wednesday, January 1, 1997

Although Africa has been one of the least democratic regions of the world, it has been experiencing widespread pressures for democratic change since 1990. Although pressure-from both domestic civil societies and international donors-has failed to bring about a transition to democracy in most cases, it has succeeded in many. Today, about a third of all African countries are at least electoral democracies, and virtually all regimes in sub-Saharan Africa have at least legalized opposition parties. Conventional political science theories view Africa's democratic prospects as grim because of its extreme poverty and deep ethnic divisions. This essay takes a more hopeful and "developmental" view. It argues that democratic change can occur in Africa and must if it is to develop economically. But this will inevitably involve a long-term process of political and social change and, in particular, institution building. African countries need new, more appropriate, and more effective institutions to control corruption, provide a market-oriented enabling environment for economic growth, and generate incentives for political parties to craft broad multiethnic appeals and constituencies. If institutions of governance, electoral politics, and civil society can be strengthened and innovatively designed, there is hope for democracy in Africa. But this will also require heavy international conditionality and pressure for more responsible policies and more effective institutions, as well as greater international support for those African regimes that appear serious about democracy and good governance. African societies are ready for a new democratic beginning, but they require the right institutional frameworks at home and vigorous engagement of the international community if deeply entrenched patterns of statism, corruption, repression, ethnic exclusion, and violence are to be overcome.

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