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

Featured

Democracy Demotion

by Larry Diamondvia Foreign Affairs
Wednesday, June 12, 2019

For three decades beginning in the mid-1970s, the world experienced a remarkable expansion of democracy—the so-called third wave—with authoritarian regimes falling or reforming across the world. By 1993, a majority of states with populations over one million had become democracies. Levels of freedom, as measured by Freedom House, were steadily rising as well. In most years between 1991 and 2005, many more countries gained freedom than lost it.

Ill Winds: Saving Democracy from Russian Rage, Chinese Ambition, and American Complacency

by Larry Diamondvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Monday, June 10, 2019

From America’s leading scholar of democracy, a personal, passionate call to action against the rising authoritarianism that challenges our world order—and the very value of liberty.

Featured

Ill Winds For Democracy

interview with Larry Diamondvia The American Interest
Friday, June 7, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Larry Diamond discusses his latest book, Ill Winds, where he issues a sobering warning: democracy is retreating across the globe, and the foundations of democratic culture are eroding both at home and abroad.

Analysis and Commentary

Threats To Free And Open Societies

interview with H. R. McMaster, Niall Ferguson, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Larry Diamondvia C-SPAN
Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Hoover Institution fellows H.R. McMaster, Niall Ferguson, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Larry Diamond discuss threats to free and open societies and what can be done to defeat these threats across government, the private sector, academia, and civil society.

Featured

Sudan On The Cusp Of Democratic Change

by Larry Diamond, Anne Pence, Mohamed Abubakrvia The American Interest
Friday, May 17, 2019

Larry Diamond is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and Stanford University. Anne Pence was G7/G8 policy advisor at the State Department, senior advisor to the US MCC, a USAID Mission economist in Sudan and is on the Advisory Board of the African Middle Eastern Leadership Project (AMEL). Mohamed Abubakr, a Sudanese human rights activist, is President of AMEL.

Featured

The Global Crisis Of Democracy

by Larry Diamondvia The Wall Street Journal
Friday, May 17, 2019

There is nothing inevitable about the expansion of democracy. Among countries with populations above one million, there were only 11 democracies in 1900, 20 in 1920 and 29 in 1974. Only for the past quarter of a century has democracy been the world’s predominant form of government. By 1993, the number of democracies had exploded to 77—representing, for the first time in history, a majority of countries with at least one million people. By 2006, the number of democracies had ticked up to 86.

Essays

How Will Demographic Transformations Affect Democracy in the Coming Decades?

by Jack A. Goldstone, Larry Diamondvia Governance In An Emerging New World
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

In 2007–2009 a major drought—the worst in forty years—struck northern Syria, the country’s agricultural breadbasket and a region that had already been suffering from loss of irrigation subsidies and water shortages. Syria’s young and fast-growing population meant that over a million people in the region were directly affected by the drought. In “the 2007/2008 agriculture season, nearly 75 percent of these households suffered total crop failure.” Hundreds of thousands left their lands and moved to the cities of Aleppo, Hama, and Damascus. Because Syria already was suffering from widespread popular discontent over political exclusion and corruption, these refugees added to the existing weight of urban misery and anger with the regime. Two years later, when a rebellion broke out in southern Syria, revolt quickly spread to these northern cities and precipitated civil war. The war in turn created millions more refugees, who spread to Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, and then to Europe, where a sudden surge of over one million war refugees sought asylum in 2015.

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“Covert, Coercive, or Corrupting”

by Orville Schell, Larry Diamondvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Beijing has declared war—an information war. A team of Hoover researchers sounds the alarm.

Featured

The Long Game Of Democratic Reform

by Larry Diamondvia The American Interest
Friday, April 19, 2019

A growing array of reformers are coming to see the logic of “master reform,” the one most likely to break the logjam on all the others: Ranked Choice Voting.

In the News

Towards Pax Technologica?

quoting Larry Diamondvia The Hindu
Sunday, April 14, 2019

A decade has passed since Larry Diamond, a political scientist at Stanford University, put forward the idea of a global “democratic recession”.

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