Author(s): Brian Klaas
An ex-US campaign advisor who has sat with the world's dictators explains Donald Trump's increasingly authoritarian tactics and the threat they pose to American democracy. Donald Trump isn't a despot. But he is increasingly acting like The Despot's Apprentice, an understudy in authoritarian tactics that threaten to erode American democracy. Whether it's attacking the press, threatening rule of law by firing those who investigate his alleged wrongdoings, or using nepotism to staff the White House, Donald Trump is borrowing tactics from the world's dictators and despots. Trump's fascination for the military, his obsession with his own cult of personality, and his deliberate campaign to blur the line between fact and falsehood are nothing new to the world of despots. But they are new to the United States. With each authoritarian tactic or tweet, Trump poses a unique threat to democratic government in the world's most powerful democracy. At the same time, Trump's apprenticeship has serious consequences beyond the United States too. His bizarre adoration and idolisation of despotic strongmen - from Russia's Putin, to Turkey's Erdogan, or to the Philippines' Duterte - has transformed American foreign policy into a powerful cheerleader for some of the world's worst regimes. The Despot's Apprentice explores how Trump uniquely threatens democracy - and how to save it from him.
`Brian Klaas uses his knowledge of the world's despotic regimes to shed light on authoritarian tendencies in contemporary America. A chilling reminder of the very real threats the Trump administration poses to American democracy, and essential reading for those who want to do something about it.' - Anne Applebaum, author of Red Famine`The Despot's Apprentice is morally righteous in the best sense of that word. Brian Klaas offers an erudite and persuasive plea to resist both budding and aspiring despots, both in the United States and around the world.' - Yascha Mounk, author of The People vs Democracy `Thank goodness for Brian Klaas. At a moment of unprecedented political crisis for the United States, he's one of the very few experts to offer a much-needed global perspective on the Trump phenomenon. Trump, he shows, is less an exception than part of an ominous global trend: disillusionment with democracy. A sharp-sighted and urgently needed book.' - Christian Caryl, editor of The Washington Post`s `DemocracyPost' blog`A thorough and thought-provoking primer on the threat to democracy posed by - and I can't believe I'm saying this - the current president of the United States.' - David Litt, New York Times bestselling author of Thanks, Obama: My Hopey Changey White House Years
Brian Klaas is the author of The Despot's Accomplice and a Fellow in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics, where he focuses on authoritarianism and democracy. Klaas received his doctorate from the University of Oxford. He has advised NATO, the European Union, national governments, and major international NGOs. He previously served as a US campaign adviser. Klaas is a columnist for DemocracyPost at the Washington Post and is a regular contributor to USA Today, Foreign Affairs, Newsweek, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Hill. He is also a regular guest on MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, BBC News, Sky News, and National Public Radio. He is an American currently living in London, UK.