Policy Roundup: January 2022

Key policy takeaways from Larry Diamond and Francis Fukuyama on the anniversary of the January 6 Capitol riot; Kathryn Stoner and Michael McFaul on the Ukraine-Russia crisis; and Alex Stamos and Matthew Masterson on ensuring election integrity and protecting election officials.

American Democracy

January 6 and the Paradoxes of America’s Democracy Agenda
Larry Diamond, Mosbacher Senior Fellow in Global Democracy at FSI
Foreign Affairs, 1/06/22

  • On January 6, 2021, the United States suffered its most serious brush with constitutional failure since the Civil War.
  • A global democratic movement will find its energy and conviction challenged as long as it depends for leadership on a democracy as troubled as the United States.
  • The Freedom to Vote Act would address not only the rising dangers of voter suppression and partisan sabotage of the electoral process but two other scourges of American democracy, gerrymandering and dark money.
  • Democracy's defenders should try to energize voters by expressing moral outrage and empathy for people’s insecurity and loss and, when possible, by putting forward charismatic candidates who embody a message of change.
  • In 2022 and 2024, elections must be squarely focused on the question of which party offers the people a fairer economic deal.

One Single Day. That’s All It Took for the World to Look Away From Us.
Francis Fukuyama, Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at FSI
New York Times, 1/05/22

  • January 6 needs to be seen against the backdrop of the broader global crisis of liberal democracy.
  • America’s credibility in upholding a model of good democratic practice has been shredded.
  • The single greatest weakness of the United States today lies in its internal divisions.
  • The U.S. retains a huge amount of economic and military power, but that power is not usable in the absence of domestic political consensus over the country’s international role.
  • If Americans cease to believe in an open, tolerant and liberal society, our capacity to innovate and lead as the world’s foremost economic power will also diminish.



The Putin Puzzle: Why Ukraine? Why Now?
Kathryn Stoner, Mosbacher Director of CDDRL
Wall Street Journal, 1/14/22

  • Putin knows full well that his demands of NATO and the U.S. are excessive.
  • Mr. Putin has a history of using foreign policy to improve his domestic standing when he has felt his status slipping.
  • Ukraine’s struggle to break free of Russian influence threatens to stoke a domestic legitimacy crisis for Mr. Putin’s regime.
  • As analysts and decision-makers try to make sense of Mr. Putin’s next moves in the Ukraine crisis, they would do well to understand that his primary vista from the Kremlin is a few hundred yards out the window and down the Russian street.

Vladimir Putin Does Not Think Like We Do
Michael McFaul, FSI Director
Washington Post, 1/26/22

  • Putin has his own analytic framework, his own ideas and his own ideology — only some of which comport with Western rational realism.
  • The Russian leader believes that the West unfairly dictated the terms of peace at the Cold War’s end.
  • Putin is prepared to risk a lot to revise the so-called American imperial order, especially in Europe.
  • Even if Biden and U.S. allies offered to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO, Putin won’t be satiated.
  • The Helsinki Final Act signed in 1975 represented a major diplomatic achievement to enhance European security. We should aim for a revived version of the Helsinki agreement today.


Election Integrity

Congressional Hearing: Securing Democracy Protecting Against Threats to Election Infrastructure & Voter Confidence
Matthew Masterson, Non-Resident Fellow, Stanford Internet Observatory
Alex Stamos, Director, Stanford Internet Observatory
Committee on Homeland Security, 1/20/22

  • Fund elections consistently at the state, local and federal level.
  • Encourage states to implement paper-based pre-certification audits.
  • Provide election offices more scalable and proactive services through CISA and EI-ISAC.
  • Mandate reporting of election cyber incidents to CISA and the FBI.
  • Establish minimum cybersecurity baselines for state and local election offices and election vendors.
  • Centralize election IT infrastructure at the state level.
  • Support good-faith security research and vulnerability assessments

See All Commentary and Analysis

Receive updates on our policy outreach and engagement straight to your inbox.