JASON Magazine | Volume 49 | Issue 1 | 2024 | Challenges to Democracy

Dear readers,

This year, nearly half of the world’s population will vote, making 2024 the biggest election year in history. As such, 2024 is not just any year for democracy: it might be the year for democracy. Globally, the demos will cast their ballots and elect whom- ever they see fit; a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

But all that glitters is not gold. To frame the 2024 elections as an opportunity for representative, constitutional governments to trump illiberalism, would be to ignore the elephant in the room — irrespective of our personal political preferences, we must come to terms with the fact that the past years have seen a global process of democratic backsliding. Not only through coups, but through mechanisms like election fraud, illegal referendums, the undermining of judicial independence and disinformation campaigns, we are slowly witnessing the hollowing out of democrat- ic institutions as we know them.

In 2012, the JASON Magazine devoted an entire issue to the topic of democracy. In this issue, published just over a decade earlier, authors reflected on the opportunities of the Arab spring for democracy in the region, Hungary’s position in the Europe- an Union, China’s alternative mode of government, and United States’ aspirations to promote democracy in the Middle East. Revisiting those articles today evokes a sense of disappointment. Neither Hungary, nor the majority of the Middle East have seen any real democratic advancements. It makes you wonder: where did we go wrong?

In this issue, we aim to explore that question: what went wrong? Through several case studies and interviews — focused on local, regional and global developments — this issue’s authors seek to explore what drives democratic backsliding and how we can protect democracy. In a short editorial, we also reflect on 75 years of NATO and its role in protecting and promoting democratic values, individual liberties, and the rule of law

Moreover, in addition to articles and interviews, our magazine will now incorporate the essay format. Complimenting the more descriptive and analytical pieces that are typical of JASON magazine, we welcome writers to critically examine topics related to the field of security. By doing so, we hope to foster dialogue and challenge poten- tial biases of both ourselves and our readership.

Finally, in recent months we have professionalised processes in the editorial com- mittee. We implemented a style guide for writers, established a proposal procedure, and plan to issue calls for articles more regularly. This approach allows us to collab- orate with writers on a project basis, helping them leverage connections with both JASON’s current board and its advisory board. The goal is to ensure the delivery of more engaging and original content.

We hope you enjoy this latest edition of the JASON Magazine!

Kind regards,

Naledi Tilmann & Stijn Willem van ‘t Land

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