"Democratic states and institutions are under increasing strain from a potent combination of external and internal challenges. Externally, a revanchist though economically diminished Russia is pressuring the West through its conventional and hybrid military capabilities and through savvy manipulation operations. Putin has seized Crimea, destabilized Ukraine, intervened in Syria, and meddled in U.S. and European elections. A resurgent and far more powerful China is advancing its political, economic, and military influence regionally and globally. Beijing has escalated its pursuit of territorial claims in its maritime domain and is using its economic clout to pressure political systems from East Asia to Europe. These developments are illustrative of a new era of geopolitics, which, at its heart, involves competition over internal political systems."