Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, center, enter a hall in the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow on March 22, 2013. Xi went to Moscow on his first foreign trip as China's new president. (Sergei Ilnitsky/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia's unchallenged dismantling of Ukraine and China's increasingly global economic and military footprint reflect how both nations have gained from centralized political leadership.
While Western democracies shaped much of the post-World War II era, rising competition from these autocratic governments suggests the dawn of an era in which the appeal of democratic institutions is greatly diminished.
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Editor's Note: CIA Global Forecast: Prepare for the Worst
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