Autocrats must overcome a range of challenges as they seek to gain and maintain political power, including the threat that comes from both rival elites and discontented publics. The International Politics of Authoritarian Rule examines the ways in which international forces can encourage andassist autocratic actors in overcoming these challenges. Often, autocratic incumbents are strengthened in power by events on the international stage and by the active support of international allies. The book offers a typology of different international forms of influence on authoritarianism, and examines the ways in which external forces shape autocratic rule at the domestic level. The typology distinguishes between three broad forms of international influence: passive influences, unintendedconsequences, and active forms of external autocratic sponsorship. The book focuses in particular on the latter category, and examines intentional autocratic sponsorship in the post-Cold War period.A central contribution of the book is to address the question of how international autocratic sponsorship can bolster authoritarian rule. It highlights the ways in which international sponsorship can contribute to authoritarian practices is three significant ways: by increasing the likelihood thatauthoritarian regimes will pursue "authoritarian practices" (such as coups, repression or election fraud), by contributing to the implementation of those practices, and finally by shielding autocratic actors from international punishment after such practices are pursued. External sponsorship canthus lower the costs of authoritarian behaviour, and protect and shield authoritarian regimes from the negative consequences of their actions. Oxford Studies in Democratization is a series for scholars and students of comparative politics and related disciplines. Volumes concentrate on the comparative study of the democratization process that accompanied the decline and termination of the cold war. The geographical focus of the series isprimarily Latin America, the Caribbean, Southern and Eastern Europe, and relevant experiences in Africa and Asia. The series editor is Laurence Whitehead, Senior Research Fellow, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.