Brian Klaas is a CIGI senior fellow, an associate professor in global politics at University College London, a columnist for The Washington Post, and the creator and host of the Power Corrupts podcast. He is also a frequent television commentator and political consultant. He was previously based at the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford.
Brian is an expert on democracy, authoritarianism, US foreign policy, American politics more generally, political violence and elections. He is the author of The Despot’s Apprentice: Donald Trump’s Attack on Democracy (Hurst, 2017); The Despot’s Accomplice: How the West is Aiding and Abetting the Decline of Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2016); and How to Rig an Election (co-authored with Nic Cheeseman; Yale University Press, 2018). His fourth book, Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us, was published by Scribner in November 2021.
Brian has advised governments, US political campaigns, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the European Union, multi-billion-dollar investors, international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international politicians.
Brian has extensive experience in Sub-Saharan African, Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian and US politics. Previous clients include the International Crisis Group, the premier conflict-management NGO in the world; the Carter Center, a respected international election-monitoring organization; and large private firms. He has conducted field research, interviewing prime ministers, presidents, ministers, rebels, coup plotters, dissidents and torture victims in an array of countries, including Madagascar, Thailand, Tunisia, Belarus, Côte d’Ivoire, Zambia and Latvia.
His writing and research have been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, Foreign Affairs magazine, the Times Literary Supplement, the Financial Times, Newsweek, The Telegraph, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Foreign Policy and many other publications. He is a regular commentator on an array of international media outlets, including MSNBC, CNN, BBC News, Sky News, NPR News, CNBC, Bloomberg TV, BBC World Service, Monocle 24, France 24 and many others.
Prior to becoming an academic, Brian worked on US political campaigns, including as the policy director and deputy campaign manager for Mark Dayton’s successful bid for governor of Minnesota in 2010.
Brian, an American and native English speaker, also speaks French and is proficient in Arabic. He received his D.Phil. in politics from the University of Oxford (New College); an M.Phil. in comparative government from the University of Oxford (St. Antony’s); and a B.A. (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from Carleton College, Minnesota.