UCL European & International Social & Political Studies

Dr Brian Klaas

Dr Brian Klaas

Associate Professor


Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Joined UCL
27th Sep 2018

Research summary

Dr. Klaas is an expert on democracy, authoritarianism, power, US foreign policy, American politics more generally, political violence, and elections. He is the author of four books: "The Despot's Apprentice: Donald Trump's Attack on Democracy" (Hurst & Co, November 2017); "The Despot's Accomplice: How the West is Aiding & Abetting the Decline of Democracy," (Oxford University Press, December 2016) and "How to Rig an Election" (Yale University Press, co-authored with Professor Nic Cheeseman; May 2018). His most recent book is "Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us," which was published by Scribner/Simon & Schuster in the US and John Murray/Hachette in the UK.

He has extensive research experience working in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the United States. Dr. Klaas has conducted field research in six different countries, 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, and Zambia.

Teaching summary

At UCL, Dr. Klaas currently teaches five courses: Global Politics (Undergraduate); Global Politics (Masters); The Crisis of Democracy; Multidisciplinary Social Research; and Politics and Ethics.


Dr. Brian Klaas is an Associate Professor in Global Politics at University College London and a contributing writer for The Atlantic. Klaas is also a frequent television commentator and political consultant. He was previously based at the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford.

Klaas has advised governments, US political campaigns, NATO, the European Union, multi-billion dollar investors, international NGOs, and international politicians. 

His writing has also recently been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, Foreign Affairsthe Financial TimesNewsweekThe Telegraph, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Foreign Policy, Christian Science Monitor, Quartz, Libération (France), L'Express (France), The Globe & Mail (Canada) and many other publicationsKlaas is a regular commentator on a wide array of international media outlets too, 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, Dr. Klaas worked on US campaigns -- including serving as the Policy Director / Deputy Campaign Manager for Mark Dayton's successful bid for Governor of Minnesota.

Klaas, an American, speaks French and is proficient in Arabic in addition to his native English.  He received his DPhil in Politics from the University of Oxford (New College), an MPhil in Comparative Government from the University of Oxford (St. Antony's), and a Bachelor of Arts (Summa Cum Laude; Phi Beta Kappa) from Carleton College.