Democracy strikes back

FROM FAR AND NEAR - Ruben Almendras - The Freeman

World events in the past two weeks were dominated by the meeting in Geneva of the Group of Seven (G7) major democratic countries, and the meeting between US President Biden and Russia President Putin. The outcome of these events are clear pushbacks of these democratic countries against Russia’s encroachment in the Crimea and Ukraine, its disrupting cyber activities in Europe and in the US, and support of authoritarian governments in Eastern Europe and Latin America. This G7 position is also after and against the backdrop of the US, Japan, Australia, and British actions against China’s activities in the South China Sea in encroaching on the territories of the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The G7 is not just holding the “Democratic Line” but is pushing back or striking back.

In recent history, Communism and totalitarian states had its lowest point during the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the subsequent break-up of the USSR in 1991. The cause of the fall was a combination of politics and economics, which were hard to address without embracing a “market economy” which means giving some freedom and liberties that may erode the control of their governments on the people. Russia introduced a semblance of free enterprise in their economy, but it was Deng Xiao Peng of China who figured out the right and extent of economic freedom and state control, and this propelled China’s double-digit economic growth for 29 years. This, emboldened China to spread its brand of state capitalism to other countries with populist authoritarian leaders, and flex its hegemonic ambitions in Asia and other developing countries. Examples are; Myanmar, Philippines, Venezuela, Brazil, and some African countries. The inability of many democratic countries to address the social inequity and social ills, made the new gospel of China’s prosperity attractive to developing countries populist leaders who were just too eager to perpetuate their reign. Note that China is no longer promoting Communism but authoritarianism.

After years of China’s economic growth and strategy to dominate the world with its brand of governance, the rest of the world are more aware of its intentions and the effects on their countries. The developed democratic countries are particularly concerned about the erosion of justice, freedom, liberty, and respect for human rights which are the linchpins of democracy, and particularly with the Uighurs, the Hong Kongers, the Tibetans, and threats to the Taiwanese. Even China’s business and investment diplomacy to the developing countries, have ingredients of undermining democratic institutions in these countries. Russia is also doing the same initiatives in Eastern Europe, but as their economy is not as strong, it is pursuing a gradual armed encroachment and cyber warfare with its neighbors and with the US.

Global awareness of Russia and China’s intentions by the people and governments of the world is the impetus of the pushback or strike back of the democratic countries. That the G7 countries are leading the strike back is important as the small democratic countries are more vulnerable. Now, the G7 countries are matching the “Belt and Road” program of China with a more affordable options with no political conditions attached. The donation of COVID vaccines from the G7 countries will even exceed the Russian and Chinese donations. Fair and equitable trade relations will be pursued with Russia and China, but illegal cyberwarfare employed by Russia and China will have to stop. The red line is marked and will be pushed back.

It is hard to predict what will eventually prevail in the world political stage, but as a believer in the natural moral order evolution of the world, it will be socialized democracy that will prevail and dominate. The world is unfolding as it should, or as God wants it to be.

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