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Tears and fear in quad bids to maintain democracy

“For the first time since 2001, the majority of all states in the world are no longer under the control of democracy,” the borderless Democratization Commission said in 2020. Diversity of democracy A report published by a researcher based at Gothenburg University. “And in Hungary, for the first time EU member states have been classified as dictatorships.”

They call it the “third wave of dictatorship.” The first was the rise of fascism that led to World War II. The second was the unification of the Soviet empires of the 1960s and 1970s.

Isn’t the sad state of democracy today enough to bring tears to the eyes? The most successful dictatorship in the world is the largest ever.The· Chinese Communist Party It is the most permanent dictatorship in modern history. It is also much more formidable, whether judged by its economic, diplomatic, military or technical capabilities.

And in the words of Blinken of the United States, the People’s Republic is “the only competition that can combine economic, diplomatic, military and technological forces to initiate a sustainable challenge to a stable and open international system. The other party.

Biden’s decision to convene Quad’s first summit was not an effort to “contain” China, as if it were possible. It’s more attempts to save democracy.

“I would like to admit,” Campbell told me. “Of course, all these subtexts are challenges that China presents, and last year each country faced serious and nervous challenges in its own way.” From Beijing. Fear and frustration with Beijing attracted the four together.

Xi Jinping Jintao of China.credit:AP

Biden’s United States also confronts China not only as a single country, but also as a system leader. One of the clear differences between China and the United States is that the United States is at the heart of an alliance network of about 40 countries, including treaty allies in Europe and the Asia-Pacific. China has no allies, but on good days there is a rag of vassal states that may include Pakistan and North Korea.

Donald Trump has destroyed this important asset. Trump’s America wasn’t really America First, it was just America. Biden is now reviving the alliance system, like America Plus.

The clearest early example is that the United States is presenting itself to Beijing as a representative of the Alliance Block. As Campbell told me last week, “we are not going to leave Australia outdoors” is subject to China’s economic coercion. “We have made it clear that the United States is not ready to improve relations between the two countries in different contexts. At the same time, intimate and dear people are exposed to some form of economic coercion. . “

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Beijing is dissatisfied with this new American solidarity with its allies. A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry cursed him with a tweet. Is the United States currently switching from “America First” to “Australia First”? “

A top US executive meeting with Chinese responders in Alaska over the weekend spoke to defend all US allies against Chinese pressure and aggression. With the quad, the United States has put India in the circle of democracy, albeit as a “partner” rather than an ally.

As Blinken mentioned earlier, “we are involved with China from a powerful standpoint.” Trump believed that his allies were responsible. Biden believes they are assets.

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As Trump has shown, the threat to democracy is not entirely outside the democratic nation. Division, corruption, prejudice, inequality, “social” media, and the authoritarian impulses of democratic leaders themselves are all enemies of democracy and lurking in them.

Indeed, former Trump spokesman Jason Miller said the former president would soon make it over the weekend. Social media comeback With a new platform he created himself. Enough to make someone a little emotional.

Peter Hartcher is an international editor.

Peter Hartcher is a political and international editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and the Age.

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Tears and fear in quad bids to maintain democracy

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