Russia and China are crushing freedom. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are doing this openly, in full view of the media. They are both bold and aggressive in their coming response to large pro-democracy demonstrations. Putin’s government is back to its old Cold War tricks, attempting to cover up failed weapons tests and dangerous nuclear accidents.
In Hong Kong, up to a million protesters, desperately clinging to the last vestiges of western democracy and freedom, see what’s about to come.
“Radical Hong Kong protesters have repeatedly used extremely dangerous tools to attack police officers,” Yang Guang, a spokesman for the Chinese government’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said in a news briefing on Monday, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.“China media says Hong Kong protesters are ‘asking for self-destruction’ as military assembles nearby,” CNBC, August 13, 2019
In Moscow, a city council election where opposition candidates were barred from running prompted up to a reported crowd of 50,000 demonstrators to gather. Past demonstrations have been met with blunt and violent police response, and mass arrests.
These are not the actions of nations seeking to expand freedom. These are the actions of despotic dictators, brutal communists, and single-party kleptocracies. When such powerful and, frankly, evil, governments are given a free hand to crush opposition and ratchet up military capabilities without even a whimper from the United States, we are headed in the very dangerous direction. History shows this.
Meanwhile, the American media and political punditry is engaged in the most cynical navel-gazing. I’m not making light of Jeffrey Epstein’s death or of the increasing pace of political and nihilistic mass violence (yes, using guns). But if our president wants to redirect the spotlight, perhaps he’s doing it wrong.
Or perhaps President Trump has a reason for leaving China alone; a reason related to some tariffs, our economy, and his own re-election. If Barack Obama could, in 2012, walk on eggshells while Putin assumed a president-for-life throne in Russia (“more flexibility“), then why shouldn’t we be cynical about Trump’s siding with Xi Jinping on the coming Anschluss from mainland China into Hong Kong?
When the New York Times editorial board gets it right–dead right–with Russia, I know that our government is not reacting correctly by sitting by silently.
We are sitting on our porch, evil clouds gathering and roiling in Russia and China, while we crack a beer and do nothing but watch.