I have known Xi Jinping for a long time. … He doesn’t have a Democrat with a tiny bone in his body, Joe Biden said at his first press conference as president, then he continued:
He’s one of the guys, like (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, who thinks autocracy is the wave of future democracy cannot work in an always complex world.
It is clear, absolutely clear … that this is a battle between the usefulness of 21st century democracies and autocracies. … We have to prove that democracy works.
This is how Biden defined the conflict between America and China in almost purely ideological terms.
Listen … your children or grandchildren are going to do their doctoral thesis on the question of who succeeded: autocracy or democracy? Because that’s what’s at stake, not just with China.
But is this really what the conflict between America and China for economic, military and strategic supremacy is about a competition between two political systems? And does Xi Jinping see it that way?
Does Xi see himself as the world champion of autocracy or as the nationalist leader of the Chinese people and Maos’ successor as the great helmsman who leads the party that decides the nation’s fate?
And are we Americans really the champions of the democracy camp in a great twilight struggle against autocracy?
How, then, to embrace as a NATO ally for 70 years the Republic of Turkey, which is led by the autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdogan?
Our Arab allies and partners include Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, who came to power in a military coup that toppled an elected government. The King and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, as well as the Persian Gulf monarchies, who could rightly be called not only monarchists but autocrats, are also aligned with us.
Are the King of Bahrain, the Emir of Kuwait and the Sultan of Oman in good standing of the Club of Democracies of the Americas?
Unlike the USSR of Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin, China X does not seem to seek to impose its political system on nations with which it has deep commercial and commercial ties like Australia, Japan and South Korea.
Where Nikita Khrushchev thundered, Your children will live under socialism, Xi is not.
Indeed, in the ideological struggle defined by Biden, it seems that it is the United States and Western democracies that demand that China respect our beliefs and values, and not the other way around.
Xi prioritizes China and its own people, the Han Chinese majority, also in the foreground. As for the tribal and ethno-national minorities in China, the Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Tibetans, Mongols, Manchus and Hong Kong people, their rights are subordinate and limited, as are the beliefs and value systems of Christians in most of the 50 Muslim countries.
Unlike the liberal elites of the Americas who celebrate racial, religious, and ethnic diversity, most of China’s top leaders seem to fear racial, religious, ethnic, and ideological diversity as forces threatening the kind of disintegration that plagued the Soviet Empire and l ‘USSR.
And unlike Americans who worship at the altar of equality, the Chinese act on the belief that not all religious, racial and ethnic minorities have equal rights.
And while China’s growth in real and relative power and prosperity over the decades since Tiananmen Square in 1989 has been historic, US politics appear to have grown more toxic and racial divisions more resentful than they are. were not at the end of the Reagan era.
Bidens’ faith in the small democracy also doesn’t seem to have been shared by the men who founded the United States as a republic, if you can keep it. They did not see democracy as an object of veneration but as a danger to be avoided.
Remember that democracy never lasts long, wrote John Adams. He wastes himself, runs out and kills himself soon. There has never been a democracy that has not committed suicide.
Perhaps our greatest Chief Justice John Marshall once said: between a balanced republic and a democracy, the difference is like that between order and chaos.
A democracy is the ugliest form of government there is, said Tom Paine, who was taken over by the father of the Constitution, Madison himself:
Democracy is the vilest form of government. Democracies have always been a spectacle of turmoil and conflict incompatible with personal security or property rights.
At the end of a long life, Thomas Jefferson concluded: A democracy is nothing more than a crowd rule, where 51% of the population can take away the rights of the remaining 49%.
Democracy and autocracy of which monarchies and dictatorships are examples are forms of government and not objects of worship. It is the country that engages the heart, not the system of government by which the country is governed. And it is the country which is the legitimate object of allegiance, loyalty and love.
And that’s the meaning of America First.