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As for swords and ploughshares, it is the weapons that are proliferating, not the ploughs. The Russian defence budget has been increasing at 20 per cent a year, while China’s is running at 8 per cent. Nor is there any talk of a peace dividend, as the US pushes its Nato allies to spend more, as it does itself, some of it on sending back troops it withdrew from Europe. As for the triumphs of democracy around the world, the Middle East is a reality check: when the strongmen went in Iraq, Egypt or Libya, or were challenged in Syria, look what happened.

And strongmen are back in fashion. Watching Putin in Russia, Erdogan in Turkey, Sisi in Egypt or Xi Jinping in China toughening their grip on the minds of their peoples is depressing enough. Worse, democracy appears to be stumbling in parts of Europe and the US itself. And worst of all is the spectacle of developing countries concluding that authoritarianism is the only road to stability, and that tough guys are the future.

No one can say we haven’t been warned. The following appeared in the semi-official China Daily seven months ago:

“In the years immediately after the Cold War, Western scholars were quite confident that Western-style ‘democracy’ would eventually triumph over all other political systems, with Francis Fukuyama’s book, The End of History and The Last Man, being a case in point.
“Yet the past decade has revealed many deficiencies in what the Western scholars claimed to be a faultless political system. Western-style democracy, in fact, has failed to solve the social, economic and political problems of even the Western countries.

“In contrast, socialism with Chinese characteristics is propelling China toward realising the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

“China’s democratic system under the leadership of the Communist Party of China is perfectly suited to the country’s present conditions and cultural traditions. Unlike Western political parties that represent the interests of only part of the people, the CPC represents the working class along with the rest of the Chinese people.

“China is the only ancient civilisation that has continued to evolve without a break for more than 5,000 years. And the CPC has inherited, and has been promoting, the cultural traditions of that civilisation with the aim of serving the nation and its people. And contrary to some Western scholars’ prophecy during the Cold War, China is rising steadily while the West remains mired in all kinds of troubles.”
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Julian Pardoe
May 1st, 2018
9:05 AM
This is really a question for GW. Is there a reference for the story about "Russian children maturing quickly"? I put it to an acquaintance who studies the history of the PCF and he was doubtful. It would be of interest to us both to have a date or some other way of verifying it.

Peter Kolding
April 1st, 2018
3:04 AM
The author warns against any nationalist tendencies in Western policy to counter the threat of Russia and China. Yet he ignores entirely that the strength of both these countries has always depended upon the unifying strength of nationalism. The Russians have always fought for Russia first, the Chinese have always been Chinese, the inheritors of the Middle Kingdom. The West, on the other hand, has dedicated itself to 'post-nationalism' and looks upon national loyalty in consumerist terms. (Look at Brexit, with all the rage centred not on the peace and tranquillity that democracy is supposed to promise, but economic advantage instead.) In short, the East is supported by a fundamental loyalty from its people. While the West, a mercenary contract. This is important because the East has retained its populations' loyalty even after suffering millions of deaths at its own governments' hands. The West, on the other hand, cannot even control its borders without being condemned and subverted by much of its own population, without the least concern for the interests of their countries. Worse, in response, their governments take the path of appeasement and slowly, but surely, lose territorial control. It is this loss of territorial control in the West, caused by the policies demanded by post-nationalist ambitions, that have provoked the imperialist designs of Russia and China into action. The argument of the author that it's the personalities of Putin and Xi that propels their actions, but it is the territorial weakness of the West that has allowed this. The West, and especially Europe, has built a society that for all intents and purposes is made up and designed for the exercise of power by an assortment of fifth-columnists-in-waiting. The signal for treachery is simply a refusal by the government to devolve territorial authority to them. Currently, these politically powerful identity groups are happy to allow a limited power of arbitration to the government. But with the example of Corbyn, we see them exercising a far more direct demand for mercenary power. It may be an archaic observation to the post-nationalist mind, but God is always on the side of the big battalions. And the West is determined to be ruled by small tribes and gangs.

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