Editorial: The dictators of Russia and China make common cause against western democracies

Morning ViewMorning View
Morning View
News Letter editorial on Thursday May 16 2024:

​Last night the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, arrived in Beijing for a state visit.

​Mr Putin ought to be an international pariah for crushing political opposition in his country and even murdering dissenters, but far more so after his invasion of Ukraine.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But more than a few nations have maintained normal relations with Moscow since the outrage of Mr Putin’s 2022 attack, in the same way that multiple countries have continued to be cosy with the anti Jewish mass murderers of Hamas.

China is by far Russia’s most important ally, and last night was welcoming Mr Putin as an honoured guest.

In the decades after World War Two living standards in western democracies were easily the highest on Earth, and that model of free speech, a free media and fair elections seemed to be one that would prevail in most places, and go hand in hand with democracy.

Now something nightmarish is happening. China, which is brutally totalitarian and has crushed its media and its newspapers and universities, and which has rapidly extinguished democracy and transparency in Hong Kong to minimal international outcry, has become a massively wealthy global power.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Russia is resisting the Ukrainian fightback, while a vile theocratic establishment in Iran has helped foment a situation in which Israel, the Middle East’s only real democracy, faces an existential threat at the hands of Islamic barbarians.

Meanwhile, China ponders the invasion, and effective destruction, of another enlightened, prosperous democracy, that of Taiwan.

It all seems a long way from Northern Ireland, and interest here in these conflicts is low, beyond naive displays of sympathy for Hamas. But while Stormont engages in juvenile politics, such as embracing woke extremism and spurning even a semblance of fiscal discipline, some dark global powers are joining forces.