Patrick Buchanan: Are the autocrats still our adversaries? | Opinion
When did the political systems of 193 nations become the business of the government of the United States? And who elected us Americans to write the moral code for the regimes that govern other countries?
Consider: Upon taking office, President Joe Biden pledged to focus his foreign policy “on the defense of democracy and the protection of human rights.” During his Democracy Summit, he said the intention of the United States was to undertake the strengthening of democracy and human rights around the world.
Yet no nation bristles more than we Americans when we discover foreign regimes meddling in our politics or our presidential elections.
Why? Historically, Americans have collaborated not only with democracies, but also with autocrats, dictators, monarchs and tyrants.
George Washington danced a jig when he learned that an alliance had been forged with the France of King Louis XVI to fight alongside us in our War of Independence against England from King George III, in the Army of which Washington itself had fought in the French and Indian wars. .
In the War of 1812, the United States fought the same British enemy Napoleon fought, which may explain why the British enthusiastically burned our Capitol and White House in August 1814.
During World War I, we Americans “making the world safe for democracy” were wartime allies of the British, French, Russian and Japanese Empires.
At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson signed the documents that divided up Germanic lands and peoples against their will and in violation of Wilson’s doctrine of self-determination.
Against Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany from 1941 to 1945, our main allies, whose armies fought most of the fighting and killed, were Joseph Stalin and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek. Neither was a Democrat.
During the Cold War, we were sometimes allied with South Korean dictators, Argentinian generals, Greek colonels, the Shah of Iran, General Augusto Pinochet of Chile, Latin American despots, African kleptocrats and various members of the the royal family of the Middle East.
The biggest democracy in the world during the Cold War was India, which sided with Moscow, while autocratic and Muslim Pakistan sided with us.
President Richard Nixon’s great diplomatic achievement, the 1972 opening to China, established a detente between the world’s greatest democracy and its most monstrous and murderous tyranny. The American elites were thrilled.
The interest of recitation? In times of crisis for our republic, we have often found allies in autocrats and dictators while democracies like India and Sweden have remained fundamentally neutral.
Nations judge their friends not by the ideology they profess, but by the way they behave in times of crisis.
When the Yom Kippur War broke out in 1973, autocratic Portugal allowed the use of the Azores for American planes carrying tanks and guns to Israel. Some of our other allies have remained neutral.
Lately, we have preached the superiority of our democracy as a political system for all people, because it manifests âuniversal valuesâ.
But if tomorrow the kings of Morocco, Jordan, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and the emirs of Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, fell into popular uprisings in the name of democracy, how good would that be for United States ?
Ten years ago, when the Arab Spring produced free elections in Egypt and the Palestinian territories, the big winners were the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
Again, when did the political systems of foreign nations that neither threaten nor attack us become an American concern?
When did they become part of our business?
During the Cold War, Stalin imposed communism on half of the Europe he had conquered during World War II. Nikita Khrushchev shouted: âWe are going to bury you! And, “Your grandchildren will live under communism.”
But Russian President Vladimir Putin does not say: “Your grandchildren will live under communism” or under autocracy. Or under Russian rule.
Xi Jinping’s China, which advocates the supremacy of its system, does not seek to impose communist ideology on its neighbors who have not adopted it either.
China is a communist at heart, but outside the territories it claims to be its own – such as Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Inner Mongolia – it does not impose its ideology. It does not impose the rule of the Communist Party.
It was the United States under President George W. Bush that preached a global crusade for democracy. It is the United States which today supports the colored revolutions to overthrow the regimes of the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East.
It is the United States whose National Endowment for Democracy and its affiliates, and government-backed NGOs, continually interfere in the internal affairs of other nations to extend our democratic ideology.
Most autocrats are nationalists, not transnational crusaders.
It is not Putin who divides the world on the basis of ideology.
It is Biden who sees the world as divided between saints and sinners, Democrats and autocrats and, through coercion and conversion, seeks to enlarge the camp of the saints. Pakistan is invited to the summit of democracy, while NATO ally Hungary is ostracized.
In the great power struggle of the present, between America, Russia and China, it is the Americans who wage relentless ideological wars. And ideological wars often end in wars of shooting.