Was Democracy Just A Moment?

This is the title of a 1997(!) Atlantic piece by Robert Kaplan, the foreign correspondent and advisor to various elements of US defense and foreign affairs institutions.   I have long recommended the piece as a warning against American complacency about the health of our own democracy, and the futility of promoting democracy in places without the cultural means to sustain it - Russia and China being  prime examples.  Again, strongly recommended -

Robert Kaplan.  Was Democracy Just A Moment?  Atlantic Magazine, December, 1997.

The global triumph of democracy was to be the glorious climax of the American Century. But democracy may not be the system that will best serve the world—or even the one that will prevail in places that now consider themselves bastions of freedom.

Intimidation Knows No Boundaries

This direct threat to a New Zealand academic - her office and home invaded -  is part of the intimidation pattern – transition from hard power to soft power to sharp power.  CCP is always watching.  In this case, Anne Marie Brady has studied Chinese politics, and recently wrote a report describing Chinese government infiltration in New Zealand politics, education, and media.

 What comes after Don’t Be Evil?

 

From a comment of mine in 2015 - We are in the crackdown on foreigners in China (for foreigners, one might read, Americans).  When access to the internet is largely blocked for me, even with a VPN, access for many of my German students is still good.  Perhaps spotty, perhaps needing a couple of different VPN to get around, but it works.

 

Google's problems in China began in 2010, when it began redirecting searches to its Hong Kong site to get around blocking on the mainland.  After some negotiations, and fits and starts on blocking of gmail, Google chose to leave China rather than submit to censorship.  Those were the old days.  To  be fair, Google was doing some light blocking of its own at that time, and the issue as reported was the hacking of the gmail accounts of activists within China, presumably by the government.

Update on the Occupation in Hangzhou - The G-20 in the Potemkin Village                             September 2, 2016

 

First off, let us stipulate –

 

  • It is vitally important for a nation to ensure security during the G20. National leaders will be present, en mass.  With terrorism threats salient everywhere, China wants to show off its prowess as a new member of the elite club.  In Hangzhou, terrorists and protesters,  ils ne passeront pas!
  • At the same time, China shows the major democracies, all of which are G20 members, and the world, that there are ways to ensure stability and harmony. No Seattle 1999 here!   Chinese soft power in action. 

 
The question for the G20 members, all of whom are seeing a Potemkin village Hangzhou, is what cost for stability.