Friday, January 11, 2019

US has Stopped Exporting Democracy While Russia and China are Exporting Authoritarianism, Nevzlin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 11 – One of the most threatening trends in the increasingly interconnected world, Israeli-based Russian commentator Leonid Nevzlin says, is that the US has abdicated its role in the struggle for human rights and stopped exporting democracy at a time when Russia and China are dramatically increasing their efforts to export authoritarianism.

            Nevzlin’s observation comes in response to a Freedom House report which concludes that over the last 12 years, its freedom index has continuously falling, especially with respect to elections and freedom of the press (

                A quarter of a century ago, it seemed to many, the Russian commentator says, that “totalitarianism had receded into the past and that democracy had taken firm roots. But now one can see a reverse process,” with the successes of several decades ago not holding or even being completely turned around. 

            “The two main anti-democratic centers are Russia and China,” Nevzlin says. “Both not only have turned to repression at home but are exporting their harmful influence into other countries which are copying their behavior and share their contempt for democracy.” That trend undermines economic growth and threatens international security.

            Historically, the United States was the leader in exporting democracy to other countries, he and Freedom House point out. But in 2017, the Trump Administration “by its words and actions showed its desire to dispense with the principles which American leaders for the last seven decades have been guided by.”

            President Donald Trump expressed his admiration for “the most odious dictators and even has been ready to be friends with them,” Nevzlin says. “The result has been the inability and unwillingness of the Us to promote democracy by means of effectively opposing Russia and China.”

            That has put at risk “democratic values in the US itself,” the commentator says. And Russia and China have taken advantage of this, not simply to get away with their own authoritarianism which Trump doesn’t criticize or oppose but to promote their systems as models for others, something the US is doing ever less to counter.

            “Democracy is the lot of well-off free countries where corruption has been reduced to a minimum and the states themselves are open for new ideas and possibilities,” Nevzlin continues. “But in our time, it has become difficult to support democracy in some countries given the absence of democracy in others.”

            “The realities of globalization,” he concludes, mean that all countries are interconnected, for good as in the past or for ill now.

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