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Not bullets, street power, but the vote

opinionNot bullets, street power, but the vote

Just as it is wrong to be selective about terror, it is incorrect to cherry-pick where attacks on the results of the democratic process of elections take place. President Joe Biden correctly condemned the storming of, among other buildings, the Brazilian legislature and the Presidential Palace. In 2014, then Vice-President Biden cheered on demonstrators in the streets of Kiev who finally succeeded in forcing the elected President of Ukraine to flee the country. Until that happened, Crimea as well as Donbas and Luhansk were still run from Kiev. President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in the “Maidan Revolution” through mobs on the streets rather than lines at voting booths. Just as bullets ought never to replace the ballot whilst choosing a country’s leadership, street mobilisation should never replace voting results in that essential process of democracy. In 2014, a small group of what may be termed liberal fundamentalists decided that Ukraine needed to be cleared of Russian influences. Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland was the point person within the Obama administration in giving support to the street riots that erupted in Kiev and later spread to other cities. Once Yanukovych was ousted, the new administration began the task of “de-Russification” by banning the Russian language in educational and governmental institutions and finally causing a breakaway faction to peel away from the Russian Orthodox Church as the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. There was an immediate response from the Kremlin, which used the military to occupy Crimea and to assist some of the Russian-speaking areas in Eastern Ukraine to secede and form the Donbas and Lugansk Republic. The spasms of street power that rippled across Ukraine changed a country where following the prescription prescribed by Dr Nuland has led to (what remains of) Ukraine falling into a state of chaos and destruction.
The change in the policy of Kiev from friendship to enmity with Moscow had, as its corollary, a further widening of the gap between the western powers and the Russian Federation, an estrangement that was privately welcomed within the Leadership Compound in Beijing. The more the West drifted from the Russian Federation, the greater became the chance that the bloc would seek to propitiate the PRC, an outcome that was predictable except to the master strategists in NATO capitals who were accumulating frequent flyer miles in regular pilgrimages to Beijing. Judging by their frequently expressed undying commitment to defending democracy, it is clear that several policymakers in Washington, London, Paris and Berlin have apparently not been told that China is not a liberal democracy. In fact, under Xi Jinping, it much more accurately fits the description of being in the grasp of authoritarianism than Russia under Vladimir Putin does. In fact, to some in western capitals, democracy seems a curse, for the ballot box has brought to power a chain of left-wing Heads of State that are far from being the flavour of the day in Washington or across the Atlantic. In Venezuela, his clumsy management of the economy and foreign policy would have ensured the defeat of Nicholas Maduro, but his opponent Juan Gaido threw himself figuratively at the feet of President Trump, thereby instantly making himself unelectable. Victoria Nuland has been said by informed voices in the DC Beltway to have been the inspiration for the strangulation of the visa process where citizens of India seeking to visit the US are concerned. This was yet another action promoted by her that must have elicited smiles in Beijing, where there is a palpable fear that the two largest democracies would come together in a comprehensive partnership designed to keep the Indo-Pacific from being dominated by an expansionist superpower. The same sources say that Undersecretary Nuland is the Whisperer-in-Chief to Secretary of State Antony Blinken (whose world view seems not to have travelled beyond the two shores of the North Atlantic), who himself is reputed to be the Whisperer-in-Chief of President Joe Biden. With such staff around the President of the US, it is a miracle that the White House has not yet sparked off World War III, but give it time and it may. The CCP through its infiltration in social media has been causing chaos in big countries. Xi’s charm was apparent in the instant transformation of Jair Bolsonaro (once elected) from foe to friend of the PRC. The replay of the 6 January insurrection in Brasilia portends a difficult time ahead for President Lula. As soon as the riots took place, Prime Minister Narendra Modi publicly backed Lula against the mobs. As he well knows, the only legitimate path to regime change is via the ballot box. That is a lesson that those who differentiate between “good” rioters and “bad rioters” need to keep in mind as they frame policy.

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