By: Donald V. Watkins
Copyrighted and Published on March 10, 2022
An Editorial Opinion
I am an American businessman who enjoyed the privilege of working in over 40 of the 208 countries that are recognized by the United Nations. My business partnerships spanned five continents.
I never entered a new international business market without studying the CIA’s Factbook “Country Profile” on the host country and without checking in with the U.S. Embassy’s Economic Development officer for the country in which I was working.
I am very familiar with Ukraine, which is Europe’s second largest country with a population of 40 million people. My company’s business relationships were with influential entrepreneurs in Kiev. These relationships were cultivated through outreach activities by one of my senior management executives who attended the Hult International School of Business (London) for her Executive MBA degree.
My network of international business alliance partners in the global alternative energy industry exposed me to geopolitical considerations that I never had to focus on before I entered the stream of international commerce in 2007. I never realized the full importance of America’s status as the global “Leader of the Free World” until this event occurred.
Democracy Versus Authoritarian Rule
America, even with all its faults, is the most successful experiment with democracy that the world has ever known.
In our democracy, ordinary citizens elect our political leaders at regular election cycles. Throughout our history as a democracy, our fights in the political arena centered on questions about whether freed black slaves, women, Native-Americans, and other citizens should have the right to vote.
Until Donald J. Trump and his January 6, 2021 “patriots” violent attempt to overturn the certified election results of Trump’s 2020 re-election defeat, America always enjoyed the peaceful transfer of power after a presidential election. America has also enjoyed free and fair elections for those who were eligible to vote. Again, our fight has always been about who is eligible to vote.
Our democracy is envied throughout the world. Nations around the globe have replicated it, to the extent that they could. This is why America is the Number One destination for the world’s traveling public.
The alternative to our democracy is authoritarian rule where a dictator and a chosen oligarchy run the nation, to the detriment of the country’s general population. The most powerful authoritarian governments are Russia and China. Both nations are run by ruthless dictators. Like our democracy, these authoritarian governments attract other countries that are run by dictators.
Today, Russia and China are inspiring a run on nations that are abandoning democratic rule in favor of dictatorial tyrants who run roughshod over human rights. America is the only superpower that can curb this trend.
Will America Stop the “Schoolyard Bullies”?
Russia and China are “schoolyard” bullies. Russia is bullying Ukraine by invading the country with its military and declaring large portions of Ukraine as independent states that are aligned with Russia. Eventually, Russia will take over all of Ukraine and install a puppet government that is loyal to Russia.
Russia’s military aggression was met with U.S.-led economic sanctions which are inconvenient but not crippling. They did not deter the Russian invasion.
China has shown Russia how to capture and conquer sovereign nations. Hong Kong was a thriving democracy just a few years ago. Now, it is under the firm authoritarian grip of China.
China has also signaled that Taiwan, a U.S. ally, is its next conquest. Again, the U.S. has waved the threat of economic sanctions, which have proven to be ineffective against Russia, Iran, China, North Korea, and a host of other “schoolyard” bullies and rogue nations.
Are We Losing the Battle for a Free World?
Whenever Russian and Chinese military aggression against small and fragile democracies goes unchecked, America loses ground in the battle for the free world. Nothing good comes from an expansion of authoritarian governments around the world. The more they spring up, the more our democracy in America is threatened. To them, we are the enemy.
What is most troubling about the spread of authoritarian regimes is the glaring lack of will or backbone by recent American presidents to use America’s military might to defend its allies from Russian and Chinese military aggression.
Barack Obama refused to fight in Syria after he drew a red line, which he dared Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to cross. Assad crossed it anyway, without suffering adverse consequences from Obama.
Donald Trump was quickly disarmed and dismissed by Vladimir Putin after the Russian President stroked Trump’s enormous ego. Once Trump was effectively neutralized, Putin could do as he wished in Europe and America.
Joe Biden’s Afghan debacle let the world know that Biden would not fight any foreign power for any reason. As such, Putin has dismissed Biden as a relic of crumbling American democracy. He does not respect Biden because he knows Biden is not a fighter.
Sooner or later, America will have to stop the “schoolyard” bullies. Their goal is world domination and their leaders have lifetime presidencies to achieve it.
We desperately need a succession of American presidents with the courage to defend democracy at home and abroad. We never want to be anything less than the “Leader of the Free World.”