Democracies are Challenged
As Biden attends both the G-7 and NATO summit, a frequent topic of conversation was the ascendance of Russia, China and Iran. Biden seems to be the total opposite of Donald Trump when he attended the conference in 2019. Trump was energetic and tried to get better trade deals while Biden was passive and quiet. All of the leaders, those from the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan seemed to be in agreement on most issues. Even the Brexit disputes were downplayed.
Brexit and minor disagreements over Northern Ireland were nothing compared to those of the huge, rising non-democratic countries. This is one of the first times where the G-7 called out Russia and China by name multiple times. They issued a statement condemning Russia for interfering in Western democracies’ elections, although Putin said he did not do it. China, it declared, is causing chaos in the East and South China Sea. Declarations were made condemning China for limiting human rights and freedoms to its own citizens in Xinjiang. Not to mention China destroying the agreement it made with Britain to allow Hong Kong to be politically independent.
Yet China and Russia do not seem to be troubled by these hollow declarations made by wealthy democratic nations. Iran also does not seem to be afraid of the G-7. For some time now, Iranian ships despite sanctions have been traveling all over the Atlantic with unknown contents. Iran is delivering relief, oil, weapons and more to its communist ally Venezuela and by extension Cuba. The U.S. and its allies are not preventing autocratic governments from carrying out actions that are illegal by international law. The G-7 and NATO have only issued statements on paper. Trying to lecture the Kremlin and China will not change their behavior. European Union members are securing sanctions relief for Iran while it sponsors terrorists throughout the Middle East. The U.S. needs to win, meaning back up its rhetoric.
Winning means getting Russia to withdraw from Syria, the Donbas and Crimea. A diplomatic victory is when China agrees to dismantle military bases on artificial islands in the South China Sea. Success involves getting Iran to stop arming and funding armed militias and terrorist groups in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq. While winning is important, it should be real focus that makes the world safer and freer. Winning is not reading names of hostile country off a document.
Right now, we have a long way to go. Russia is building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany, undermining NATO. Russia has also cracked down on its opposition including jailing the leader Alexei Navalny. Sanctions on Russia are huge right now, consisting of those from the G-7 countries. However, the sanctions are not stopping Putin from gaining more power and interfering in the policies of other countries.
It seems like we are back in the 1930s with the rise of Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin. Biden needs to start enforcing his stated beliefs such as pledging to come to Taiwan’s defense in the event of a Chinese invasion. Instead of empty rhetoric, we need action. May God help us for whatever will happen in the 2020s.