World has long been unwilling to be deluded by US-style democracy: Global Times editorial
Published: Feb 13, 2023 12:24 AM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

What is the goal of democracy - is it prosperity or decay, peace or war, unity or division, justice or hegemony? In this regard, Washington is a bad example in its true sense. In his latest State of the Union address, US President Joe Biden once again reinforced the rhetoric of a "heroic epic" where it is "democracy versus autocracy." He emphasized that "democracies have become stronger" and called on people to "unite" against "serious challenges across the world." However, this deliberate gesture of encouragement reflects Washington's sense of crisis. "US-style democracy," which has long been used by the US as a weapon to instigate conflicts, has increasingly incurred alarm in the world, while the banner of ideology can no longer hide the true color of hegemony, bullying and high-handedness.

What happened in Syria in the past two days is a very illustrative example. Syria, which has experienced years of war and turmoil, was hit by a strong earthquake, and people had to dig through the ruins with their bare hands due to a lack of needed equipment and supplies. To add insult to injury, US sanctions have severely hindered the delivery of humanitarian aid, such as medicine, to Syria. Facing calls from the international community to lift sanctions, Washington at first rejected this humanitarian request by using the "democracy vs autocracy" rhetoric. Later, due to increasing pressure from global public opinion, it reluctantly agreed to relax some sanctions against Syria. This shift proves the hypocrisy of the US' so-called narrative of democracy. In fact, it was under the guise of "democracy" that Washington forcefully interfered in Syria's internal affairs, leading to the constant war and economic devastation in the country. To this day, the US military still occupies those areas in Syria where the main oil fields are located, plundering more than 80 percent of the country's oil production and smuggling and burning Syrian food stocks. This is a true reflection of "US-style democracy."

However, Syria is not the only example. It is almost an iron law that wherever Washington peddles "democracy," there is no peace. The Monroe Doctrine still haunts Latin America; the war caused by NATO's eastward expansion is still going on in Europe; years of war have led to huge humanitarian crises in the Middle East; Washington has been inciting an arms race and bloc confrontation in the name of democracy in the Asia-Pacific. These practices have resulted in not only concerns from the international community, but also reflection within the US. An opinion piece on the New York Times in 2020 bluntly pointed out that "in the early 21st century, if any power sought world domination, coercing others and flouting rules, it was the US." "Today the US deploys troops in more than 170 countries. Its military operates against terrorism in roughly 40 percent of the world's nations. Dozens of countries are targets of US sanctions," the article continues. "The US should not continue to pursue global hegemony," read the title of the translated Chinese version of this piece.

Through the results of "democracy" peddled by the US in various countries and regions, it is not difficult to see that under the hegemony of the US-style democracy, bullying, and high-handedness, many ordinary people are suffering from displacement, hunger, and hardship day after day while political elites in Washington are reaping the benefits. Now, the "defense of democracy" has further become the main grip of US foreign policy, obstructing and destroying the democratization of international relations. "US-style democracy" has become a cutting machine that forcibly divides a pluralistic world into three classes. Washington tries to monopolize the definition of "democracy" and, based on its needs, assimilate, isolate, or attack different countries to ensure its own eternal supremacy. But no matter how much Washington trumpets it, the facts speak for themselves.

The core of the hegemony, bullying and high-handedness is extreme selfishness and self-interest, which is the ultimate point of "US-style democracy." In Washington's lexicon, the synonym for "democracy" is "American interests." Hence, whether a country listens to the US is that country's pass to the "democratic club." But even those "democratic partners" who hold the membership can hardly escape US' bullying. Under the Donald Trump administration, there was a US-launched large-scale trade war with the US' neighboring countries and Europe. Now the Biden administration shows no politeness to Europe, Japan, and South Korea in many fields, including the chip industry, and many of its practices are almost tantamount to robbery. Washington is putting on a "Deal with it!" attitude. It can be seen that there is no democracy at all within the "democracy club," as it is still filled with the stench of hegemony, bullying, and high-handedness.

But the times are different. The world has long been unwilling to be deluded by hegemony, bullying and high-handedness shown in "US-style democracy," nor do they want to become a victim of American interests. There is now a strong sense of anxiety and disenchantment in Washington over "US-style democracy." On the one hand, elites in Washington are aware that if the "US-style democracy" is under threat, it will be followed by the possible decline of US hegemony. On the other hand, the trend of democratization in international relations is unstoppable. This is an important reason why many political elites in Washington lament the "demise of democracy." The mirror of history will give the fairest answer to the question of what is true democracy and what isn't.