Beyond borders

China’s Communist Party took American democracy to task on Saturday, sharply criticising a global democracy summit being hosted by President Joe Biden next week and extolling the virtues of its governing system. Party officials questioned how a polarised country that botched its response to Covid-19 could lecture others and said that efforts to force others to copy the Western democratic model are doomed to fail. Tian Peiyan, the deputy director of the party’s Policy Research Office, said the pandemic exposed defects in the American system. He blamed the high Covid-19 death toll in the US on political disputes and a divided government from the highest to the lowest levels.

Such democracy brings not happiness but disaster to voters, he said at a news conference to release a government report on what the Communist Party calls its form of democracy, which is firmly under party control. Biden, who has made a competition between democracies and autocracies a central theme of his presidency, has invited about 110 governments to a two-day virtual Summit for Democracy starting Thursday. Neither China nor Russia have been invited. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden pledged Friday to make it very, very difficult for Russia’s Vladimir Putin to take military action in Ukraine as US intelligence officials determined that Russian planning is underway for a possible military offensive that could begin as soon as early 2022. The new intelligence finding estimates that the Russians are planning to deploy an estimated 175,000 troops and almost half of them are already deployed along various points near Ukraine’s border, according to a Biden administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the finding.

It comes as Russia has picked up its demands on Biden to guarantee that Ukraine will not be allowed to join the NATO alliance. The official added that the plans call for the movement of 100 battalion tactical groups along with armor, artillery and equipment. Intelligence officials also have seen an uptick in Russian propaganda efforts through the use of proxies and media outlets to denigrate Ukraine and NATO ahead of a potential invasion, the official said. Asked about the intelligence finding as he set out for the presidential retreat at Camp David on Friday evening, Biden reiterated his concerns about Russian provocations. ‘We’ve been aware of Russia’s actions for a long time and my expectation is we’re gonna have a long discussion with Putin’, Biden said. The risks of such a gambit for Putin, if he actually went through with an invasion, would be enormous. This has come at a time when Putin is visiting India.

NT Bureau