Why? because he is sure that the US and its allies are unlikely to use military means to deal with the Russian or the Chinese challenge but it may do so with on the Islamist. Perhaps, he even means to shift American attention from the Islamists to the totalitarians.
Be that as it may, he is right to worry even more than he does. Just watch this short film of Russian taking anti-democratic oath. Rachman identifies succession as the chief totalitarian weakness but, actually, as can be seen from the recent Communist party conference, the Chinese have found a solution to that problem. They limit the official tenure of the “supreme leader” to two five year terms and identifying his successor after the first term. Putin is working on a different variation of the same system.
Hence, the challenge to freedom is very real for the simple reason that the foibles of democracy are there for anyone to exploit while the mendacity of tyrants is well hidden. Under such conditions, it is not difficult to imagine Third world elites opting for autocracy and using anti-Western ideologies to sell them to their publics. I am particularly worried about India and Indonesia. The Indian elite is not only rabidly anti-Western but also reflexively anti-democratic. Note that it has not only eschewed the American nuclear deal but opted for a pipeline deal with Iran. Indonesia is a fragile new democracy facing a serious Islamist challenge.
Do note that the rise of Sovereign Wealth Funds(SWF) makes the challenge a totalitarian rather than authoritarian one. Authoritarian regimes did not control the economy. But the Chinese, Russian and Islamist governments not only control the most vital parts of their domestic economies but also positioning themselves to control growing parts of the democratic capitalist system.
In other words, the challenge is real and the outcome far from certain.
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