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The Deterioration of Western Politics Further Harms the World


An analysis in the reliably nationalist Global Times by a senior political scientist from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences argues that American democracy is being subsumed by dysfunctionality and internal chaos.

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Not long ago, Denmark’s Alliance of Democracies Foundation hosted the fourth so-called “Copenhagen Democracy Summit.” This is an out-and-out political farce, but together with the “Global Democracy Summit” planned by the Biden administration and the United Kingdom’s expansion of the G7 into a “democratic alliance,” it has deepened the impression that the United States and the West are pushing the anti-China agenda under the banner of “democratic values.” This also further reveals that the deterioration of Western politics is further harming the international community.

前不久丹麦 “民主联盟基金会” 主办了所谓第四届 “哥本哈根民主峰会”。 这是一场不折不扣的政治闹剧,但它与拜登政府计划举办的“全球民主峰会”、英国要把G7扩大成“民主联盟”一起,加深了美西方打着“民主价值观”旗号推动反华议程的印象。 这也进一步暴露出西方政治劣质化加剧正在进一步贻害国际社会。

The world of today faces the most precarious and complex political situation of the past three decades since the end of the Cold War. With a lack of trust among major powers, increasing international governance deficits, peace deficits, and development deficits, and with political confrontation, value disputes, and economic sanctions in lieu of what once was dialog and cooperation, “chaos and confrontation” has become the theme of global politics, and the political relations between major powers can be described as incompatible and tense.

当今世界面临冷战结束30多年来最危险、最复杂的政治局面。 大国间信任缺失,国际治理赤字、和平赤字和发展赤字加剧;政治对立、价值纷争、经济制裁等取代原来的对话与合作;“混乱、对抗” 成了全球政治的主题词,主要大国间的政治关系可以形容为势不两立、剑拔弩张。

Why has the world descended into chaos? What is the root cause? What is wrong with the world? What does the future portend? These are all worrying questions that we must continue to ask.


The Fruits of the Alienation and Deterioration of Western-style Democracy


A generally agreed response is that the source of the serious deterioration of the global political ecosystem after the Cold War lies in the West, especially the systematic decline of Western politics as represented by the United States. More directly, the reason is that Western politics, represented by the United States, is increasingly deteriorating. The Western political camp produces more and more ideological viruses, public opinion gunpowder, and political garbage, causing waves of serious pollution to surge through the global political ecology. Some Western politicians who lack ethics and professional standards continue to lob inferior political products, worsening the environment for international exchanges and cooperation, interfering with the process of globalization, dragging down the development of economic and trade relations, and disrupting global production chains. What’s more, this also artificially creates enemies and triggers international conflicts.

一个具有普遍共识的答案是,冷战后全球政治生态严重恶化的根源在西方,尤其在以美国为代表的西方政治系统性衰败。直接原因就是以美国为代表的西方政治日益劣质化,西方政治阵营生产越来越多的思想病毒、舆情火药和政治垃圾,给全球政治生态造成一波又一波的严重污染。 一些缺少道德和专业水准的西方政客不断抛出劣质政治产品,恶化国际交往合作环境,干扰全球化进程,进而拖累经贸关系的发展,打乱全球产业链。 更有甚者,还人为制造敌人,引发国际冲突。

In this way, Western democracy, with its alienation and deterioration, has backfired. In recent years, the West has continued to force political transformation in other countries, taking advantage of political expansion, advocating democratic bubbles, inciting street violence, instigating “color revolutions,” infringing upon the sovereignty and security of other countries, and spreading clashes of civilizations and instigating a rise in terrorism. Yet, Western political expansion has not only failed to bring democracy and freedom to the world but has instead overextended itself. Instead of serving as a benefit to the world, the West has instead become a source of global chaos and disorder.

在此过程中,西式民主经历了异化变质并反噬自身的过程。近年来,西方阵营不断强迫他国政治转型,借机政治扩张;鼓吹民主泡沫,煽动街头暴力,策动 “颜色革命”,侵犯他国主权安全;散布文明冲突,刺激恐怖活动,等等。 但西方政治扩张不但没有给世界带去民主自由,反而造成自身能量透支,入不敷出。 西方阵营非但没能造福世界,反而成了全球混乱失序的病源。

The disease at the root of the disorder in the West lies in the West itself. As early as 2005, former British Prime Minister Blair exclaimed that Western democracy was dead. In recent years, some public opinion survey results have also shown that the opinion on Western-style democracy is that it is a failure. Westerners, especially younger generations, have declining confidence and trust in Western-style democracy year by year, and American confidence in the democratic system has dropped to its lowest point in 20 years. American society has become more torn apart, money politics has distorted public opinion, elections have become a “one-man show” of tycoons and oligarchs, and racial discrimination and the politics of hate have intensified, impacting the very foundation of American politics. More and more scholars have even pointed out that the alienation and deterioration of Western-style democracy has intensified or that it may be submerged by populism or eroded by chauvinism, xenophobia, and fascism.

西方之乱,病在自身。 早在2005年,英国前首相布莱尔就惊呼西方民主已死。 近年来一些民意调查结果也显示,西式民主频频失灵,而西方民众尤其青年一代对西式民主的信心与信任逐年下降,美国人对民主制度的信心更是下降至20年来最低点。 美国社会撕裂加剧,金钱政治扭曲民意,选举成为财阀寡头的 “独角戏”,种族歧视、仇恨政治愈演愈烈,冲击着美国政治的根基。 乃至越来越多的学者提出,西式民主异化变质加剧,或被民粹主义淹没,或被沙文主义、排外行为以及法西斯主义侵蚀。

The 2008 global financial crisis has so far been regarded as a watershed in Western politics, revealing that the West is deeply entrenched in a political dilemma and that it will be difficult for it to survive on its own. At that time, the international financier George Soros wrote in the American media that world history may have entered a “dark period” and that Europe may fall into chaos and conflict. With regards to the political dilemma in the United States, American political scholar [Francis] Fukuyama believes that the bipartisan competition in the United States leads to political polarization, while democratic bubbles lead to political decline. European political observers also believe that a Europe of “over democratization, “democratic degeneration” and “democratic overrun” will fall into such a vicious cycle.

2008年国际金融危机迄今仍被认为是西方政治的一个分水岭,表明西方深陷政治困境,再难独善其身。 当时国际金融大鳄索罗斯在美国媒体发文称,世界历史可能进入一个“邪恶时期”,并称欧洲可能陷入混乱和冲突。 面对美国的政治困境,美国政治学者福山认为,美国两党竞争导致政治极化,而民主的泡沫导致政治衰退。 欧洲政治观察家也认为,“民主变质” “民主泛滥” “过度民主”的欧洲将陷入恶性循环。

Politics in certain Western countries are now held hostage by the interests of the few, with tycoons and oligarchs in power and politicians in the foreground. Politics often encounter “traffic jams” or “red lights.” The proliferation of political extremism and populism is manifested in the prevalence of xenophobia and isolationism as manifested by political discrimination and religious extremism. Western democracy has deteriorated and gone rotten, and responsibility lies within the Western system itself. American scholar Graham Allison said that the problem in the United States lies in the decline of American democracy, and the decline of the United States is the world’s greatest danger and challenge.

某些西方国家的政治如今已被少数人绑架,财阀当道,寡头掌权,政客在前台作秀。 政治常常遭遇 “塞车” 或 “红灯”。 政治极端主义和民粹思潮泛滥,表现为政治歧视、宗教极端思潮等排外主义、孤立主义盛行。 西方民主已经变质、变坏,而且责任在西方制度自身。 美国学者艾利森说,美国的问题就在于美国民主政治的衰败,而衰败的美国才是世界最大的危险和挑战。

The United States and the West have Wasted a “Period of Historical Opportunity”

美西方曾浪费 “历史机遇期”

Looking back at history, it is precisely because the United States and the West themselves wasted a period of historical opportunity that the world has traveled down such a dark path. The period from the late 1980s to the early 1990s marked the end of the Cold War. Marked by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the post-World War II confrontation between the West and the East, the capitalists and socialists, [between] NATO (led by the United States) and the Warsaw Pact (led by the Soviet Union) ended, and the world entered the “post-Cold War Era.”

回望历史,又恰恰是美西方自己浪费了历史机遇期,几乎将世界带入邪路。 20世纪80年代末到90年代初是冷战结束时期。 以柏林墙倒塌、苏联解体为标志,二战后西方与东方阵营、资本主义与社会主义阵营、以美国为首的北约和以苏联为首的华约之间对抗结束,世界进入 “冷战后时代”。

After the collapse and destruction of the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the United States represented the West on the apex of the world, reaping trillions [of dollars] in “Cold War dividends.” At the same time, however, the West seemed to be suffering from “political fanaticism” – on the one hand, it wanted to export democracy to the outside world in a vain attempt to dominate the world; on the other hand, they perceived conflicts and confrontations amongst different civilizations and religious cultures. As a result, the world was once again divided into two camps by Western politicians: Western hegemony, led by the United States, and the non-Western world of suppressed and sanctioned countries. In recent years, some Western think tanks have advocated for a “clash of civilizations,” “new interventionism,” “human rights above sovereignty,” “new limited sovereignty,” and “democratic mission theory.” On the one hand, some Western diplomatic think tanks sing of the “democratic peace theory,” yet, on the other hand, they promote or instigate “controlled chaos,” “offshore balancing,” and “hybrid wars” in non-Western countries with different sets of values. This not only hinders the democratization of international relations, but also poses a serious threat to world peace. Some strategists in the West frequently draw the line with “democracy and freedom” and even forge a “democratic alliance” in an attempt to evoke a new Cold War.

在冷战中瓦解和摧毁苏联后,美国代表西方坐上世界金字塔的塔尖,收获数以万亿计的“冷战红利”。 但同时,西方政治阵营仿佛患上了 “政治狂想症”:一面肆意对外输出民主,妄图独霸全球;一面又臆想不同文明和宗教文化的冲突与对抗。 结果世界又一次被西方政客划分为两个阵营:以美国为首的西方霸权阵营和其他被打压、被制裁的非西方世界。 近些年某些西方智库鼓吹 “文明冲突论” “新干涉主义” “人权高于主权” “新有限主权论” “民主使命论”,某些西方外交智囊一方面高唱 “民主国家不战论”,一方面又对价值观不同的非西方世界宣扬或策动 “可控混乱” “离岸平衡” “混合战争”。 这不仅阻碍了国际关系民主化的进程,也给世界和平带来严重威胁。 西方某些战略家动辄以 “民主、自由” 划线,甚至打造 “民主同盟”,企图唤起新冷战。

As a result, over the past 30 years, the world has seen and experienced the Western camp’s wanton export of democracy, instigating religious confrontation, advocating clashes of civilizations, stimulating international terror, launching local wars, instigating “color revolutions,” and infringing on the sovereignty of other countries.


Despite their Scheming, the Outcomes are Poor


In recent years, against the background of declining power and increasing domestic contradictions, the impulse for political hegemony in the United States has evolved into political anxiety and even political madness. This has caused the United States to often do everything possible at the expense of various confrontational and even suicidal political attacks against other countries in order to maintain their hegemony.


As soon as the current U.S. government came to power, it shouted “America is back” and raised the banner of “democratic values” to woo its allies and confront China. American politicians constantly chant “democracy and human rights” and other such slogans in attempt to kill three birds with one stone: to revive domestic morale, revive the wills of old and new allies, and relive the old dream of a disintegrating Soviet Union during the Cold War [and a] bet that [the US] can [now] crush China. However, no matter what kind of strategy the heads of state in the United States concoct, it only exposes their poor acumen, and the result will be detrimental to others, such that the risks are not worth the losses. Not only can it not save its own national fortunes, but the United States will also overextend itself and ultimately harm the world.

本届美国政府一上台就高喊 “美国回来了”,并扯起“民主价值观” 大旗极力拉拢盟友跟中国对抗。 美国政客不断高喊 “民主人权” 等口号,企图一石三鸟:重振国内士气,绑架新老盟友,重温冷战中瓦解苏联的旧梦,赌注能压垮中国。 但无论美国当局炮制何种花样战略,只能暴露其黔驴技穷,结果定会是损人不利己,得不偿失,不仅不能挽救自身国运的颓势,还会加快消耗自身能量,最终贻害全世界。

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Cite This Page

张树华 (Zhang Shuhua). "The Deterioration of Western Politics Further Harms the World [西方政治劣质化进一步贻害世界]". CSIS Interpret: China, original work published in Global Times [环球时报], May 20, 2021

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