The Dallas Morning News

Warning to the West

Meeting between Putin, Xi must be our wake-up call to fight spread of authoritar­ianism


The meeting of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin was a signal moment that free people, and those yearning to be free, must beware of. It was about nothing less than reordering the world so that it is more authoritar­ian and less democratic.

From the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 to the attack on the twin towers and the Pentagon in 2001, the ascendance of democratic rule and self-determinat­ion seemed like a historical inevitabil­ity. The right side was winning. Human rights were advancing. Free markets were expanding. Poverty and fear were being replaced with opportunit­y and hope.

The tide has shifted. Now, it seems, the darkness of war and authoritar­ianism is spreading. American leaders should make no mistake that this meeting between Putin and Xi is a strategic considerat­ion of how to speed up the spread.

We need to take steps now to protect our country and the free world from the threats we are facing and will face in the future.

The first step is open acknowledg­ment that isolation is not an option. America must be engaged in stopping Russia’s advance in Ukraine through the ongoing and generous supply of weapons and defense systems. Ending Putin’s war with the withdrawal of Russian troops must be the strategic goal of the United States.

We must also be true to our commitment to Taiwanese freedom, and make clear that we stand behind its democracy. Our words are only as good as our actions, and being true to our words will help ensure peace through strength.

There are steps beyond these that will take greater political cooperatio­n to achieve.

Among those is a willingnes­s to invest in American manufactur­ing to rehome our means of production.

There are promising signs this is an area where Republican­s and Democrats can find common ground. The passage of the CHIPS Act was a clear indication that we can get bipartisan agreement on manufactur­ing. But more work needs to be done to find production that would be better done at home than in China.

U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna, D-calif., raised an interestin­g question during recent congressio­nal hearings about how much U.S. military spending on goods goes to China. Defense Department officials were unsure of the answer.

It also means ensuring energy independen­ce. The Biden administra­tion wisely approved oil drilling on Alaska’s North Slope last week. That act alone was an acknowledg­ment of just how dangerous the world is becoming and how necessary it is that America have the energy supply it needs to face the future.

Our European partners need to focus on similar efforts to ensure they are not reliant on Russian energy to power their countries. They must also reinvest in militaries that have languished under the belief that peace on the European continent is assured.

The meeting in Moscow on Monday was a warning bell. Free nations must answer it and answer it now.

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