The Dallas Morning News
Warning to the West
Meeting between Putin, Xi must be our wake-up call to fight 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.