This is the trend I've been writing and speaking about over a decade, and much this democracy slide is due to the free world abandoning the defense of its values to "engage" with dictatorships like China & Putin's Russia. Needlessly.
The autocratic, populist Trump rising wasn't a coincidence. It came after years of the US pretending democracy was just a word, and abandoning it abroad inevitably devalues it at home.
I wrote this for the WSJ five years ago, on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union. Every condition about losing the will to stand up for democratic rights has gotten worse, as the Freedom House report documents. wsj.com/articles/the-u…
My appearance on the @MehdiHasanShow last night, my thanks to @mehdirhasan. I'm dismissive of Navalny's old remarks as irrelevant to his circumstances as a political prisoner. Arguing them easily falls into the Kremlin smear campaign.
Navalny has just been sent to a vile Russian prison so Putin can torture him in full view of Europe's appeasers. He may not live to see another day of freedom. His politics (which are very liberal for Russia btw) or some nasty remarks a dozen years ago are a distraction.
Liberal Western orgs like Amnesty grabbing onto these old remarks reminds me of the "he was no angel" tropes that the right push when there is a police killing. It's a deflection. Debate Navalny's politics when he's free. And unlike Putin, he will actually debate!
Trump was acquitted for political reasons despite overwhelming evidence against him. Navalny was convicted for political reasons despite a lack of evidence. Trump acted like a coward when he had nothing to lose. Navalny showed courage when he had everything to lose.
Trump insisting he won the election would be nothing more than the ravings of a broken mind, akin to believing he’s Jesus or Napoleon, if so many others weren’t invested in propagating the delusion. That makes it dangerous, as we saw in Jan 6th.
My latest Avast blog post about what the Trump Twitter ban does, and does not, have to do with free speech. Beware of putting more power in government hands when your side is in charge, because you aren't going to get that power back. blog.avast.com/the-free-speec…
The US free speech system is a shifting triangle, with private and govt points. The third is the people, as consumers and voters. Complain that companies have too much power, but don't expect to be happy if the government steps in harder.
The privatized system can be effective. Trump's supporters and pro-Trump media only cut back on lying about 2020 election fraud when lawsuits came in from voting machine companies.
February 15, 1985, marked the day of my first open rebellion against the Soviet chess authorities. The FIDE president "terminated" my first world championship match with Karpov without a winner and I couldn't remain silent. washingtonpost.com/archive/politi…
I knew my chances at coming back to win were long, despite having won two games in a row. But the entire charade of the termination was too much to stomach. I was just 21 and pressed my luck in Gorbachev's perestroika by speaking out.
I couldn't be sure I would be allowed to challenge Karpov again. Publicly warring with the Soviet sports authorities could have meant being banned from international play, or worse. But it hoped my profile was high enough and the risk was necessary.
The last time Republicans acquitted Trump, it was bad but they didn’t know it would lead to hundreds of thousands of American deaths. If they acquit him again, the damage to America could be even greater in the long run and they own it.
Refusing to convict and ban from office a President who directly attempted to overturn the election and incited violence in that cause is declaring war on the Republic. It will embolden Trump and every imitator.
History shows that even if there are stern penalties for the combatants, if the ringleaders are not punished there will be more violence. It will be more organized and find more political support.
I wrote about how Biden and the West can help Navalny, Russia, and themselves by standing up to Putin. Do it by listening to Navalny and treating Putin like a crime boss. washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/…
Meanwhile, the EU spent the day humiliating themselves before Putin again. He kicked out some diplomats because he knows that's what they care about. They will respond diplomatically, which he doesn't care about at all.
This is the asymmetry I wrote about in the WaPo and Mig explained more in his thread last night. (
Navalny was sentenced on Feb 2, Groundhog Day, and for Russia it's been like the movie, repeating the jailings, murders, and repression over and over. In the WaPo, I explain how to break the spell. washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/…
Momentum is already slipping away. Macron is talking about "maintaining dialogue" with Russia and the EU sends Borrell to chit-chat without the precondition of meeting Navalny. Putin loves this part. Kill, invade, take hostages, then "dialogue"!
Biden must stake out his own doctrine on Russia to break the cycle. 1) Listen to Navalny and go after Putin like the crime boss he is. 2) Show his gang that they and their families aren't welcome in the free world. 3) Isolate Russia until it ends its rogue aggression.
My op-ed on Navalny's sentencing is up at CNN. He knew it was going to happen and he explained why in the courtroom. Putin wants to use this cause fear in others since he couldn't scare or kill Navalny. cnn.com/2021/02/03/opi…
If you say it's not the free world's duty to stand up to Putin now, count the trillions of dollars they have given Putin over 20 years to build up his police state thanks to "engagement". His aggression will only increase, as it has at every unpunished step.
The roadmap to fighting back is no less clear for being difficult. Sanction Putin and his cronies out of the free world. Every dollar, every asset, every institution, every family member enjoying their rich life in West, funded by Putin's dictatorship.
Navalny sentenced to several years in prison, but my rage is not just for Putin's KGB dictatorship. Its nature was known. I want to hear now from Putin's appeasers, who knew exactly what he was and enabled him for years as he turned Russia into a police state.
Let's hear from the European Parliament, that just readmitted Russia, or the UN Human Rights Council, with Russia as a member. What does Obama say now about his "reset" after Putin invaded Georgia set the stage for Syria & Ukraine? Navalny's name should be ashes in their mouths.
As the "grave concerns" come in for Navalny from around the free world today, remember what they said after Politkovskaya, Georgia, Crimea, Nemtsov. Then what they actually did, engaging with Putin's dictatorship, doing business, finding "common ground".
A sign of how shaken Putin is by the Navalny palace video and protests is his appearing at Davos on Wed. He's desperate to reassure his cronies he's still acceptable in the West despite his brutal crackdown. And Klaus Schwab and WEF are eager to help.
This is the real "foreign interference" in Russia, giving credibility to our illegitimate dictator. All WEF guests should boycott Putin's event. Show respect to Navalny and the 3700 Russians arrested for nonviolent protest on the 23rd.
You always hear how hard it is to do anything about Putin. Well here is something easy. Don't go. Boycott him. Let him talk to an empty (virtual) room. And if you have guts, tell Klaus Schwab & the WEF what you think about their throwing Putin this lifeline now.
Hundreds of videos like this coming out of Russia today. Putin has spent 20 years building up the security forces and looting the country while Russia stagnates. They come out to support Navalny and their own future.
Young people have lived their entire lives under Putin's brutality and his turning the country into a pariah for the personal gain of him and his cronies. But as long as he has so much international support, removing him will be very hard.
The Russian people are furious at the corruption Navalny exposes. But as long as the West is happy to do business with Putin and his mafia, they can turn the country into a prison while still enjoying the rich life.
I'm glad to be back in the pages of The Wall Street Journal with a blunt message: Trump was rock bottom and either the GOP faces reality and deals with its extremists or becomes extinct. wsj.com/articles/the-g…
Any conservatives fretting about the far left need to look in the mirror first and deal with the far right radicals who took over the GOP. America needs two parties (or more!), but one cannot be grounded in lies and demagoguery.
The Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol was the rock-bottom moment that asked if the GOP wants to go through the pain of rehabilitation and live, or die in ignominy. There can be no pretending it didn’t happen. wsj.com/articles/the-g…
If you want to use state power to control private companies because you don't like the decisions they make, *you* are the greater danger to a free society.
Regulation is a vital element of integrating new technology and corporate power with our free societies, with all the rights and freedoms we have worked so hard for. But it takes time, and is far slower than the impact new tech can have.
I've been writing on this balance between government & business and rights and the public good for years, mostly on my Avast blog. Coming from a totalitarian state, I obviously have a dim view of govt power, which is often abused and never conceded voluntarily.
The next populist demagogue will be more disciplined and smarter than Trump--not hard to do. Impeachment now is a good vaccine against the Trumpism virus. Me on @Morning_Joe today: msnbc.com/morning-joe/wa…
But that's not enough, and whether it happens or not, Biden, Congress, and the Justice Department must move quickly to strengthen America's democratic immune system.
As for Trump's mob at the Capitol, let the law work without interference. They wanted insurrection and selfies, they can have prison sentences and mug shots.
Let him lie and whine, he'll be gone soon. Let him call our democracy a fraud, nothing will happen. Let him call for violence... Anyone who didn't see this coming was as detached from reality as Trump.
The problem with wishful thinking against autocrats and demagogues is then there's no plan B for when they don't stop, for when they carry out their threats to the logical conclusion.
If today's violence looks like a banana republic, that's what Trump has been trying to do to America all along, to make it over in his corrupt, chaotic, despotic image. The GOP stood by and now reap the whirlwind.
A few notes about the GOP Congressmen supporting Trump's coup attempt. One, the damage doesn't end on Jan 20. Trump won't be president, but he and his supporters will play the victim role forever.
Two, this creation of a permanent anti-democracy wing of a major party is not sustainable. I don't know what Republicanism means now, but if it's attacking legitimate election results, it must be destroyed.
Three, there isn't a Republican in America who knows more about socialism than I do, or who despises it more. The far left is a danger. But leaving the Senate in McConnell's hands is unacceptable after his defense of Trump & Trumpism.
With great sorrow I share the news of the passing of my mother, Klara Shagenovna Kasparova. My role model, my greatest champion, my wise counsel, and the strongest person I will ever know. I love you, Mama.
History is written by the winners, and it remains to be seen if this becomes a badge of honor of shame. For the success of the American experiment and the world, we must fight to ensure it is the latter.
Republicans signing on to Trump's coup attempt reminds me of the Russian parliament voting to extend Putin's term of office. Loyalty only to a man and hoping to be rewarded, not to the people, the country, or the Constitution.
Trump's plan is Putin's: Never concede & treat Biden like an illegitimate leader. Dictators like Putin don't like having their illegitimacy pointed out. Now he'll have the former US president saying it about Biden.
American leadership in promoting democracy and fair elections around the world will be challenged not just by Putin & Xi Jinping, but by a former US president. It's all of Putin's whataboutism dreams.
This was Trump's message from the start, the "we've done lots of bad stuff too" remarks when asked about his fondness for Putin. It's also the message of every dictator. "Sure, we're corrupt, but we're ALL corrupt."