Fraser Nelson on the revival of the democracies…
“Boris Bondarev, until recently a Russian diplomat stationed at the UN, has explained how Putin has now ended up with everything he didn’t want. United democracies, tooled-up neighbours, a rejuvenated Nato: how could it go so wrong? But Putin’s dictatorial style, he said, means no one in Russia’s foreign service dares point out the flaws in his ideas. Just as it will be hard for any ambitious Chinese official to tell Xi Jinping that his vaccines don’t really work and that his flagship zero Covid idea has failed.
In the end, authoritarian regimes stumble because they are authoritarian. Without debate and dissent, it’s harder to spot and correct errors. The arguments and protests that make democratic politics so messy are a feedback mechanism. Without this feedback, governments end up embarking on – or wedded to – calamitous mistakes.
This has been a pretty miserable year for Britain – but Ukrainian courage has made it a good year, perhaps even a decisive one, for the free world. We now have the widest democratic alliance the world has seen and a few more reminders why democracy, for all of its flaws, remains the world’s least-bad option.”