Fareed’s Take: Don’t cast the war in Ukraine as a showdown with autocracy

Noting that many democracies—including Brazil, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Mexico, and South Africa—have been reluctant to join the Western campaign to sanction and isolate Russia, CNN's Fareed Zakaria argues it's better to cast Russia's war as a challenge to rules and norms in the global order, not to democracy as a form of governance. #CNN #News


    1. @Трезвый Прохожий Exactly. To it’s credit, in the last decade India has made some moves in diversifying its weapon suppliers. Hopefully the full display to the world of Russian weapons failures on the battlefield will accelerate that process.

    2. Nah, he doesn’t have a point. India itself is trying to take over Kashmir. So India, therefore, by cnn logic, would still not condemn putins actions

    3. @hangender Kashmir is disputed territory. Ukraine’s sovereign status, in contrast, was previously settled and accepted by Russia.

    4. @Raja1938 nope. Kashmir is a independent, sovereign state. Only BJP bots would say it’s disputed.

  1. His conclusion are exactly my thoughts since I noticed the positions several countries (even European) took since the war started.

  2. Zakaria makes a good case but unfortunately one cannot sell that subtle difference to the American public. They tend to see things in terms of black and white so chanting “democracy, democracy” while waving the flag fits the purposes of American politics.

  3. “Unlimited power in the hands of limited people always leads to cruelty.” Russian dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    1. @Jay JayI did not realize preserving national security and sovereignty was a power grab, nor did I realize there is any problem with being Jewish and leading a country. Please enlighten us with more of your (Russian?) “wisdom.”

    2. @Jay Jay how is being Jewish relevant in any way. But aside from that weird mention, sure he was an actor, what was Putin? A middle ranking KGB clerk. So neither went to power university.

    3. @Jay Jay I mean, it was obviously an anti semitic dig of the conspiracist sort so no need to respond as I can’t take you seriously.

  4. Until watching this video, I had thought about it in both ways. Now I must realize that only one of those ways is useful and even only one makes sense. I mean the rules-based international (referring to laws, conventions etc.) order, of course. Thanks for your take, Fareed!

  5. I do agree with his view. When I think about it, North korea is called Democratic People Republic of Korea. Calling this a war between democracy and autocracy is not accurate. This war is more about freedom against tyranny.

    1. Yes however where does an Autocracy provide opportunity to fight against internal tyranny?

    2. freedom = democracy autocracy = tyranny they are just different ways of saying the same thing.

  6. “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”.
    -Albert Einstein

  7. Those countries which don’t condemn Russian agression won’t change their decision no matter what you call it. They are tied to the Russian economy. I do agree that the US should practice what it preaches. But you can’t blame Biden and the democrats for the regime change in Iraq. That was the GOP led by Cheney / Bush. As an American , I know there is a lack of democracy in our own country and we need to work hard or we will soon lose it altogether.

  8. Yes, we must all get better at acting on the values we say we espouse. Getting along with each other and tolerance for our differences must become a higher value for peace to prevail on earth.

  9. A very good proposition by Mr. Zakaria. Though I am strong supporter of the actions taken by the west against Russia, let me play devil’s advocate for the moment. Many in the developing world consider this as the west’s fight. There is a strong reaction from Europe and North America because the Ukraine is essentially a white country. The west’s reaction would have been much different had it been happening in Africa or in Asia. Ask any non-white country and they will immediately start giving out the cases of Afganistan, Iraq, etc. where the west’s response was less than exemplary. There is some truth to that.

  10. Thank you for reminding me that there is more to a just and sustainable democracy than mere access to a ballot box. As an American, I should be painfully aware of that given the last six years of my own country’s apparent decline!

  11. “Western hypocrisy” is not true. Only the US and UK invaded Iraq. All the dozens of other western nations refused to join them and criticized them heavily. The Bush administration put heavy pressure on Canada (people who normally could not have named the U.S. ambassador came to absolutely hate that one. I remember journalists doing a streeter when he was finally recalled to Washington, and never have so many Canadians said so many rude things.) We were unwavering in our refusal to go to Iraq, as were the other 40 or so Western nations, NATO and the UN. Remember the Americans renamed French fries “freedom fries” because they were angry France refused to go to war. Instead we held protest marches to the many U.S. embassies and consulates. Because the U.S. tagline for their invasion was “SHOCK AND AWE” I marched with a sign that said “SHOCKED AND APPALLED.” So there is no Western hypocrisy. The great majority of Western countries were against the Iraq war. Speak of American and British hypocrisy if you must.

    And I wish people would stop saying U.S.-led NATO. NATO is a democracy, every member country gets one vote. You can’t say you’re pro-democracy and act like an autocracy in international organizations. It’s in fact a good thing the rest of us do not follow the U.S. when it comes to creating a rules-based international order. We would never have treaties against landmines, etc., all the good things we do without the U.S. As Fareed mentioned, the U.S. turns its back on many international endeavours to make the world a better place.

  12. So we stop caring about how people are treated in their countries as long as those countries don’t breach the borders of other countries? I’m surprised that Fareed went so black-and-white on this one. There’s even a hint of superficial myth-busting in it. Usually Fareed is more about balancing all aspects and seeing the whole picture. I’m really puzzled.

  13. this is about self determination vs. “The Russian Peace”, which is specifically the struggle the ukrainians are fighting. We should not frame this as a broad, macro, global struggle against authoritarianism.

    1. Tell That To The U.S.Taxpayers Who Are Being Asked To Spend 33 Billion Of Their Dollars On A Country Many Had NEVER Thought Aboit Before Now!

    2. @Jasmine Bali as an American tax payer I am aware of Ukraine and it’s struggles. I have an education. Most tax payers aren’t aware of the vast majority of things the federal government spends billions on.

  14. I always deeply appreciate Fareed’s take. While the US may have better framed its argument, the assumption is that the subtlety of what the US communicates still matters to these countries. I think a lot of them feel this issue won’t effect them because they are not European, and that is how they are framing it (“not our issue”). Can the US make an argument that convinces them to collaborate? For me, the humanitarian issues in Ukraine are more important (although equal, practically speaking) than the respect for boundaries issue.

  15. A defense analyst from Janes made a good point at the beginning of this war that the Russians HAVE TO say they are fighting NATO because it justifies their longstanding xenophobia of the West. Right now the Kremlin would probably welcome fighting NATO directly not because they think they could win but because it would be easier for them to justify their failures than admitting they are doing poorly against Ukraine. The Kremlin could then cite historical precedence and say once again an invader from the West has wrongfully attacked mother Russia and inflicted serious losses on them and play up the patriotic angle. So the Kremlin’s endless talk about nuclear escalation is done to reassure its population that it CAN defend Russia against a NATO attack by making it so costly that it wouldn’t be worth winning.

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