by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Capitol Hill mobs egged on by the president and his associates dealt the United States an unfathomable international embarrassment that doubled as a gift to its adversaries — one they were all too eager to exploit. …
… These observers and others are right to lament the damage that this does to U.S. democracy promotion efforts and the gift that it’s been to foreign authoritarian regimes. Still, the precise extent of that harm remains to be seen. This depends on how — and whether — Americans remedy the ills wrought by the mayhem and confront the political forces and disinformation epidemic that enabled it. In the short term, though, these efforts should be accompanied by a forceful rebuttal of foreign authoritarian efforts to exploit the moment.
In the aftermath of the storming of the Capitol, there’s been an obvious difference between the good-faith international responses and those that sought to weaponize the crisis toward anti-democratic ends. …
… The difference between the world’s democrats and its autocrats could not be more stark. Just take the tweet … posted by Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa:
Last year, President Trump extended painful economic sanctions placed on Zimbabwe, citing concerns about Zimbabwe’s democracy.
Yesterday’s events showed that the U.S. has no moral right to punish another nation under the guise of upholding democracy. These sanctions must end.
Then he congratulated Joe Biden on his victory and offered the friendship of the Zimbabwean people. Of course, the U.S. does still have the moral authority to encourage respect for human rights in the country. Mnangagwa, who displaced Robert Mugabe in a 2017 coup, has a brutal record to match that of the infamous dictator: Security forces in the country still routinely use indiscriminate force against innocent demonstrators, whom they arbitrarily imprison, torture, and rape.