Online Classes :- Current Affairs Part-3

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No limits for Xi: Fake news is often a handmaiden of autocracy’s march, India should watch out

Nobody got it more wrong than political philosopher Francis Fukuyama, who predicted at the end of the Cold War that liberal democracies were on a roll and illiberal regimes would be washed away by the tide of history. This Sunday the Chinese parliament reversed a 35-year-old rule limiting the president to two terms, handing virtually unlimited power to President Xi Jinping. Opposition to President Vladimir Putin is scarcely possible in Russia; Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has trampled democratic norms; Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi replaced a fledgling democracy with military rule; democratically elected Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte unleashed death squads on suspected drug users.

In the circumstances one might prescribe a Westphalian system of national sovereignty to preserve international stability and peace, whereby each nation chooses its own political system and declines to interfere in others. In practice, things are rarely so simple. Look at increasing evidence of Russia influencing US elections, and disseminating fake news on social media to exacerbate divisions in US politics. Alongside, there are reports about how China has penetrated Australian institutions.

It’s worth asking, in this respect, why China favours Pakistan consistently over India when commercial logic should drive Beijing towards closer cooperation with New Delhi. India-China relations have deteriorated since Xi came to power in 2013. Xi champions China’s military modernisation and could exert greater military pressure on India in future – Doklam may be just a foretaste. But there could be subtler pressures as well, preying on the nature of India’s open and democratic system that is, however, internally polarised. Cyberwarfare and fake news plants to inflame India’s internal divisions, using social media, are a distinct possibility. To combat this possibility, political parties must stop the current practice of demonising everyone opposed to them. We should not, after all, imbibe the illiberal toxins too; dissent and opposition are legitimate activities in a democracy.

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