The Battle Between Democracy and Autocracy, From Russia to Cambodia

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a reminder that the pursuit of democracy and peace are intimately connected.

In his March 1 State of the Union address, U.S. President Joe Biden pointed to the intensifying “battle between democracy and autocracy.” By calling for a “coalition of freedom-loving nations” to counter aggressive autocracies, President Biden was primarily referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

There are different fronts in the confrontation between autocracy and democracy. The objective of Russian President Vladimir Putin is apparently to conquer and occupy the whole of Ukraine, to install a puppet regime in Kyiv, and to present a Russian-controlled Ukraine as a “fait accompli” that nobody can safely challenge. With the passing of time, he imagines that this will acquire a veneer of legitimacy.

Putin’s attempt to take control of Ukraine is preceded by the forcible and illegal annexation of Crimea to the detriment of Ukraine in 2014. This can now be seen as a “fait accompli.”

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