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Russia Takes Aim at the Rules-Based International Order

People demonstrate against Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Caracas
People demonstrate against Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Caracas

Russia Takes Aim at the Rules-Based International Order
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President Joe Biden has long been concerned by the threat to democracies posed by autocrats who “seek to advance their own power, export and expand their influence around the world.” The rule of law, respect for human rights, innovation, and prosperity are put at risk.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s premeditated, unprovoked, unjustified, and brutal war on Ukraine is the latest and most egregious example of the danger President Biden cited. In the run-up to the war Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke of another impending casualty: the rules-based international order that preserves stability worldwide: “The principle that one country cannot change the borders of another by force. The principle that one country cannot dictate another’s choices or policies.”

Countries and organizations around the world condemned Russia for its naked aggression and blatant disregard for Ukraine’s sovereignty, joining the United States in imposing punishing sanctions and stringent export controls on Russia.

The People’s Republic of China (PRC), Venezuela, North Korea, Belarus, Cuba and Iran, all authoritarian states, did not join them, choosing instead to support Moscow’s assault. Just weeks after Presidents Putin and Xi released their Joint Statement and announced their “no limits” partnership, the PRC has repeatedly refused to call Russia’s aggression an invasion. Instead, it accuses the United States and its Allies and partners of provoking Russia. In addition, the PRC approved imports of wheat from Russia at a time when the United States and Allies are unified in imposing massive economic costs on Russia for its further invasion of Ukraine.

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price deplored the burgeoning relationship between Russia and China aimed at undermining the rules-based international order that has been at the crux of more than 70 years of unprecedented levels of prosperity across the world.

“Russia and the PRC also want a world order,” Mr. Price said. “But this is an order that is and would be profoundly illiberal.”

In condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Biden promised the world-order envisioned by the Kremlin and its allies is one “the United States and freedom-loving nations everywhere will oppose with every tool of our considerable power. . . In the contest between democracy and autocracy, between sovereignty and subjugation, make no mistake,” he said. “Freedom will prevail."