Over the last few, nightmarish hurricane seasons, climate scientists have sought to draw a fine distinction: No particular hurricane is the result of climate change, they say, but climate change is making storms worse and more frequent.

Global warming, it turns out, can serve as a useful metaphor for global affairs. The last week has offered a range of examples of authoritarian nationalism on the rise. In each case, from Hong Kong to Kashmir to Israel, it is impossible to lay the blame directly on President Trump, as the leaders involved have their own longstanding motives. But the American president’s impassive responses to, and sometimes open encouragement of, such actions have made the world a safer place for authoritarianism.

Heading west from Washington, the tour of the damage starts in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy protestors have been in the streets for days. The Chinese government is sending signs that it may crack down on the demonstrations, including military exercises in Shenzhen, just across from Hong Kong on the mainland.

[Read: Trump has enabled Israel’s antidemocratic tendencies at every turn.]

Yet in a dispute between protestors seeking civil liberties and a democratic voice and the autocratic Chinese government, Trump has been extremely reluctant to warn President Xi Jinping against a brutal response or to defend the protests, despite pressure from aides and conservatives. On Thursday, the president finally weighed in on Twitter, but his comment were perplexing. They were heavily caveated, and also suggested a surprisingly naive view of the tensions between Hong Kong and the Chinese government:

I know President Xi of China very well. He is a great leader who very much has the respect of his people. He is also a good man in a “tough business.” I have ZERO doubt that if President Xi wants to quickly …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Best of


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