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Choose your future, world
On dissenting voices, imperfect powers, and the binary choice the world faces in the present
China's government is openly threatening pro-democracy activists, saying it will use the excuse of "national security" to "pursue them for the rest of our lives even if they run to the ends of the earth". This would be a very prudent time for people all over the world to consider carefully whether they want to live in a world where those sentiments predominate or in one where America leads a greater alliance.
■ That includes Americans. Everyone needs to grapple with the question, because the threat alone forces the question. China's government isn't saying it will pursue murderers or child abusers "for the rest of our lives even if they run to the ends of the earth". It's saying it values the capture of pro-democracy activists much more than the capture of those felons.
■ Quite a lot of people both at home and abroad like to make a sport out of criticizing the United States and its history. Thoughtful criticism is not only good, but necessary. Yet some engage in it so relentlessly that one might reasonably wonder whether they've ever considered the possibility that power always and everywhere risks abuse, and that the perfect ought not to become the enemy of the good.
■ America and the allied world we lead aren't perfect; far from it. But our imperfections pale by comparison with crimes against humanity including forced sterilization of disfavored ethnic groups, unrelenting mass surveillance, denial of basic human rights including even the freedom of worship and the right to express peaceful dissent, and the brutal maintenance of single-party rule.
■ The choices made on levels big and small by people all over the world contribute to nudging the world more in the direction of a China-dominated world or a US-dominated one. At present, there is no other viable contestant. So, of the two power structures overwhelmingly likely to prevail in the years ahead, which one is it going to be? Think carefully of the individuals being "pursued to the ends of the earth" before choosing.