To save democracy from likes of Putin, nations like SA must join the fight
Germany is leading the push to expand the alliance of democracy-valuing countries beyond the ‘old’ West
Even clumsy communicators occasionally say something worth hearing. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, for example. He’s of late been accused of muddling his messages in support of Ukraine and much else. But if you pay attention, he’s actually trying to achieve something huge: a global rather than “Western” alliance of democracies against autocracies such as Russia and China.
By accepting that mission, he’s in effect taken the baton from US President Joe Biden, who hosted a rather underwhelming “summit for democracy” in December. That was before Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, when rallying the freedom-loving nations didn’t seem quite as urgent. Nor did it help that the US, long the world’s beacon of liberty, is itself struggling to preserve democracy at home.
Democracy in Germany, which the country learnt largely from the Americans after World War 2, looks reassuringly sturdy by contrast. Moreover, Scholz happens to be holding a large bullhorn right now. This year his government is presiding over the Group of Seven (G7), a forum of the world’s wealthiest liberal democracies. Besides Germany, it includes the US, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and the UK. They’ll meet from June 26 to 28 in Elmau, a castle at the foot of the Bavarian Alps...