America’s global rivals were quick to issue triumphant condemnations of the Washington riots, but behind the scenes it seems that many fear increased tension in the international order.
Russia and China claimed that the scenes on the US Capitol pointed to the weakness of Western democracy.
In China, the media and commentators compared the assault on the Capitol building to the pro-democracy riots in Hong Kong, which figures like US Congressional Leader Nancy Pelosi initially backed.
At its recent annual meeting, the Communist Party’s law enforcement body warned that China faced greater global risks.
“As changes in the world structure accelerate, China’s dominance stands in stark contrast to the turmoil in the West,” said a statement from the Central Conference on Political and Legal Work.
“(But) the world has entered a period of turbulent change. Political and legal work faces new risks and challenges.”
China recently arrested 53 opposition activists and politicians in Hong Kong in one of Beijing’s most severe crackdowns since the one-country, two-system rule ended last year.
High-level Russian politicians have also condemned the unrest, with Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova calling the US electoral system “archaic.”
“It does not meet modern democratic standards, creating opportunities for numerous violations, and the American media has become an instrument of political struggle,” he said.
CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd, who served on Barack Obama’s National Security Council, said now was a dangerous time for the United States.
“Malignant actors not associated with recent violence can take advantage of this perceived window of opportunity to strike us in other areas,” he said.
“Certainly Russia, which has long used influence operations to sow division and amplify conspiracy theories in the United States, will try to exploit this period for its own purposes.
“After Wednesday’s insurrection, we may be relegated to the background in future global democratization efforts, at least until we repair some of the damage here at home.
“This will delight adversaries like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who have long fought to undermine America’s credibility, and will horrify people around the world who have trusted the United States to protect the United States. democracy in their own countries. “