Is Democracy on the way down?
"The Western democratic system is hailed by the developed world as near perfect and the most superior political system to run a country," mocked China's official new agency.
"However, what's happening in the United States today will make more people worldwide reflect on the viability and legitimacy of such a chaotic political system."
There is a worldwide audience for what Beijing had to say about the shutdown of the U.S. government, for there is truth in it.
According to Freedom House, democracy has been in decline for a dozen years. Less and less do nations look to the world's greatest democracy, the United States, as a model of the system to best preserve and protect what is most precious to them.
China may be a single-party Communist state that restricts freedom of speech, religion and the press, the defining marks of democracy. Yet Beijing has delivered what makes the Chinese people proud -- a superpower nation to rival the mighty United States.
Chinese citizens appear willing to pay, in restricted freedoms, the price of national greatness no modern Chinese generation had ever known.
The same appears true of the Russian people.
After the humiliation of the Boris Yeltsin era, Russians rallied to Vladimir Putin, an autocrat 18 years in power, for having retrieved Crimea and restored Russia to a great power that can stand up to the Americans.
Consider those "illiberal" democracies of Central and Eastern Europe -- the Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, Hungary.
To preserve their national character and identity, all have chosen to refuse refugees from Africa and the Middle East. And if this does not comport with the liberal democratic values of the EU, so be it.