In much of the world, the scenes that played out in Washington on Wednesday prompted shock, horror and anguish.
But in Moscow, Beijing and other capitals where autocratic governments have been subjected to frequent US criticism, there was a good dose of schadenfreude at the chaotic footage of protesters overrunning Congress. The events were also held up by many authoritarian governments as proof of a long-held insistence that the US is in no place to give other nations lectures on democracy.
“What we saw in the US last night and today really showed that first how brittle and weak western democracy is, and how weak its foundations are,” said the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, in a speech broadcast on state television on Thursday.
He called Trump an “unhealthy person” and said he had “tainted his country’s reputation and credibility. He disrupted US relations with the entire world.”
Russian lawmakers were quick to jump on events in Washington as proof of US moral bankruptcy, though they also threw in some words of support for Trump’s baseless suggestions of electoral fraud.
“The losing side has more than enough grounds to accuse the winner of falsifications – it is clear that American democracy is limping on both feet,” wrote Konstantin Kosachev, the chair of the foreign affairs committee of Russia’s upper house of parliament, in a post on Facebook.
“America no longer charts the course and so has lost all right to set it. And, even more so, to impose it on others.”
While Russian policymakers were responding to years of criticism from Washington, Chinese officials had a more specific grievance, attempting to compare the violent scenes in Washington with the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. read more…