Robert Kagan in The London Times
It seemed plausible in the 1990s that the death of communism would bring an end to disagreements about the proper form of government and society, when both Russia and China were thought to be moving towards political as well as economic liberalism. Many hoped the end of the cold war might herald a genuinely new era in human development.
But those expectations proved misplaced. China has not liberalised but has shored up its autocratic government. Russia has turned away from imperfect liberalism decisively towards autocracy.
Many assume that Russian and Chinese leaders do not believe in anything and therefore cannot be said to represent an ideology. But that is mistaken. The rulers of China and Russia do have a set of beliefs that guide them in both domestic and foreign policy. They believe autocracy is better for their nations than democracy. They believe it offers order and stability and the possibility of prosperity. They believe democracy is not the answer and that they are serving the best interests of their peoples by holding and wielding power the way they do.