Three potential crises unfold on the world stage

In Washington, President Biden this week convenes a summit of the world’s democracies. But the real drama for the democratic world is unfolding elsewhere around the globe.

Three potential crises are proceeding in tandem: a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, continuing Chinese pressure on Taiwan and the potential collapse of Iran nuclear talks.

Any one of these standoffs has the potential to shake the world order and produce wider conflict. Taken together, they signal that the U.S. and its allies are at a dangerous moment—perhaps more dangerous than many Americans realize. The challenge for President Biden and the democratic leaders he’ll be consulting with this week is to find a way to show firmness on each front without provoking a crisis. …

Three decades ago, after the Berlin Wall fell and communism collapsed in the Soviet Union, the question of which model was prevailing wouldn’t even have seemed relevant. Democracy’s rise seemed inevitable.

In the years since, though, the authoritarian model has become resurgent. China openly presents its economic power as a sign that the ruthless efficiency of autocracy is superior to the messiness of democracy.