The Managing Editor of the Washington Post, Phillip Bennett, gave a very interesting interview to The People’s Daily, which is the voice of the ChiComs. In the interview, Bennett says such illuminating things as

think US should be the leader of the world. My job is helping my readers trying to understand what is happening now. What is happening now is very difficult to understand. The world is very complex. There are various complex forces occurring in it. I don’t think you can imagine a world where one country or one group of people could lead everybody else. I can’t imagine that could happen. I also think it is unhealthy to have one country as the leader of the world. People in other countries don’t want to be led by foreign countries. They may want to have good relations with it or they may want to share with what is good in that country.

That is also a sort of colonial question. The world has gone through colonialism and imperialism. We have seen the danger and shortcomings of those systems. If we are heading into another period of imperialism where the US thinks itself as the leader of the area and its interest should prevail over all other interests of its neighbors and others, then I think the world will be in an unhappy period.

To some degree, he makes some sense, but he also ignores reality and I question whether his view might just affect the way U.S. foreign policy is covered, i.e. stories along the lines of “Those nasty Americans are . . .[pick your poison]”

to me is that Bennett tries to make the case that democracy, no doubt like truth in his mind, is all relative.

US has a very complex relations with China, which is not a democracy . . . by American standard.

. . . .

Democracy means many things. How do you define democracy? As a Chinese journalist, you may have your own definition of democracy which corresponds to your history and your way of seeing the world. I may have another definition. Someone else may have their own definitions. Democracy means a lot of different things.

Let me give an example. Democracy in one sense means the majority decides, but it also means the rights of the minority are protected. As UK late Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, democracy is the least bad system that we have ever thught of. So democracy is never perfect. It always has problems. Our democracy here in the US has many contradictions, problems and challenges. So democracy is not a cure that could turn everything bad into good. It has its own advantages and its disadvantages.

Call me naive, but I thought democracy did have a generally agreed upon definition.

Unabridged Dictionary (1913):

Democracy De*moc”ra*cy, n.; pl. Democracies. [F.
d[‘e]mocratie, fr. Gr. dhmokrati`a; dh^mos the people +
kratei^n to be strong, to rule, kra`tos strength.] 1. Government by the people; a form of government in which
the supreme power is retained and directly exercised by
the people.

2. Government by popular representation; a form of government
in which the supreme power is retained by the people, but
is indirectly exercised through a system of representation
and delegated authority periodically renewed; a
constitutional representative government; a republic.

By any objective standard, China does not have that. In a democracy, the government exists because of the people, in China, the people exist by will of the government. Bennett says that, in one sense democracy “means the majority decides, but it also means the rights of the minority are protected.” Well, I guess he does not mean the Chinese sense, given the Chinese government’s treatment of religious groups and those who think democracy means there should be more than just the Communist party in charge.