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America's 'moral obligation'

America's 'moral obligation'

Posted: Jul 19, 2021 9:00 PM
Updated: Jul 19, 2021 9:00 PM

Those damaging America's democracy should listen to Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's testimony of what happens when a demagogue and his cronies actually succeed in stealing an election. The Belarusian opposition leader met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday, after saying on CNN that the US had a "moral obligation" to stand up for democracy against President Alexander Lukashenko's dictatorship. She arrived in the United States at an odd moment, since historically Washington was a paragon for dissidents. But ever since former President Donald Trump's rejection of his election loss, this country has been a better parable of how democracy can teeter on the brink.

Tsikhanouskaya's husband was jailed to stop him from running in an election last year that international observers said was neither free nor fair. She ran instead and has since been forced into exile in Lithuania. There must be serious concerns for her safety -- which a high-profile trip to the US will only exacerbate. After all, Lukashenko's government forced the landing of a Ryanair flight last month and arrested an opposition journalist. And bad things happen to those who cross Lukashenko's patron, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Inside Belarus, activists have been handed long prison terms and the government blacks out the internet.

"I have to think about my safeness. But first of all we have to think about the safeness of those people who are inside of our country. ... It's very dangerous to be in Belarus now," Tsikhanouskaya told CNN's Jim Sciutto.

Joe Biden has put the preservation of democracy and pushing back against strongmen at the center of his presidency -- after the world's self-styled tough guys were idolized by Trump. So his government can hardly have not met Tsikhanouskaya when she was in Washington, even though her reception is hardly likely to please Putin as US-Russia relations wallow in their worst slump since the end of the Cold War.

Tsikhanouskaya is urging the US and Europe to ramp up more sanctions on Belarus. Her visit will test whether Biden's campaign is mostly rhetorical or has teeth. It's also a valuable service to America, by showing what happens when democracies die.

The anti-China front

Here's how Biden's confrontational policy toward China is different from Trump's: While the former President preferred a go-it-alone showdown with Beijing as a possible new Cold War looms, the current one wants backup.

So when the United States accused China of widespread hacking in cyberspace on Monday -- in a major escalation -- it gathered its friends in Europe, Asia and Australia to bolster its offensive.

The allegations are staggering. The allies say that China's Ministry of State Security -- a civilian state intelligence agency -- contracted criminal hackers to conduct a serious of attacks, including on Microsoft.

The administration said China was also behind a specific ransomware attack against a US target -- that included a demand for millions of dollars.

The level of Chinese activity, which the government in Beijing is likely to deny, surprised the White House, officials said, since most of the focus of attacks on US infrastructure, including food production and an oil pipeline, had been on Russia and criminal gangs apparently allowed to operate with impunity there.

But the broad front of allies united against Beijing is a sign of how Biden hopes to convince American allies around the world to band together to force China to observe what Washington calls international rules of the road. It doesn't always work: For instance, the European Union doesn't have an awful lot of appetite for talk of a new Cold War and has been less adamant than the US on trade issues. But at the same time, China is not going to like it.

The-CNN-Wire
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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1522221560
Cuyahoga1344852327
Hamilton976051320
Montgomery670271141
Summit562091047
Lucas50900863
Butler47417655
Stark41580976
Lorain31567532
Warren30001331
Mahoning26963639
Clermont25628292
Lake24585417
Delaware22313145
Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
Greene20309272
Trumbull19866509
Medina19796287
Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
Miami13786253
Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
Lawrence8755125
Hancock8458141
Ashtabula8317185
Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
Jefferson7527172
Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
Athens697165
Sandusky6848134
Darke6756136
Knox6671122
Seneca6358137
Ashland5948113
Auglaize587188
Shelby5727101
Brown564171
Mercer557890
Defiance5483101
Madison543371
Crawford5425114
Highland541581
Fulton530683
Clinton525580
Logan512182
Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
Guernsey470364
Williams459282
Perry449852
Champaign445964
Ottawa436884
Jackson425362
Pike388843
Morrow383851
Fayette375853
Coshocton374766
Adams360675
Hardin359069
Gallia347356
Holmes3259108
Henry324668
Van Wert314670
Hocking301769
Wyandot280658
Carroll262652
Paulding242243
Meigs213942
Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
Unassigned05
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