As a distracted world looks elsewhere, US and China have a common interest in halting Asia’s accelerating nuclear arms race

For western liberals and progressive champions of open, democratic government, a clutch of recalcitrant regimes around the world seems firmly stuck on what Barack Obama once called “the wrong side of history”. Iran’s misogynistic theocrats and Myanmar’s genocidal generals are among the worst offenders.

Then there’s Vladimir Putin’s Russia, harking back to largely illusory former glories. Belarus, Syria, Nicaragua, Cambodia and Eritrea meet the regressive criteria, too. What all these regimes have in common is denial of the basic human right to self-determination – the individual’s right to have a say in how society is ordered.

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