The trap of autocracy – Le piège de l’autocratie par Google Traduction


The trap of autocracy – Le piège de l’autocratie par Google Traduction

Societas Criticus, revue de critique sociale et politique, Vol. 25-06, Éditos :

Even the quotes have been translated. For the original in French, see

Michel Handfield, M.Sc. sociology (2024-01-05)

And, once the worm of doubt enters the apple of democracy, it eats it from the inside.

If I don't find the United States perfect, far from it, I wouldn't throw myself at the feet of Russia or China. Three countries that want to rule the world their way; three autocracies.

When someone says to me "I don't like the United States, so I support Russia or China as a counterbalance", it doesn't work, because these three countries have the same autocratic philosophy: either you are with we or you are against us! There is not much room for open dialogue. Just look at the use of the right of veto in the United Nations Security Council (1) to understand it:

Since the creation of the UN, the majority of vetoes in the Security Council have been exercised by the Soviet Union. Between 1946 and February 2022, out of 210 resolution proposals blocked by a veto, 117 were vetoed by the USSR then by Russia (including 13 jointly with China); 82 from the United States (including 22 with the United Kingdom and/or France); 29 from the United Kingdom (including 24 with the United States and/or France); 16 from France (including 15 with the United States and/or the United Kingdom); 16 from China (including 8 with Russia), including a use of the veto by the Republic of China (Taiwan) which occupied the seat of China until 1971." (2)

In addition, what does not help the United States is that it does not learn from its mistakes and always makes them again. They associate indiscriminately with the enemies of their enemies, as if they were reliable partners and friends.

They have also too often supported authoritarian or dictatorial regimes abroad, going against the will of the citizens of these countries. They have even helped overthrow democratically elected governments. For a country that calls itself a great democracy, the United States has not really helped democracy around the world. We can think of the overthrow of Allende in Chile (3) and the dictatorship of Pinochet which followed, or, less well known, the case of Iran on which I already heard a report on a program on history . Failing to find this report, Wikipedia comes to my rescue:

In 1951, Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC). In August 1953, he was removed from power following a plot orchestrated by the British and American secret services, Operation Ajax. After his fall, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi established an autocratic and dictatorial political regime based on American support. » (4)

Often, the United States would have been better off listening and engaging. This would have less often backfired on them. But ideological and economic reasons explain their choices, such as the fear of social progress assimilated to communism in their ideology. They prefer to rely on charity and consider human suffering as a virtue.

Their ideological weakness for often authoritarian regimes outside their country is therefore known to other powers such as Russia and China, to name a few. It is therefore not surprising that they are now attacking democratic regimes, because they know well that the United States has one achiles heel if not two: its own democracy, which is imperfect (5), and the shadow of Donald Trump who flirts with dictatorship (6) and a return to the White House.

Seeing democracy fall in the United States therefore becomes a possible dream for some dictators, including the presidents of China, Xi Jinping, and Russia, Vladimir Putin, because from that moment on they would not only talk about superiority of autocracy and dictatorship over democracy, but they would exult, a great democratic country having passed into their camp.

It is not for nothing that there are all these current threats in the world, because they put pressure on democracies and in particular the United States. In reaction, this could lead the United States to vote for a regime that calls itself muscular, Trump, and thus tip the United States into authoritarian, even dictatorial, regimes. China and Russia would have succeeded in their strategic coup.

From there, some European and South American countries, which already have right-wing regimes, would justify their autocratic system and could even fall into dictatorship. We must never forget that Europe experienced dictatorial regimes until the end of the 1970s, with Spain experiencing a large part of the 20th century under Francoism. (7)

It may seem good to say that we are against US imperialism, but if we support dictatorships instead, that is certainly not a win for freedom either. It's called a fool's market and many fall into this trap.

If we are lied to here like some people believe, tell yourself that it is the same elsewhere. So, where do we get the information? If we cannot trust the major media and journalists (8), who are supposed to have a code of ethics, what are we left with? Nothing.

What are the bases we can trust? If there are no more, we are in a very bad situation. In fact, we find ourselves faced with dominant individualism: everyone has their own news and their own thoughts without any points in common or convergence. There is no longer any society, only the market and advertising to reach us.

Some regimes may benefit from attacking these sources to bring democracies into chaos. This is perhaps the new world war that we did not see coming, because the real weapons are ideological and involve the control of information and disinformation. We don't want dead people on our hands, but servile consumers. (9)

That social networks block information networks and allow rumors and “fake news” to proliferate can only do their part in this program of destabilization of democracies. Unlike the hit film “The World After Us” (10), available on Netflix, the chaos does not come from the end of the Internet, but enters through the Internet and social networks in particular. And, once the worm of doubt enters the apple of democracy, it eats it from the inside.




There you will find the notes of the text.


4. This passage is found in the “Constitutional Revolution and the Imperial State” section of the Wikipedia article on Iran:évolution_constitutionnelle_et_État_impérial

5. According to a table from The Economist reproduced in :

STÉPHANIE GRAMMOND, À la santé (chancelante) de la démocratie !, LA PRESSE, 30 décembre 2023 :

6. Since the Assault on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 (see the Le Devoir file on this subject: this possibility is a serious hypothesis. Guy Taillefer, among others, talks about it in an editorial in Le Devoir: Échec au danger de dictature aux États-Unis, Le Devoir, 20 décembre 2023 :


8. It is different for commentators and editorialists, because they defend editorial, and therefore ideological, lines.

9. In this context, showing your muscles, speaking loudly, threatening, showing your weapons only serves to scare and divert your gaze from the real battlefield: that of the control of information and social networks, because this war is passing by the destabilization of regimes from within. We do not want ruins, but support for the new autocratic regimes of a future China-Russia-United States trilateral. We need the people to make consumption work.


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