VI propose an interesting article from Responsible Statecraft the magazine of think tank American”Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraftfounded in 2019 and located in Washington, described as a realist and advocate of moderation in US foreign policy.
The theme is the summit on democracy that Biden, for the second year, organized in Washington:
The event is more of a show of dividing the world against Russia and China, creating numerous pitfalls that don’t seem worth it.
The United States later this week, hosts the second summit for democracy . In coordination with events in the capitals of Costa Rica, the Netherlands, South Korea and Zambia, Washington will host a combination of face-to-face and virtual meetings to follow up on the original 2021 summit.
It seems unlikely that the summit will lead to anything worthwhile. The first Democracy Summit it was a largely futile exercise in Biden’s first year in officeand raises the question of why the administration thought a second was worth having.
The same controversies that marked the first summit will surely accompany this one too. NATO allies Hungary and Turkey were once again excluded from the guest list, while other governments that have undermined democracy and the rule of law in their countries will still be represented. Snubbed governments may consider their exclusion a badge of honour, or they may resent being excluded again for what they will regard as arbitrary reasons.
The problem is, the landlords may end up paying a political price for excluding some states from what is little more than a glorified small talk shop. If the hosts refuse to draw limits on which states can participate, they open themselves to criticism that the summit has no substance, but if they raise the bar high enough, they will eventually leave most of the world’s elected governments out. When the United States and its partners make the decision to rule out some states by regression while ignoring the failures of others, exposes them to accusations of hypocrisy and favoritism.
Take India, for example. India has been steadily moving in the wrong direction under Prime Minister Narendra Modi for years. In the latest example of India’s retreat, the leader of the Indian opposition, Rahul Gandhi, was just expelled by parliament after being found guilty of libel for his criticism of the prime minister. Gandhi will now be barred from standing for election for the next six years.
The decision provoked protests from all Indian opposition parties and Gandhi’s expulsion was even defined “the direct assassination of democracy”. Gandhi’s Congress Party spokesman he has declared that it was part of a “systematic and repetitive emasculation of democratic institutions by the ruling party”. What the administration’s official response to this development will be remains to be seen, but it would be truly surprising if the United States did anything more than express concern.
The US has largely ignored India’s democratic setback in recent years out of a desire to nurture its government as a partner against China. Earlier this year, the Indian government banned a BBC documentary criticizing the prime minister and the State Department he pretended nothing happened . When last month the government broke in in the BBC offices, the State Department played it down. Washington has a lot of practice looking the other way when a partner government becomes more illiberal and authoritarian, but this becomes much harder to ignore when our government is often touting the importance of democracy in a big fight with “autocracy” .
At best it will be embarrassing to have the Indian government represented at a democracy summit while that government is openly undermining democracy and press freedom in India. India’s inclusion in this year’s summit makes it clear that there is no consistent or principled standard enforced against governments walking away.
Allowing India to participate in an event like this right now helps distract Modi from his rule’s creeping authoritarianism and majority abuses. Whatever goals the Biden administration hopes to achieve with these summits, providing cover for an illiberal nationalist while crushing his political opposition presumably isn’t one of them.
The Biden administration’s “democracy versus autocracy” rhetoric has never suited US foreign policy or international political realities. Not only does the US have many semi-authoritarian and authoritarian partners and clients who have absolutely no interest in defending democracy, but the US “leadership” has also put Washington at odds with democratic nations who want no part in its conflicts. global and rivalries.
Instead of rhetorically dividing the world into opposing camps, the United States should be open to cultivating better relations with as many states as possible, regardless of regime type. As many observers have begun to notice, the United States is become too inflexible in their foreign policy, and the “democracy versus autocracy” framework risks reinforcing this rigidity when we can least afford it.
Other democratic governments will naturally have their own national interests and will not sacrifice those interests just because the United States and its European allies say it is necessary for the good of a larger ideological cause. The United States must understand that other democracies are not obligated to side with Washington on every important issue, and they must understand that sharing one form of government does not guarantee that other states will see the world as our government sees it.
In many cases, other states may remain neutral or even end up on the other side of a major issue because their governments are doing what their constituents want. If the United States truly respects other democracies, it must accept that they may adopt different and even opposing views on important international developments. Our leaders should not delude themselves into believing that they speak for all democratic states or that their preferences are what all democracies should have.
The United States would be better served if our leaders devoted their attention to sustaining and repairing our crumbling political system. Especially in foreign policy, we need a government that is more transparent and accountable to the people. Our leaders preach democracy to the rest of the world while neglecting or undermining it at home. The best thing the United States could do to “advocate” the cause of democracy around the world is to improve our own practice here.
This brings us back to the question of the purpose of this summit. If it’s going to “strengthen” democratic norms and practices and avert backsliding, it’s not working very well. If it’s just putting on a show to congratulate ourselves on the superiority of our system, it’s a waste of time and effort. If this is primarily an exercise to provide a showcase for some other political agenda, we could do without pretending it has anything to do with democracy.
Given all these pitfalls, another democracy summit does not appear to be worth the headaches it is likely to create in Washington.
author: Daniel Larison
the author’s assessments on India do not necessarily correspond to VPNnews’ point of view