Tuesday, August 9

US President Joe Biden says defending democracy is the ‘challenge of our time’

Democracy faces “sustained and alarming challenges” around the world, US President Joe Biden said Thursday at the opening of the first virtual White House Democracy Summit.

Biden urged representatives of some 100 countries to reverse the current downturn in democracy that is unfolding at a time of growing authoritarianism around the world and extraordinary strains on fundamental institutions in the US, including the attack on the 6th. January to the Capitol.

The US president added that trends “are largely pointing in the wrong direction” and that democracy needs “champions.”

“In my opinion, we are at a turning point in our history,” Biden said. “Will we allow the decline in rights and democracy to continue unchecked?”

The two-day event, held by video link due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was announced by the White House as the leadership of the United States in an existential struggle between democracies and powerful autocracies or dictatorships.

“Make no mistake, we are in a moment of democratic reckoning,” said Uzra Zeya, undersecretary of state for Civil Security, Democracy and Human Rights.

“Countries in practically all regions of the world have experienced degrees of democratic backsliding,” he revealed.

‘Problem of democracy at home’

The virtual summit has already sparked backlash from some of America’s adversaries and nations that were not invited.

China and Russia, which Biden sees as champions in the field of autocracies, were deliberately left out, something they say is stoking an ideological rift.

“No country has the right to judge the vast and varied political landscape of the world by a single criterion,” wrote Ambassadors Anatoly Antonov of Russia and Qin Gang of China in a joint essay last month, describing the Biden administration as exhibiting a Cold War mentality. .

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Deciding which other countries should be excluded from the summit for human rights abuses or vote rigging was also difficult, they said.

For example, Pakistan and the Philippines were invited, while the nationalist government of Hungary, a member of the EU, was out.

Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro was invited, while the leader of NATO member Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan was turned away.

However, the most uncomfortable element of the summit was the fact that Biden is struggling to restore faith in democracy at home, let alone on the other side of the world.

His Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, continues a shocking campaign to alter America’s political norms and overturn the 2020 election in which he was defeated by Biden.

With the help of sympathetic media, including the powerful Fox News, Trump continues to spread lies about fraud among his tens of millions of followers.

And with the shockwaves of the assault on Congress on January 6 by Trump supporters still echoing, there are mounting fears about the 2022 congressional elections and the 2024 presidential vote in which Trump may seek a comeback.


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