The United States of America hosted a virtual Democracy Summit on Dec. 9-10. It’s ironic, because when it comes to democracy the U.S. isn’t what one would call a good host. Forget being a pioneer of democracy across the globe, democracy is on the collapse in its own backyard. According to Zack Beauchamp, who writes for popular U.S. news website Vox, democracy in the U.S. is at serious risk, while the mass democracy movement needed to save it is nowhere to be found.
On the other hand, a litany of countries on the guest list wouldn’t even know the meaning of democracy it looked them straight in the face. Many U.S. authors have voiced concerns that a summit is a tool of the “new Cold War” between Washington and China. In an article published in Politico, James Traub of New York University’s Center on International Cooperation (CIC), “The summit could easily serve as a legitimating device for less-than-democratic countries.” In reality, the summit was nothing other than a well-put-on futile political charade.
American media critics point that the virtual democracy summit had more to do with geopolitics than “values.” In her December 8 article published in the weekly “The Nation” magazine, Katrina Vanden Heuvel writes that Biden’s summit should not be used to kickstart a new Cold War with China. Reiterating Biden’s “America is Back” mantra to his Western allies, she highlights that Biden’s new norm seems to be about reviving Cold War politics. Before choosing to lead a Democracy summit or start a new Cold War, she defends that America “urgently needs a more serious discussion about its real security priorities—and the real challenges it faces.”
Dave Lawler, who writes for the famed Axios website, in a December 9 article states: “President Biden has described the global competition between the U.S. and China as a battle of democracy vs. autocracy. The reality is often murkier.” Lawler goes on to say that the U.S. is courting autocratic regimes of Southeast Asian countries that are at loggerheads with China, which of course serves to back Beijing into a corner. The Biden administration, for its part, claimed that the Democracy Summit is not a global alliance against China and Russia. However, as Traub points out, when it comes to the great power struggle with China, Biden’s go-to argument is always “democracy.” Stating that the U.S. is locked in a great power struggle with China, Traub points out that European and Asian countries fear being caught in the crossfire between the U.S. and China.
A myriad of other writers allude to the fact that among the U.S.’s BFFs in South Asia, particularly Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Saudi Arabia, are the world’s most non-democratic countries. A day before the summit, the U.S. Senate rejected a draft that blocked the sale of 650-million-dollar missiles to Saudi Arabia. In the U.S. Senate, only two Republican and 28 Democrat senators voted against selling missiles to Riyadh. However, Biden promised in his presidential election campaign that he would reverse Trump's Saudi policy, that he would treat Saudi as a "pariah" if he became president, and that he would end arms sales. He had pledged all this in the wake of the brutal slaughter of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Another salient point in the criticism of the so-called “Democracy Summit” was made by Matthew Hoh, a researcher of the Washington-based Center for International Policy (CFIP). Hoh states that America supports about 75 percent of the world’s dictators, autocracies, and military regimes with weapons, military training, and funding. Highlighting the duplicity of the claim that the U.S. endorses democracy and freedom, he goes on to say that when it comes to implementing these two-faced policies, both Democratic and Republican presidents are two sides of the same coin.
The U.S., which had shamefully supported military dictatorships during the "former Cold War" period, to the detriment of so many countries, still continues this policy to this day. The claim that such a country is a pioneer for global democracy is no more than a euphemism and deception.