Summit for Democracy Showed the Challenges to Democracy
Early last month the administration of U.S. President Joseph R. Biden hosted the two-day online Summit for Democracy. The summit was attended by representatives from 110 countries and regions, representing just less than 60% of the world’s population and 70% of global GDP.
However, the summit fell woefully short of demonstrating unity among democratic nations against authoritarian regimes of any kind of strategic consensus for dealing with China. First, the criteria used to invite participants were unclear. Among the countries taking part were Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, and other nations that can hardly be said to be democracies. Press Secretary Jen Psaki explained that the invite list aimed to include a “diverse range of voices,” so “inclusion or an invitation is not a stamp of approval on their approach to democracy, nor is exclusion a stamp of the opposite of that — of disapproval.” In other words, it is a “Summit for Democracy” not a “Summit of Democracies.” However, if that were the purpose of the meeting, it surely would have made sense to invite NATO member countries that are committed to authoritarianism such as Hungary and Turkey, to help attract them back into the democracy camp.