By Laura L. Thornton, Senior Vice President, Democracy at the German Marshall Fund
27 March 2023

First, if the Summit were purely a messaging exercise, that’s still a success. It was important for President Biden to signal to the world after the Trump presidency that the U.S. “was back!” — including our commitment to upholding democratic values.

Further, the U.S. approached the first event with the correct degree of humility. For far too long, Americans have fancied themselves on the democracy high horse, preaching to others how things should be done. A country coming out of an attempt by the former president to overturn the results of a free and fair election by setting an insurrectionist mob on the Capitol might want to do more listening and learning than preaching and teaching about democracy.

The Summit’s narrative was, rightly, that we are all in this together in defending and bolstering our democracies — because we are all vulnerable. This is a message the world needed to hear from the United States.