US President Joe Biden plans a series of democracies in early December. But such a thing seems very tricky.
This is a good time for US President Joe Biden. It is time for democracies to unite against dictatorships: “Western nations are competing not only with China but also with dictatorial governments around the world,” he said. So democratically minded countries must work together.
The West competes with dictatorial governments around the world.
The International Democracy Summit aims to discuss human rights, authoritarian tendencies and the fight against corruption. There is an ecstatic talk in Washington of “fueling democratic renewal.” Private sector and NGOs are also included. Biden is absolutely adamant: “In the end, democracy must win and win.”
What about Turkey, Hungary, the Philippines?
Outside of the US authorities, however, enthusiasm is low. Kenneth Roth, director of the Human Rights Organization, spoke to the SRF about a bad idea: “Of the 110 countries invited, there are many countries that do not meet democratic standards – from Turkey to the Philippines to Hungary and Poland.”
In fact, the Biden government is inviting several states to the first, virtual summit. Roth now believes the minimum standards will be defined in December. So only those who meet the requirements will be invited to the second, physical summit: “It creates an incentive for participants to try.”
A kind of minimum standard
Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch, sees a minimum standard not only in holding elections, but also in holding those in power accountable to the people: “This requires an independent media, civil society organizations and an independent judiciary.”
On the other hand, Professor Jussi Hanhimaki, an expert in international relations at the Geneva Graduate Institute, believes that the American approach to the “big tent” is the right one. If set aside there will no longer be any incentive to work for democracy and the rule of law.
Nevertheless, the question arises as to where the line should be drawn: “Hungary or Turkey: who is still a Democrat, who is an authoritarian?”
Hanhikmagi does not expect any major conclusions from Biden’s democratic summit, but believes that the democratic world should not remain idle as the dictatorship led by China and Russia continues to prevail around the world year after year.
Authoritarians consider themselves superior
Kenneth Roth, head of Human Rights Watch, believes that the uninvited Venezuela, Nicaragua, China, Russia and many others are trying to boycott the Biden summit. Because they know full well that they are miles away to qualify for it. “China in particular does not claim to be a liberal democracy based on the rule of law, but its government system is considered very superior,” Roth said.
One can achieve something more with “willing democrats”. However, optimistic dictators will criticize Biden’s plans for interfering in national sovereignty and willingly point out democratic shortcomings in the West, especially in the United States.
No matter how laudable and noble the US President’s plan to defend democracy and the rule of law may seem, it is difficult to implement. Failure to fail cannot be ruled out.
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