U.S. Vice President Joe Biden meets NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (L) during the 51st Munich Security Conference at the ‘Bayerischer Hof’ hotel in Munich February 7, 2015. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Biden wants to convene an international ‘Summit for Democracy’. He shouldn’t

Co-authored by David Adler

Democracy is in disrepair. Over the past four years, President Donald Trump has mocked its rules and norms, accelerating the decay of democratic institutions in the United States. We are not alone: a global reckoning is underway, with authoritarian leaders capitalizing on broken promises and failed policies.

To reverse the trend, President-elect Joe Biden has proposed to convene a Summit for Democracy. His campaign presents the summit as an opportunity to “renew the spirit and shared purpose of the nations of the Free World”. With the U.S. placing itself once again “at the head of the table,” other nations can find their seats, and the task of beating back democracy’s adversaries can begin.

But the summit will not succeed. It is at once too blunt and too thin an instrument. Although the summit might serve as a useful forum for coordinating policy on such areas as financial oversight and election security, it is liable to drive U.S. foreign policy even further down a failed course that divides the world into hostile camps, prioritizing confrontation over cooperation.

If Biden is to make good on his commitment to “meet the challenges of the 21st century,” his administration should avoid recreating the problems of the 20th. Only by diminishing antagonism toward the nations outside the “democratic world” can the U.S. rescue its democracy and deliver deeper freedom for its people.

Read the full article in The Guardian.

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