Europe should push the “ coalition of democracies ” to Joe Biden


Before his election, Joe Biden had an idea “Coalition of democracies”Some of his advisors had previously raised it in particular Anthony BlinkFuture US Secretary of State.

This sparked the idea Some doubts in the United States As well as in Other countries. In Europe, there is concern that it might increase divisions and limit the scope for discussions with authoritarian regimes. Some even discover a whiff of the Cold War. This contrasts with other sensitive debates, not the least of which are about “strategic autonomy” in Europe and The reason for existence From NATO.

Why is such an alliance of democracies and democracies necessary? How do we change our foreign policy models? What goals should you strive to achieve? How can it last?

Split the world

In an increasingly clear way, the major divide in the world has become between Dictatorships and liberal democracies, With points of nuance and degrees for sure, but also uncertain areas that could precede turning points. The question of the downfall of democracies, even those that seemed to be the most established, is far from rhetorical or receding in the history of the Dark Ages. The Trump episode And the The January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol I have shown this. Orbán Deals in Hungary Another example. France is not immune to such a virus and the far-right victory Not an impossible scenario.

Internationally, sort of Alliance of dictatorshipsOften referred to as criminal systems, they take shape quietly. We see it in action at the United Nations as well as in Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. This is shown in To this The solidarity that is created against democracies, beyond the differences dictatorships may have with one another. After the 16 are Russians and mostly Chinese Veto on SyriaWe have seen The same alliance is forming in Burma. It is emphasized on the ideological level, where dictatorships express a common hostility to the rule of law, especially international law, human rights, political and social liberalism – the crowning of the edifice – the very concept of truth.

The idea of ​​creating a coalition for democracy is not only to halt their domination of the international arena, but also to separate certain states from their grasp. It is a question of regaining control of democracies after a period when dictatorships, due to our abstention, dictated the international agenda.

A qualitative shift in foreign policy

If we are to be serious about defending democracy, we need to change the five models of our foreign action that prevail today.

First, we must return the rights to the center. It’s not just the violation of rights, from the assassination of Russian dissidents to the brutal repression in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, particularly by the great powers, oftentimes. Foreshadows external aggressionBut the silence that surrounds her in the name of the supposed RealpolitikIn the eyes of dictators, it perpetuates the weakness of democracies.

Second, we must say and name things. When China commits crimes against humanity, or even, In the words of Mike Pompeo And the Then Anthony BlinkenThe genocide in Xinjiang against the Uyghurs, we should call them that. The same is true When Russia commits war crimes in SyriaAnd the Ukraine And the Georgia. Not allowing this to happen is a contribution to the revival of international law that dictatorships want to destroy.

Xi Jinping, Jair Bolsonaro and Vladimir Putin at the BRICS Group Summit in Brasilia on November 13, 2019.
Sergio Lima / AFP

Third, we must consider the potential pitfalls of plurality. Everyone can see it as an asset, but dictatorships also play on it to assert their claims to diversity – to mandate an oppressive regime – and to present themselves as equally legitimate members of a system based on that law that they intend to undermine. In a multilateral system, while theoretical equality is the norm, some are more equal than others. In this sense, attempts to return P5 to the center of the game give weight to the two dictatorships that are part of it.

For now, this means not relying too much on the UN system for security issues. The positions of the Russian and Chinese regimes make it a tangible obstacle to resolving the most serious disputes. A cohesive democratic coalition cannot expect the United Nations to authorize its participation.

Finally, the defense of democracy rules out the classic pacifist segmentation of the subjects in which the propaganda of democracies instills themselves. In particular, the belief that we can connect trade and security, or even combat climate change and human rights, is an illusion when we demonstrate that we are unable to seriously confront dictatorships. The last example of Germany, which it claims to want Working with Russia on environmental issues – Plus Nord Stream 2 – illustrates the risks of cooperation that lead to inaction.

Ranking of challenges

To be sure, the Coalition for Democracy does not aim in most cases to eliminate dictatorships by military force. Who would consider attacking Russia or China? But we must curb contagion, that is, the number of regimes that risk falling under the control of the most powerful authoritarian regimes. Defending democracy requires rejecting spheres of influence in the world, a topic that both Beijing and Moscow want to promote. Dictatorships aim to impede peoples’ exit towards democracy, and to prevent new alliances with liberal regimes, and when a region cannot be controlled, it keeps it in a state of relative chaos, because this poses a threat to the West. Hence Iran, which has its own goals De facto The role of Russia’s deputy is playing by destabilizing the Middle East.

Second, it is imperative to restore states that have directed, or are inclined to do so, toward dangerous alliances. China and Russia, and to some extent also Turkey, which is itself the subject of pressure from the first two, are trying to lure some countries into their orbit through diplomatic maneuvers or gas investments. This is the case in some Balkan countries. First and foremost, SerbiaAnd the Hungary, But also many countries In the Gulf And the In Africa. The success of our diplomacy will be measured by our ability to constrain them.

Space to work

An Alliance of Democracies is meaningless without a joint plan of action. Even if direct confrontation is excluded, it is not without means.

The first, albeit symbolic, remains the clear affirmation of our principles, from international law, especially humanitarian law, to the rejection of areas of influence and the review of borders by force. The ideological struggle of the other side is justified to drop them in practice, law and legality. It sure assumes Blamelessly at home. We often hear blame in reference to the George W. Bush era: “Let’s not oppose the good camp with the camp of evil!” It is true that the “good side”, that is, the West, has committed many crimes, but it has the ability to admit that. Their actions could be freely discussed, and the perpetrators could be brought to justice. This is not the case in dictatorships where free voices are silenced, sometimes even through assassination. Of course, democracies have traditional allies who may have committed crimes – Yemen comes to mind. But if we value our principles, we can and must tell the truth to them.

The second way we can act is to support our allies, whether they are in Ukraine, Taiwan or Georgia. We must re-establish a credible deterrent position. Advocates of revisionist regimes warn: “You are in danger of entering a third world war.” We heard that warning a lot and gave it a lot of credibility, which explains our inaction in the past.

The third way is to support democracy. While we cannot press for regime change, we must support democratic forces who can participate in it – this applies to the Belarusian, Russian and Chinese opposition. Let’s ignore the propaganda of the regimes that accuse us of supporting them ‘Color revolutions’. We do not create this opposition, but we can help that opposition in the name of our values ​​and the freedom of peoples.

Finally, we need a joint plan to end our tolerance for the actions of dictatorships on our soil. The Fight corruption In the circles close to them would be a decisive step. However, we continue to turn a blind eye to the way they can continue to spend polluted money on our land, including using it to earn support at home. We need to stop minimizing these risks, do more to expose and punish these activities, and harmonize the legal framework from the top down.

The goal of the Alliance for Democracy is to unite us in an ideological struggle, but it has a practical dimension that there can be no distance between our American allies and the free countries in Europe and the democracies of Asia and Oceania. The power we want Europe to have cannot be neutral. Both must recognize the division of the world that dictatorships are trying to impose on us and actively work to prevent it. Even more than the United States, Europe has an interest in leading this fight.

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