The democracy summit must be coupled with a democratic strategy


The Biden administration has rhetorically placed democracy promotion abroad at the center of its foreign policy. As part of this batch, the White House committed to conducting a dossier Summit for Democracy To mobilize support to fight corruption, fight tyranny and promote human rights. Some foreign policy analysts argue that such a meeting is unwise Instead, management should “work” on these issues at home, while others bring them up Smart recommendations On how to craft the assembly. And since no administration will back down after making such a bold declaration, those in the latter camp have made more meaningful and practical contributions.

What is largely overlooked in this debate is what comes before and after the summit, as well as how the Biden administration articulates and advances its vision for promoting democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Holding a group of established and ambitious democracies to convey America’s commitment to the cause is a smart and principled foreign policy, given the rise of China and America’s troubling experience with pressure on its institutions. Even while planning the summit, the White House should develop a roadmap to implement the president’s vision. This means drafting a strategy for democracy and human rights and signing the implementation measure required to anchor it as American policy.

From the top to the strategy

The summit is necessary but not sufficient to address many of the global challenges to democracy. Authoritarianism is on the march, after using the pandemic as an excuse to expand executive power and suppress dissent. The kleptocratic system is on the rise and often suppresses autocrats. The Chinese Communist Party launched an ideological rebellion against democracy by actively promoting an alternative governance model based on central control and control. Chinese companies linked to Beijing are taking advantage of Worsening governance gaps In weak countries, by using corruption and opaque processes to strengthen deals that favor elite interests and undermine accountability. Russia uses corruption, election attacks, and disinformation to undermine democratic actors and allies with ties to the United States and the European Union. Citizens feel this in every major region Democracy does not help Make their life better.

The Biden administration should use the summit to highlight these challenges, rally support to address them, and work with like-minded allies to develop solutions. But it must go beyond this to develop a roadmap to success and take subsequent bureaucratic measures to consolidate progress. This means developing a comprehensive US democracy and human rights strategy that includes all relevant agencies and tools for support.

The strategy should include clear short and long term goals and theories of success to achieve them, with measurable goals for the chosen focus areas. The overarching, long-term goal of the United States should be a world in which democracy is the predominant form of government – because it is the model with the best chance of achieving peace and prosperity for citizens. The strategy will need to define country and regional priorities and visions of success in each, given competing strategic priorities and limited resources.

As I wrote elsewhere, Five areas of focus deserve attention As part of the Biden administration’s democracy strategy. First, it must support the basic institutions of democracy in countries of strategic importance. Second, the promotion of democracy and the protection of democracy must be combined to enable states to prevent and respond to Russian and Chinese interference. Third, it should support a positive view of how technology can advance democratic principles and overcome digital authoritarianism. Fourth, it must renew its commitment to working with allies to support democracy abroad. Finally, they must be backed by robust, principled diplomacy to stand with democratic activists and speak out against dictators and dictators.

The management strategy for democracy and human rights must include steps to revitalize democracy at home. The dual international and domestic democracy strategy will reflect how the administration has prioritized action on this important issue at home and abroad – and lends credibility to outside efforts by explicitly acknowledging (and putting resources against) weaknesses in American democratic practice.

From strategy to politics

The United States’ democracy strategy should be the main outcome of the summit. Management can use the summit to announce the new approach and with it a commitment of substantial external aid resources to implement the vision. The Biden administration should enshrine democracy strategy in directing national security, as it did with the The White House’s Approach to Confronting COVID-19. Such a directive would establish a strategy like the US policy to support democracy at home and abroad, and bear within it the president’s directives that the federal government implement this vision.

Presidents have Directions used regularly To clarify their policy on a range of issues. George W. Bush administration, That issued 66 of these directives, Polar Policy is outlined in the Presidential National Security Directive (NSPD) 66 and US Cybersecurity Policy in NSPD 54. The Obama Administration, which issued 43 directives43, Outline of New United States Policy toward Cuba in Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 43. The Trump Administration, which Chest 18In the Presidential Note for National Security (NSPM) 53, US policy on promoting the global development and prosperity of women is outlined. Every administration dating back to the Truman presidency has done the same.

Besides codifying the United States’ approach to democracy and thus increasing the likelihood that the strategy will work, the presidential directive sends a strong signal to our allies – and authoritarians – that the United States is serious about promoting democracy abroad.

It takes time to develop such strategies and directions. The National Security Council (NSC) should begin its drafting and planning process now even as it plans to hold a summit. If not, the White House risks this high-level meeting by absorbing the oxygen from its democratic efforts and leaving, after the meeting, with little to show and the actual work left to do. It can be said that the strategy – not the summit – should be the priority of the National Security Council in focusing on this issue that will be determined in the coming months.

I look forward

The peaks are exciting. Policy documents are not. Fortunately, they are not mutually exclusive. The Biden administration is right to hold the summit, thereby showing the world the United States’s commitment to democracy. It should use the summit to announce its broader strategy of democracy, ensuring that all agencies implement the strategy quickly.

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