The Biden administration has been having one after another foreign correspondence since the Climate Summit, and this time it’s for Biden’s Democracy Summit, which analysts have been calling ambiguous at best, hypocritical at worst.
The three-day summit is seen to be scheduled from Day Zero, December 8, 2021, to Day Two, December 10, 2021. Biden’s Democracy Summit has its page on the government’s website, as well as a YouTube channel called “The Summit for Democracy” for live streaming of the events in the Summit.
The entire event comprises panel discussions as well as addresses by national leaders from around the world. The topics for the panels include discussions on democracy, political imprisonment, COVID-19, young democratic leadership, private enterprises, status of women, gender-based violence, women’s political participation, Build Back Better act, technology, corruption, human rights, civic space, along with addresses from both President Joe Biden and Vice President Madam Kamala Harris.
President Biden’s statement for the international day of democracy is quoted on Biden’s Democracy Summit website, “No democracy is perfect, and no democracy is ever final. Every gain made, every barrier broken, is the result of determined, unceasing work.” Biden promised the Summit as part of his Presidential campaign, as a measure to combat former president Donald Trump’s hostile and isolating policies that removed the U.S. as an “authoritative country” from the global leadership platform.
Critics including those who have missed out on the invitation along with some attending, have called out Biden’s Democracy Summit as hypocritical or as a plain PR stunt that does not translate well. As the only EU state left off from attending, Hungary tried blocking the participation of the EU from the virtual event altogether.
China and Russia were also left off as the U.S. seemed to hold itself responsible over which country constitutes as “democratic” and which does not. In an open letter penned in The National Interest, Qin Gang, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, and Anatoly Antonov, Russian Ambassador to the United States called out the decision saying democracy is the common universal right of all peoples, and not constrained to a certain country or group of countries.
The letter read, “(The U.S. will be) empowering itself to define who is to attend the event and who is not, who is a “democratic country” and who is not eligible for such status. An evident product of its Cold-War mentality, this will stoke up ideological confrontation and a rift in the world, creating new “dividing lines.” This trend contradicts the development of the modern world. It is impossible to prevent the shaping of a global polycentric architecture but could strain the objective process. China and Russia firmly reject this move.”