Wednesday, March 22, 2023

How democratic is the American democracy conference?

Among the election promises of the current US President Joe Biden, if elected, he will organize a global democracy conference in the first year. According to that promise, the first democracy conference was held. The question of how democratic this democracy conference has been raised. Because the 112 countries that have been selected to participate in this conference, no democratic rationale has been found for the selection of those countries. Military-political relations, geopolitical calculations and their own strategic support have been given more importance in the selection of participating countries.

The conference was held around three special criteria. These are- 1. Protection of democratic institutions and opposition to authoritarianism, 2. Prevention of corruption and 3. Promotion of human rights. But most of the invited countries are not supposed to pass the mentioned criteria. In fact, this conference is more political than democratic. This politics is the politics of global authority. Politics of pulling allies. The politics of showing some countries. Politics to warn countries like Bangladesh.

America’s main opponent in world politics is now China. Old enemy Russia is there. Both these countries have been left out of the Democracy Conference list. But America has rightly invited China’s staunch adversary Taiwan and Russia’s neck Ukraine. And that’s why China and Russia are roaring. China accuses America of using democracy as a ‘weapon of mass destruction’. Their real aim is to create ‘division’ and ‘conflict’. America is trying to isolate China and stop its rise. It should be noted that Pakistan, known as an authoritarian and corrupt state without human rights, was invited to Biden’s democracy conference. But China pressured Pakistan not to participate in this conference. And that’s why Imran Khan’s government didn’t dare to participate in the conference by beating China, the ‘friend of danger’.

According to many analysts, America’s role in the world makes people laugh when they talk about authority, democracy and human rights. A popular saying in political circles around the world is that America needs no more enemies than its friends. Ninety-nine percent of the military coups and overthrows of governments in countries since World War II have occurred with direct and indirect American intervention. What has America done in the world in the last 80 years to remove the rulers of dislike? America has ousted and overthrown the rulers it disliked all over the world by stopping wars, bombings, coups, imposing economic embargoes, constant media propaganda against the government, and at one point paving the way for and carrying out military aggression. To stop the progress of an adversary country, the elite class, scientists and intellectuals of that country are not even killed or assassinated by America! America has even played a role in killing millions of people by strategically creating famines.

How can such a country sponsor democracy and human rights? America’s democracy is actually a self-interested democracy. They are now using democracy, human rights and freedom of speech as weapons to protect their military, political and economic dominance. In order to maintain their influence and power and to hide their misdeeds, they attack, plunder, and wage war, saying these three things. American democracy is constantly going through a struggle aimed at overcoming our own internal divisions and recommitting to the ideals that the nation’s original architects spoke of in the Declaration of Independence. In other words, the people of every democracy-loving country must join this struggle to maintain the republic. Democracy is not a game to be watched in the gallery, it requires participation, transparency and accountability.

The Biden administration hoped that, through this summit, the invited countries would renew their commitment to democratic values and support an international process to protect democracy. Everyone has made such a promise orally; But in this virtual meeting, there was no doubt whether the aerial announcement carried any importance or not. The first doubt is about the host of the conference, the United States. Democracy in America is facing huge threats right now. Doubts and disbelief about the results of the elections held a year ago still remain. Sixty-eight percent of supporters of former President Trump and the Republican Party think the man currently occupying the White House is a fraud. The victory has been taken away from the one who actually won the election. It is being openly said that Trump will return again in the next election. Whose own house is on fire, how can he put out the fire of another’s house? How can he take the role of a doctor who is a patient himself?

The problem is, looking at the list of invitees to the conference, it seems that America has organized this conference to strengthen its own party, not to protect democracy everywhere in the world. The reason for saying this is that the US has sent invitations only to those it considers allies. America’s antagonism with China and Russia is intensifying, in this animosity America wants invited countries on its side.

According to Anatole Lieven, a fellow at the Quincy Institute, the conference initiative is flawed. Just uttering the name Narendra Modi is enough to understand why. One of the aims of this conference is to build an alliance against Chinese authoritarianism, but that alliance cannot be built without Modi. Hence, Modi was invited. But when Modi was invited and denied the authoritarian character of his government, the entire conference turned into a farce. And so it happened. Poland is similarly invited to hold its own against Russia, even though the country is fast becoming a majority dictatorship. Democracy may be at the center of US foreign policy, but it is not above national security interests.

Like Lieven, Time magazine also thinks, in fact, this conference is nothing more than a ‘farce’. Several heads of government who are openly authoritarian have been invited to this conference. By inviting these countries, the Biden administration has shown evidence of ‘hypocrisy’.

This conference is a diplomatic initiative. Americans see democracy as an instrument. Through this conference, they are trying to overcome their deficit in global democracy, human rights issues. They want to promote their position on human rights and democracy globally. This conference also informs the global strategy of the Biden government centered on China.

The biggest challenge for the US is the state of democracy within it. Biden is dealing with this internal crisis. The state of American democracy has weakened greatly. America has yet to enfranchise all its citizens. It is better to say that the big challenge for the US is not only to talk about democracy as an ideal but also to promote the practice of democracy within itself, so that others can follow.

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