Joe Biden has tried for the second time. Acting as the virtual host of a meeting convened together with South Korea, Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Zambia, he has brought together some three hundred guests from more than one hundred countries under the common motto of promoting democracy. But if from the first call, in December 2021, few tangible results can be remembered, something similar is happening on this occasion.
Although Washington insists that we are not in a new Cold War, the fact is that with initiatives like this one it seems to be pointing to the opposite, striving to redefine the world into two blocs facing each other around the banners of democrats and autocrats. And although he also maintains that he does not intend to give lessons or certificates of democracy to the rest of the world, he dares to present himself as the best example of that system -despite the enormous deficiencies that it has been showing and that have led to the renowned index produced annually by The Economist does not consider it one of the 21 full democracies on the planet.RELATED
Nor does he hesitate to hand out prizes to countries like India, despite having an ultra-nationalist process under way that seriously marginalizes a minority as numerous as that of Muslims, with almost 200 million members; or Israel – as if its apartheid system were not so obvious or as if the judicial reform promoted by Benjamin Netanyahu did not pose a frontal threat to the rule of law. And, of course, along the way, it also punishes others, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Hungary or Turkey, by denying them a seat at the table, in order to make distinctions based on their own interests.
Inevitably, these fluctuations in which geopolitical and geoeconomic interests clearly take precedence over the values and principles that Washington claims to defend at all costs, give the summit a point of surrealism that facilitates criticism from other actors such as China and Russia, even encouraging them to redouble their efforts to consolidate some kind of alliance that also leads them to present themselves as an alternative to US hegemony.
A critique that, instead of despising the democratic system, encourages them first to enter the same playing field, presenting themselves as better students in its functional implementation, and that continues to highlight the negative balance of the US in its alleged attempt to promote the democracy by force in regions such as the Middle East, after the terrible examples of Afghanistan and Iraq, among others.
Of course, nothing can be objected to the declared interest in reinforcing democratic programs with financing of technological projects in favor of democracy, transparent governance, the fight against corruption, support for independent media and the calling of fair elections. Some objectives for which Biden himself has committed 690 million dollars over the next two years. Biden himself is encouraged to declare that, compared to the situation that occurred in 2021, “the airs are changing in favor of democracy”, when data such as those provided by the Swedish research institute, V-Dem recall that almost Three quarters of the world’s population today lives in autocratic systems, while a decade ago less than half.
For this reason, beyond the succession of more or less elegant speeches, what transpires from a meeting like this is that each of the participants takes the opportunity to align themselves with a United States that they continue to prefer as hegemon, and to present themselves as champions. of democracy, despite the evidence that may be against it.
Meanwhile, what the United States tries to present as a strong defense of values and principles and of an international order based on rules, continues to be shown as the defense of a status quo formulated in its basic pillars by the victors of World War II, with Washington and London in the lead; hardly willing to lose their privileges, leaving space for other emerging players, and determined to defend the model at all costs, even if that means forgetting the principles and even violating (when they deem it necessary) the very rules whose compliance is strictly required of those who , also in defense of their interests, dare to question it.
In this sense, it seems clear that those who lose out are those same values that are usually presented as universal, including human rights, when reality shows daily that they are not so universal and that their defense and promotion usually end up subordinated to other agendas.
If to all this is added that there is no mechanism that obliges the participants to comply with the commitments that are adopted, reduced to mere declarations of will that can be at the service of interests that have nothing to do with the strengthening of democracy , the conclusion cannot be very positive. It remains to be seen if the third time, in Seoul, which will host the new summit, we will see something different.