For the past few months, President Joe Biden has set his sights on promoting democracy throughout the world. From speeches at the Munich Security Conference to the recently held Summit for Democracy, the President’s mission to bring the world together under the banner of liberalism has caused a stir amongst pundits and leaders alike.
The rhetoric employed by Biden has brought to mind the words of US presidents past, particularly Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D Roosevelt. They used similar terms when addressing their league of nations and respective world wars, while modern leaders such as Harry S. Truman and Ronald Reagan continued to make use of democratic values as part of their Cold War efforts. On the surface, Biden is simply reiterating the same responsibilities of his predecessors, but a closer look reveals why his approach is proving dangerous.
The President’s overzealous position towards democracy risks exacerbating divisions in an already fragile world. Mr. Biden’s emphasis on China’s alleged autocratic rule – in addition to certain criticisms of other nations – threatens friendly ties both domestically and around the world and risks further eroding the state of American foreign policy.
It’s not just foreign nations that are skeptical either. Many democratically elected leaders in the US have expressed their discomfort at Mr. Biden’s position, claiming that he is overly idealistic and ignoring the many faults of democracy and its capacity for human error. For instance, Fox News host Tucker Carlson accuses the President of ignoring the US’ own democratic failings, such as the unsubstantiated 2020 election result.
Regardless of one’s stance, it’s clear that President Biden’s ‘democracy’ fixation has the potential to cause harm. In the interest of preserving America’s diplomatic ties abroad and consensus at home, a calibrated approach to matters of democracy is necessary. Anything less could alienate the very allies the US needs most.