President Biden has frequently championed the cause of democracy and embraced the notion of liberal democracy defeating autocracy in his foreign policy discourse. In his recent addresses from 2021, the Munich Security Conference, and the Summit for Democracy, Biden has unambiguously conveyed that this is a struggle between the two systems. This outlook is understandable, yet questionable, as it risks disturbing the weak and thin consensus backing America’s global policy and affects its presence in overseas diplomacy.
This isn’t the first time when a president has resorted to similar language. In the days of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, two civilizational premises of democracy and dictatorship were deployed to justify the world wars. In the Cold War, we saw this technique employed by Harry S. Truman and Ronald Reagan as well.
Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt were two of America’s former presidents who used the notion of democratic and dictatorships to justify the plight of world wars. They both emphasized the need for democracy to be the way forward for the world, thus unifying the American people on that idea. Harry S. Truman and Ronald Reagan continued the trend during the Cold War in the same manner, asserting that liberalism should take precedence over other forms of government.
On the other hand, President Biden’s fixation on democracy may alienate some of the allies that his foreign policy needs, such as allies all around the world and domestically. In theory, choosing to prioritize democracy as the basis of foreign policy may strengthen U.S. relations with the democratic states, however, this overlooks the importance of traditional non-democratic countries that may still hold strong ties to the U.S. In a fast-paced world, America needs all partners in order to remain competitive a global power, not just democratic ones.
Given the implications and potential risks of the president’s proposed policy, further analysis is necessary to evaluate the cost of Biden’s democratic values and its effects on U.S. foreign policy before moving forward with such a revolutionary agenda.
The Munich Security Conference is an annual event where leading experts from around the world come together to discuss global security issues. It is a major platform for discussing foreign policy, and the events of 2021 had extra emphasis due to the 2020 U.S. Presidential election. President Biden had the opportunity to voice his opinion on the American-led democratic way forward, making a case for increased democracy in a globalized world.
It’s important to consider all of the consequence of pursuing such a goal. Costly and difficult diplomatic relations with non-democratic countries may arise, as well as difficult relationships with members of the domestic government. By relying on democratic values, Biden’s foreign policy may also exclude countries who do not comply with those same principles, closing diplomatic doors which could have been essential to the country’s advancement.
Hence, while democratic values can be argued to have advantages, a solely democratic-driven foreign policy may not be the most fitting solution for all. It is important to evaluate all of the pros and cons with further research and analysis in order to make sure that United States is taking the best possible approach forward in the future.