Biden is in no position to lecture anyone about democracy


Biden is in no position to lecture anyone about democracy

Carlton Joseph

By Carlton  Joseph

Delivering his first major foreign policy statement at the recent G7 summit, President Joseph Biden named China as the most serious competitor of the United States.  He insisted that the United States will confront China’s economic abuses, counter its aggressive, coercive action and  push back on China’s attack on human rights, intellectual property, and global governance.  I  was taken aback  at this verbal tirade.

Biden declared that The Trump era of “America first” diplomacy is over. He listed the treaties and multinational institutions that the United States has re-entered or re-engaged with in recent weeks, from the Paris agreement on climate change to the World Health Organization to COVAX, the global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.He also indicated that he was willing to sit down with Iran to discuss reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers.

Seemingly anxious to reassert US leadership role at the Summit, while downplaying  the insurrection on the US Capitol, Biden emphasized that autocracies will never outperform democracies, – hear, hear ! – and restored alliances are the West’s pathway to restored influence.

He also told the leaders at the Summit that they must prepare together for long-term strategic competition with China in the areas of cyberspace, artificial intelligence and biotechnology.  He asserted that the West must again be setting the rules of how these technologies are used rather than ceding those forums to Beijing. 

However, his impassioned speech did not seem to gain much traction with other G7 leaders. 

French President Emmanuel Macron defended European “strategic autonomy” and noted the postwar American-dominated world order needs to yield to new realities.  He also spoke publicly about the importance of dialogue with Moscow, saying that Russia is a part of Europe that cannot simply be shunned and that Europe must be strong enough to defend its own interests.

And Germany’s Chancellor  Angela Merkel  made it clear that her country  is no longer willing to follow Washington on the world stage.  Acknowledging that the interests between trans-Atlantic nations don’t always line up and China’s role as both competitor and partner, she insisted that the US and Europe should redefine a common approach to China. 

She also felt that it was important to develop a trans-Atlantic agenda toward Russia that makes cooperative offers on the one hand, but on the other very clearly names the differences.  Merkel’s priorities were fighting terrorism in Africa and reviving stalled diplomatic talks in Ukraine.

Clearly, Europe has “matured” in the last four years.  The uncertainty of America’s geopolitical interests, profound turmoil in its domestic politics, and its problematic foreign policies have seriously damaged its allies’ trust and confidence in  its leadership.

European nations have been forced to focus on their national security interests and have decided to address their own problems. They recognize their dependence on Russian energy supplies, and are not interested in Biden’s call to punish Russia for undermining democracies.  They also recognize their mutual interests with China with whom they clinched an important investment agreement  last December. America First has forced them to finally put their own interest before America’s.

Europe is  clearly not interested in confronting America’s fabricated enemies and America needs to deal with the enemies in America.

 The G7 agreed to support a fair and mutually beneficial global economic system for all people, especially G20 countries, including large economies such as China.  They agreed to consult with each other on collective approaches to address non-market-oriented policies and practices, and to cooperate with others to address important global issues that impact all countries.

In trying to mobilize the G7 members to contain China’s development, Biden said “U.S. and European companies are required to publicly disclose corporate governance structures … and abide by rules to deter corruption and monopolistic practices. Chinese companies should be held to the same standard.” 

Biden should realize that countries chose the economic system that works best for their national development and the upward mobility of  their citizens.  China’s system has moved millions of people from poverty and  it is now an economic power.  Why should  it change it system just to please the G7?

The newly elected American president has declared that “we want a future where all nations are able to freely determine their own path without a threat of violence or coercion.” Fine words, Mr. President.

But it’s time to face reality: The world is not prepared to blindly follow America which has normalized repression of Black people for the last five hundred years. 

And after the recent failed insurrection in Washington , Biden is in no position to lecture anyone about democracy.

( Trinidad-born Carlton Joseph who lives in Washington DC, is a close observer of political developments in  the United States.)