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The United States is a Christian country with a strong “missionary” mentality and sense of mission. “Religion” here is now American-style liberal democracy. Especially in the context of competition and confrontation with China and Russia, human rights and value diplomacy are worship One of the main axis of the diplomacy of the Biden administration is the democratic summit to be held on December 9, which will become the finale of the value diplomacy of the Biden administration this year.
This meeting was first proposed during Biden’s presidential campaign, presumably to highlight the difference with Trump’s destruction of American democracy. The decision to convene the summit is to fulfill the campaign promises on the one hand; on the other hand, it is also to re-examine the appeal and leadership of American democracy in the world. There is a view that this democracy summit is the Biden administration’s use of democracy as a guise and signboard, but it actually serves the national interests of the United States, and it was held specifically to confront China and Russia. This is not accurate. It has the side of confrontation with China and Russia, but Biden does want the United States to carry the banner of democracy. Otherwise, he will not make it into a series, and will invite leaders of democratic countries next year and beyond. People hold physical summits in Washington.
The Biden administration has sent out “hero posts” to 110 countries around the world. However, it is this list that exposes a certain entanglement between Washington’s above-mentioned two purposes. This entanglement is bound to make it difficult for this democratic summit to reach worship. The expected role of the Deng government.
First of all, whether it is necessary to hold a democracy summit is actually open to discussion. If it is just to honor the promise of the original campaign, there is no need to open a meeting with leaders of 110 countries. If it is to crowd out China and Russia in the form of a democratic summit, to arouse the vigilance of democratic countries against China and Russia and other “authoritarian” countries, and to encircle China and Russia in the name of democracy and engage in a new cold war, then this meeting is totally unnecessary. Because since Trump, the United States has largely awakened the “hostility” of Western countries and non-Western allies towards China and Russia. From the government to the people, these countries have a very negative perception of China and Russia, especially China. In fact, the United States has formed various levels of anti-China alliances among its close allies, but if the Biden administration wants to establish an anti-China alliance with 110 countries participating so far, even if it is loose, it is doomed to fail. The reason is simple. The larger the number of any exclusive alliance, the more difficult it is to achieve the common goal of a certain country, unless that country is the opponent of all participants in the alliance. Obviously, most of the leaders of the 110 countries participating in the Democracy Summit did not come for anti-China or anti-Russia. To put it bluntly, it was just an invitation from the United States and it was not easy to refuse. If the United States wants to resist China and Russia, it relies on its core circle of Western allies. From this perspective, the democratic summit can at best embolden the United States, create a momentum, and “disgusting” China and Russia will not have any real effect.
Secondly, from the perspective of the three themes of the Democracy Summit, many of the 110 countries invited by the Biden administration are not worthy of their names. This makes the Democracy Summit itself seem a bit funny. The three themes of this democracy summit are anti-authority, anti-corruption and protection of human rights. In today’s world, there are probably no more than 40 countries that truly meet the definition and standards of people’s perception of democracy. Many countries have a democratic structure, such as the apparent separation of powers, independent media, military neutrality, A two-party or multi-party system, but in fact the operation of democracy is very immature, and problems often arise. National leaders often take power alone. The media is controlled by an oligarch who has deep ties with the government. Officials are corrupted. The army is involved in politics. The phenomenon is serious, and the human rights of the people have been violated to varying degrees. This is basically the case for most African countries, some countries in Central and South America, and the Pacific Islands. Not long ago, a Swedish research institution released a report that believes that global democracy has regressed significantly in recent years, including the United States. Trump’s destruction of democracy has had many consequences for the United States. The sequelae have not been eliminated with Biden’s rise to power, and in some respects they are even worsening. One does not recognize the impact of the general election on Congress, and the other withdraws troops from Afghanistan hurriedly. These two incidents alone have greatly damaged the image of the United States, making it impossible for the United States to define democracy. Biden has the intention of restoring the image of the United States by holding a democracy summit, but if you really want the world to recognize and support American democracy, and treat the United States as a beacon or banner of democracy, you cannot easily do it once or twice at a democracy summit. Not to mention that the more than 80 non-democratic countries in the world that the United States has not invited will not “catch a cold” with American democracy. Even among the 110 countries attending the summit, many of them are not necessarily interested in American democracy. For the leaders or governments of these countries, democracy may really be a signboard.
Third, this democratic summit will not only depend on which countries the United States has invited, but also which countries it has not invited. A total of more than 190 countries have joined the United Nations. The United States has invited leaders from 110 countries and regions to attend the video conference. According to the name of the summit, the more than 80 countries that have not been invited are all regarded as non-democratic or authoritarian countries in the eyes of the United States. . Regardless of whether the US label of “non-democratic or authoritarian country” is true, for example, the uninvited Singapore belongs to the authoritarian country led by the Li family or the People’s Action Party in the eyes of the West, but it should also be recognized that Singapore In many respects, the actual democracy and government are more popular than the majority of the 110 invited countries. This simple classification of the world as a democratic and non-democratic country is resurrecting the dualism of the Cold War era, the latter. It is to divide the world into two opposing camps: the freedom camp and the communist camp. The problem is that such a division today may not be beneficial to the United States. This is because some of the countries considered by the United States to be “non-democratic or authoritarian” are allies of the United States or the objects they are trying to fight for, and they have important geopolitical interests for the United States.
Judging from the list of invited countries announced by the United States, the uninvited countries are concentrated in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. These two regions are precisely the focus of Beijing’s operations and have relatively good relations with China. By doing so, the Biden administration is helping them to consolidate their relations with China. Of the 11 Southeast Asian countries, only the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia were invited. Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand and other countries that the Biden government wanted to win were not invited. The uninvited US allies in the Middle East include Saudi Arabia and Turkey. In addition, Hungary in Europe and Egypt in Africa were not invited. The Biden administration does not invite these allies or quasi-allies, and it has its helplessness, because the banner it is playing is the democratic summit, and these countries are either communist countries, such as Vietnam; or recognized dictatorships, such as Saudi Arabia; or In recent years, it has rapidly slid to a country where the individual is monopolizing, such as Turkey. However, if they are not invited because they have turned to authoritarian or dictatorship, some of the invited countries have regressed democracy in recent years, such as the Philippines, Poland, Brazil, and even India, whose leaders have shown varying degrees of centralization in recent years. For these uninvited US allies or quasi allies, on the one hand, their leaders will think that they will follow the United States to resist China or resist Russia, but at a critical time, they will still be classified by the United States as a non-democratic country. Think of it as the same kind, and think about what they would think about the United States. On the other hand, doing so will encourage the opposition in these countries, because they see an opportunity, as long as they oppose the government under the banner of democracy in line with American values. Will get the support of the United States. Therefore, they will remain vigilant to the Biden administration in the future.
For the 110 invited countries, with the exception of Europe, the Five Eyes Alliance, Japan and India, most other countries are not against China. On the contrary, among the invited developing countries, especially African countries, many are still pro-China. . In the United Nations Human Rights Council, the United States and the West launched several condemnations of China against the human rights situation in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. Both sides wooed countries to support themselves. As a result, the United States was able to draw up to more than 40 countries, and China did so. There are more than 60 countries in China, and most of the countries supporting China are in the Middle East and Africa. It is hard to imagine that if the Biden administration were to reach a declaration against China or Russia at a democratic summit, such as a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, these countries would agree, not to mention the country’s invited country, as well as China’s die-hard friend Pakistan. It can be seen that the Biden administration may be confused by what standard to invite.
Fourth, the democratic summit brought China and Russia together and triggered a counterattack between the two countries. Regardless of the Biden administration’s motive for convening the democracy summit, one thing is clear, that is, the democratic summit will exclude China and Russia from the world democratic system. Russia already has the elements and styles of democracy in form. Putin was elected by one person, one vote, and his domestic support is still very high. China also claims to be engaged in full-process democracy and competes with the United States for the definition of democracy. The Biden administration wants to tell the world through this summit that the United States is the model of democracy and that China and Russia are non-democratic authoritarian or autocratic countries. But this also caused dissatisfaction and counterattack between the two countries. From this perspective, the Democracy Summit has played a role, but nothing more. The Chinese and Russian ambassadors to the United States recently jointly issued a document on the website of the US magazine “National Interest”, in response to the democratic summit, saying that democracy “is not the one who has the biggest fist.” Relying on it, the democratic summit prompted them to perceive that they should also unite to face the United States in terms of value diplomacy and the right to speak in democracy.
The United States invited Taiwan to participate in this democratic summit, but it was not Tsai Ing-wen, nor was it a representative of the Cai sent, or even a high-level official, but a representative and political committee member in the United States. This was somewhat unexpected. The Biden administration deliberately lowered the rank of officials in Taiwan, indicating that when it came to inviting Taiwan to participate in the democracy summit, it was still scrupulous about Beijing’s feelings. Some commentators believed that after the Xixi meeting, China and the United States returned to the road of co-management of Taiwan independence. Whether this is the case can be discussed, but the Biden administration does not want to anger China by inviting Taiwan to participate in the democracy summit, it is certain. In spite of this, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi criticized the United States for inviting Taiwan to participate as “no words”. The mutual trust between the two parties was originally very fragile. The democratic summit further aggravated Beijing’s strategic doubts about the Biden administration. This is not a good thing for the relations between the two countries that have just recovered a bit after the Xi Xi meeting. For Taiwan, the Biden administration will not allow Tsai to attend the summit under pressure from Beijing, and there will be some complaints about the United States.
Based on the above analysis, there is no special reason to make people optimistic about this democratic summit. It may issue an untargeted and general statement on the three major issues, but it will certainly not achieve some binding actions. In the next few years, the United States will not be able to turn it into a functioning entity organization. What the Deng government can do is to use it as a platform for propaganda to show the high morality and value of the United States.
(Note: The author is an independent scholar and a researcher at the China Strategic Analysis Think Tank. This article only represents the author’s personal views. The editor’s mailbox [email protected])