A missed chance to show democracies can deliver?


A Marshall Plan-like effort to vaccinate the world’s poor would confirm that democracies can deliver and reboot the US’s global standing. The global vaccine emergency is tailor-made for a tarnished America to rebrand itself in what looks like a new cold war with China, says the FT’s Edward Luce:

Biden has framed America’s great power competition with China and Russia as a battle between democracy and autocracy. Most of the world’s poor, and an increasing share of those living in the west, pay little attention to such abstractions. What will move people in continents such as Africa is material improvements to their lives. …the US could put a stars and stripes on the fight against the pandemic and show itself capable of giving the world’s poor what they need, as opposed to lecturing from a distance. Geopolitical chances such as this do not arise very often.

Resisting Sharp Power: Strengthening the Fabric of Open Societies, scheduled for Dec 7, 2021, marks the launch of a major new initiative from the National Endowment for Democracy’s international Forum. 

The Sharp Power Research Portal catalogues research and reporting on authoritarian sharp power in five sectors: media and information; commerce; culture and entertainment; knowledge generation; and technology. Users can explore an interactive map to monitor how five authoritarian states – China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – are exerting influence malign influence across 138 countries.


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