Can Summit for Democracy ‘galvanize democratic renewal worldwide’?


Invitations for U.S. President Joe Biden’s virtual Summit for Democracy will go out this week to heads of state around the world, including the leaders of countries with questionable democratic pedigrees, Foreign Policy has learned. Poland, Mexico, and the Philippines are among the countries that Biden plans to invite to the summit, which he pledged to hold during his first year in office to counterbalance the pull of authoritarian states such as China and Russia.

The question of which countries would be on the invite list has prompted months of speculation amid a global trend of democratic backsliding, including among some allies within the European Union and NATO, such as Poland, Hungary, and Turkey, writes Amy Mackinnon, Foreign Policy’s national security and intelligence reporter.

“What we’re trying to do through the Summit for Democracy is to galvanize democratic renewal worldwide,” said a senior administration official, speaking on background on the condition of anonymity. “Because of that, we’re seeking a really inclusive, big-tent approach,” the official told Mackinnon, a former NED Penn Kemble fellow:

The virtual summit is expected to be followed by a “year of action,” the senior administration official said, which will include efforts to engage civil society and the private sector to keep the momentum going followed by an in-person summit next year as the COVID-19 pandemic fades….. “We’re not seeking to define who is a democracy, who is not a democracy,” the administration official said. “We recognize that a number of the invited governments are going to have some challenges. … We come to this summit as the U.S. also with humility. We understand we have had challenges, and we are seeking to address our own challenges.” RTWT

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