A New Year’s Resolution on Democracy Promotion
Stewart M. Patrick and Ania Zolyniak for the Council on Foreign Relations considered the symbolic successes of the Summit and the value of its Year of Action moving forward. The Summit managed to shift the global discussion on democracy from a defensive position to a proactive one-- rather than lamenting the challenges of democracy, countries are now galvanised, both individually and collectively, to search for solutions. Authoritarian regimes were pushed into the defensive, and in the face of the common criticism that the Summit will serve to divide the world into democracies and non-democracies, Patrick and Zolyniak contend that the world is already divided, a state that cannot be contributed wholly to the foreign policy positions of the US and its allies.
Moving forward, the Biden administration and its allies should refine how they characterise and assess democracy's merits, as the current framing of delivering prosperity and security is too often co-opted by authoritarian forces. The Year of Action presents a valuable opportunity for the US to better protect and promote democracy, affirm its values, and restore the USA as a beacon of democracy.