(Washington) Joe Biden invited about 110 countries and territories to his virtual democracy summit in December, in a clear message to Taiwan and China, including the United States’ key Western allies, that the shadow of the summit should hang over the summit despite his absence. .
Since arriving at the White House in January, the US president has not hidden it: the fight between democracy and “adversaries”, wrapped up in his view by China and Russia, is central to his foreign policy.
The first edition of the “Summit for Democracy” campaign, which will take place online on December 9 and 10, just before the face-to-face meeting a year later, is one of the cornerstones of this priority.
But the guest list is not yet known. It was released on the US State Department’s site on Tuesday, indirectly weighed down by a treasury and will be closely examined.
So surprisingly, it does not include Washington’s main rivals Beijing and Moscow.
On the other hand, President Biden called on Taiwan, which the United States does not recognize as an independent country, but willingly sets a democratic model against China, which considers the island as one of its provinces. Its presence at the Virtual Summit should maintain the tensions that have ignited in recent weeks around the fate of Taipei.
India, often referred to as the “largest democracy in the world”, will be there despite frequent criticism from the human rights defenders of its Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Despite its verified relationship with Washington, Pakistan is no exception.
Democracy “in decline”
Turkey is Washington’s ally in NATO, but its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has in the past been described by Joe Biden as an “autocrat,” not of the countries in which he participates.
In the Middle East, only Israel and Iraq were invited to the meeting. The traditional Arab allies of the Americas are Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Joe Biden also called on Brazil, led by controversial far-right President Jair Bolzano.
In Europe, despite persistent tensions with Brussels over respect for the rule of law, Poland is represented, but not so much by Prime Minister Victor Arban and Hungary.
On the African side, the Democratic Republic of the Congo includes Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Niger.
“There are good reasons for having a wide range of actors for the first summit,” Lale Isfahani, from the Open Society Foundation, told AFP before releasing the list.
According to him, instead of turning it into a meeting against China – “this will be a missed opportunity” – Joe Biden should take advantage of these meetings, which will unite both leaders and civil society to strike a crisis represented by a “sharp fall.” ”.
The summit was organized because democracy has suffered many setbacks in recent months in countries where the United States has high hopes: Sudan and Burma, the halls of military coup d’tat, Ethiopia, are at risk of conflict and it is in danger of “exploding”. Even in US diplomacy or in Afghanistan, the Taliban have regained power with the withdrawal of the US after 20 years of democratization efforts.
The United States is the first country to join the list of “backward democracies” due to the devastation caused by the Trump era, according to a key report released by the International IDEA, an intergovernmental organization.