The United States hosted a “Summit for Democracy” on December 9th and 10th in an obvious attempt to legitimize its unipolar and hegemonic claim of leadership over the so-called “rules-based international order.” While on the surface this appeared to be an unproductive move on the part of the world hegemon, it aligned well with the U.S. strategy of cloaking its aggressive and exploitative policies under the guise of “democracy.” Joe Biden’s administration has repeatedly hyped the differences between “autocracy” and U.S.-led “democracy.” So-called allies were summoned to give the U.S.’s vision for democracy credibility on the international stage.
Summit for Democracy
At the US State Department’s Summit for Democracy (9–10 December), US President Joe Biden announced a range of initiatives to ‘bolster democracy and defend human rights globally’. These measures are to be funded by $424.4 million from the United States. This money will go towards the same institutions that have – for the past sixty years – intervened to undermine the sovereignty of democratic processes from Iran (1953) and Guatemala (1954) to Honduras (2009) and Bolivia (2019). The US focuses on falsely portraying governments that are unwilling to accept US leadership as corrupt – as was with the case Brazil’s ‘soft coup’ against former Presidents Dilma Rousseff and Lula da Silva – all while shielding its allies who have documented evidence of corruption – such as the outgoing Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, whose political bloc was defeated by the left in the recently conducted presidential election.
The so-called “Summit for Democracy” should first agree on a definition of what democracy means. Whereas etymologically we know that the definition of democracy means rule by the people, instinctively we feel that people power must be more than a slogan, that it must be concretized by genuine public participation in the conduct of public affairs. There are, of course, many manifestations or “models” of democracy, exercised nationally as well as locally in provinces and communities. The spectrum of democratic governance goes from direct democracy by way of citizen power of initiative and the possibility to challenge legislation by way of referenda, to participatory democracy through public meetings and voting on specific issues by ballot (or even show of hands!), to representative democracy through the election of parliamentarians with specific mandates, to presidential democracy by electing a president with wide-ranging powers.