Co-hosting the second Summit for Democracy on Wednesday, March 28, President Joe Biden took the opportunity to stake out his corner as a defender of democracy on the global stage. Naturally, that involved soaring rhetoric and American taxpayer cash being spent on projects that appear to benefit one particular political viewpoint.
Biden noted that the summit’s purpose “is to keep building on our progress so we don’t start heading in the wrong direction again.” “Democracy is hard work; it must be protected constantly.” But what is this elusive “progress” the president seeks to robustly defend? And is this ephemeral “wrong direction” anything other than a thinly veiled swipe at the four years of President Trump?
How’s Democracy Doing?
A prevalent theme of the gathering so far is that the world was following a dark trajectory, and then with the first summit, a corner was turned. Biden explained his take on how democracy had been fairing before he took office:
“Here’s what I hope, what everyone gathered here and everyone watching around the world takes away from this summit: it’s working. It’s working… When we gathered here in December 2021, the sentiment in too many places around the world was that democracy’s best days were behind us. Democracy declined by some measures for 15 consecutive years. But this year, we can say there’s a different story to tell.”
This “sentiment” of doom the president references – that coincidently ended upon his election – is, in fact, quantifiable. The 2023 Freedom House global report states that democracy has been on the decline worldwide for 17 years, not the 15 Biden claims – the two additional years being 2021 and 2022. “Today, we can say, with pride, democracies of the world are getting stronger, not weaker,” Biden said. “Autocracies of the world are getting weaker, not stronger. That’s a direct result of all of us.”
But the Freedom House report measures things somewhat differently. According to the group, “a total of 34 countries showed improvements in political rights and civil liberties, compared with 35 that lost ground, signaling a possible slowdown in the global decline.” For those keeping score, that’s a negative number of countries with more freedoms than before. But what of the 34 that did show improvement? The report says that much of the positive change was a “lifting of pandemic-related restrictions that disproportionately affected freedom of assembly and freedom of movement.” So these gains have little or nothing to do with the summit’s efforts.
Democracy Costs What?
With each host nation focusing on a particular “pillar,” here are some of the key focal points of the international gathering as per the White House fact sheet when the Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal was launched in 2021:
- Supporting Free and Independent Media
- Fighting Corruption
- Bolstering Democratic Reformers
- Advancing Technology for Democracy
- Defending Free and Fair Elections and Political Processes
In 2021, $424.4 million was earmarked for the above pillars. This year – possibly due to the runaway inflation presently shaking America to the core – the president promised a further $690 million. Have the international movers and shakers been good stewards of the US largesse?
Consider the support for a Free and Independent Media donation. Up to $30 million was given over to the International Fund for Public Interest Media, headed by the former president of Ghana, John Kafour. The fund’s own study recommended using other groups to administer the actual cash awards: “BBCC Media action, Luminate, and other drivers of the proposition should carry out additional scoping of different models for the governance and administration of the Fund,” it notes.
The BBC – British Broadcasting Corporation – is widely regarded by those who are coerced to pay for its existence (anyone in the UK who owns a television) as a hotbed of radical leftism and progressive ideology. Luminate – a foundation belonging to Pierre and Pam Omidyar – has donated to numerous causes, but the founder has personally put $100,000 of his own money into an anti-Trump super PAC.
It will come as little surprise that the US taxpayer dollars have been and will likely be spent on projects and funds that seemingly benefit only one narrative … the narrative that the current crop of globalist leaders are heroes and that the populists are a danger.
A Globalist Ego Trip
In ancient Rome, when a commander had won a great victory, he would be entitled to enter the city at the head of a “Triumph.” On a golden chariot, the successful general would make his way – through adoring crowds – to the temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill, where a sacrifice would be offered. But in order not to swell the pride and arrogance of the feted leader beyond all control, a slave would sit behind the victor whispering in his ear, “Remember, thou art mortal.”
This alleged Summit for Democracy is Joe Biden’s Roman Triumph. He will accept the applause and spend other people’s money with flair and abandon. Unfortunately, with the majority of media outlets treating this whole affair as a serious exercise, there will be no whisper in his ear to bring him back among the mere mortals.
All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Liberty Nation.
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