Through last week’s Summit for Democracy, President Joe Biden apparently sought to unite the world to rescue democracy, which is facing a critical crisis. Instead, the online event has set the world apart, with charges that its real intent was to contain China’s rise and seek US hegemony. By excluding almost half of the world, the occasion also exposed the Biden administration’s rhetoric on multilateralism as conflicting with its resolve for unilateralism.
But the US has faced such a credibility gap in its global standing with increasing frequency throughout the last three decades.
With the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, the US could have chosen to partner with the world to achieve global goals. Instead, successive Republican and Democratic administrations shed their ideological imperatives to dictate to the world — undertaking “humanitarian” interventions in troubled spots with devastating consequences. So much so that even President Barack Obama, despite his liberal credentials, opted for a troop surge in Afghanistan.