America and Russia cannot be compared – de Groene Amsterdam

America and Russia cannot be compared - de Groene Amsterdam

If you want to improve democracy, who do you invite to the meeting and who do you not invite? America led by Joe Biden made a clear statement. The Netherlands is co-hosting Turkey and Hungary at the World Democracy Summit on March 29, 30 and 31. Biden has made the global struggle between autocracy and democracy a central focus of his presidency. From Washington’s point of view, both Hungary and Turkey are led by invitees ‘strong man’ It has corrupted electoral democracy, countries that are undermining the democratic world order.

Morally, America is right, but it’s complicated. Although Biden does not want to talk about democracy with Viktor Orbán and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, these leaders are linked by NATO. A White House spokesman insisted that cooperation was necessary after the Russian attack on Ukraine. First Finland and Sweden were barred from NATO membership, and now second Hungary and Turkey seem to have been banned. America is missing an opportunity. It is precisely at the table of the global meeting that Orban and Erdogan can talk.

Democracy and autocracy sound heroic. Russia’s aggression and China’s geopolitical ambitions underscore the extent to which authoritarian leaders are trying to control the world. Netanyahu’s rise to power in Israel is fueling a massive counter-movement. But America is hereditary. “Hundreds of thousands of soldiers invading another country hasn’t happened since World War II,” Biden said in Poland last month. Twenty years ago, the United States led a 160,000-strong international force that invaded Iraq.

Even then, the US believed in protecting the world for democracy. Judith Neuring’s article, who lived in Iraq for years, makes clear how unsuccessful that mission was. Except for the false pretense that America started the war, the implementation backfired. Many Iraqis now believe the country needs a new strong leader to deal with chaos and corruption.

Putin’s war is a war of destruction, not US-Iraq

This history also explains why the United States has little credibility as a supporter of democracy in much of the world. Zoomers see a world map in which a minority of countries believe the US and Europe would be better off supporting Ukraine militarily. Economists It has been estimated that 58 percent of the world’s population lives in countries that are neutral or sympathetic to Russia despite Putin’s military operations. A large portion of them see the war in Ukraine not as the battle between good and evil that Biden envisions, but as a clash between two superpowers with imperial ambitions.

There is something to be said for that worldview. Putin has launched a war of extermination against the people and culture of Ukraine. No matter how misguided America was 20 years ago, genocide and cultural murder were never a goal. The realist might say that motives don’t matter, but equating the US and Russia as annexers of Iraq and Ukraine remains a form of false equivalency. Russia is trying to destroy democracy, America is trying to stop it.

If the reasons of policy were not enough, there is a practical reason to participate in meetings where Europe now shares its destiny with the United States and expresses faith in democracy. America is helping to prevent countries on European soil from being taken over by Russia. It is a pity that America has not combined this mission with a greater understanding of the past. Also, past actions cannot be made good. However, every day is an opportunity to make better decisions than before. One of them is wanting to protect a sovereign nation from encroachment by autocracy.

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