Editor's note: Jerry Grey is a China observer who has residency in China and bicycled across several provinces, including the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. He is a former London Metropolitan police officer with decades of experience in law enforcement and the security industry. The article reflects the author's opinion and not necessarily the views of GDToday & Newsgd.com.
Today, President Biden opens his Democracy Summit and that means it’s a timely point to consider what he’s doing, why he’s doing it and what he could do that might be more constructive rather than destructive to world peace and harmony.
One hundred and eleven countries and/or regions, ranging alphabetically from Albania to Zambia will attend the Summit, a variety of monarchies, republics and differing forms of governance but all share one common factor, they’re friendly, or at least have good diplomatic relations with the USA. Countries not invited are, in some cases, sanctioned, even blockaded but all generally have, in varying degrees, poor diplomatic relations with the USA.
Most of us aren’t experts on geopolitics, but common sense tells us: if you’re already in a good relationship with a country, although you need to work to keep it, you don’t need to invite them to a Summit to discuss how good your relations already are. Inviting your friends and supporters to this kind of meeting seems like creating the world’s largest and, some might say least important, echo chamber. Surely, if you have a poor relationship with a country, it’s a much better idea to invite them to a meeting, discuss what issues cause conflict and, more importantly, what commonalities you share so you can build on them.
Quite clearly, not all the government leaders invited to this Summit represent democracies. Even the US State Department recognises this. First on the list for example, Albania, according to USAID: “has not been able to move forward with the momentum required to introduce strong and sustainable democratic institutions”. Albania is of course useful to the USA as it provides refuge to many of those organisations that the USA would like to call terrorists, but it can’t because they are enemies to their enemies. Several of Xinjiang’s Uyghur prisoners captured by the US in conflicts and then released from Guantanamo Bay were sent there. They were, at the time, part of a group called ETIM, registered by the US State Department as terrorists but useful in their Anti-China rhetoric. The People’s Mujahedin of Iran (Mojahedin-e-Khalq known as MEK) have their home in Albania and are considered by both Iran and Iraq to be a terrorist organisation which makes them very useful to the US, So, for hosting the “enemies of the USA’s enemies”, Albania gets an invite.
Other countries on the list have, what can only be described as questionable democracy.Niger, for example, according to USAID is an “emerging democracy” and, with the assistance of the USA and is now consolidating “…recent democratic gains vital to furthering the country’s development”. What USAID fails to mention in its report on the recent gains is that, not only has the US constructed Africa’s largest Drone airport there, their three largest exports are: gold, uranium or thorium ores and concentrates, and processed petroleum oils. The reasons democracy has been restored to Niger is not to offer better services to the people, but to offer better exports to the West: on Western terms!
Mali, Niger’s neighbour is not invited to the Summit and the reason the US needs a drone airport in Niger is not to support Mali’s democratic interests but Frances economic and financial interests. Mali, like Niger, is blessed with massive reserves of untapped resources such as oil, gas and uranium. Once the richest country in the world, Mali is now mired in war and instability with French troops on the ground and US drones operating from Niger in the air.
There are many other spurious claims for democracy in the list of attendees and it’s going to be a very long article if we were to overview each of them but one more worth looking at is Nauru, the tiny country is only 21 square kilometres and has a population of only 10,600 citizens, smaller than most towns in the rest of the world. It’s a democracy only in that it’s propped up by, supported and financially dependent on Australia. It also happens to be one of the offshore places Australia uses to hold refugees so as to not allow them to set foot on Australian soil until all administrative and legal alternatives have been exhausted. Being a good friend of Australia gets Nauru an invitation to the table.
So, having looked at some examples of who will be there, we need to look at the reasons why. One of the pillars of democracy must always be that all parties respect the will of the people. This is one of the fundaments of how democracy works. People vote and should get what the majority of them want. In November 2020, Donald Trump lost the election to Joe Biden. He didn’t like that, no one likes to lose. But, without supporting evidence, Trump claimed the election was fraudulent, votes were stolen, misused or miscounted. In fact, he was so convinced that he’d been cheated, he launched no less than 63 different legal cases in seven different states and the result were less than spectacular. Fourteen dropped, thirty-three dismissed, six ruled against him and two are still outstanding. The bottom line is that, according to the legal fraternity, Trump lost. Having said that, despite the massive weight of legal opinion, 63% of his party still remain of the opinion that he won and still think he is their rightful president. The news gets even worse when independent voters are asked, a further 28% of them believe Trump was the winner too. This amounts to more than 70 million people. There were 168 million registered voters in 2020. Over 40% of registered voters believe the wrong man is the president of the USA. When Americans question their own democracy there’s a very serious problem.
Biden needs this Summit to prove his form of democracy is still only alive and well and relevant to the world. In short, he needs to demonstrate his own legitimacy.
Author: Jerry Grey