Middle East

U.S. democracy erosion, worried about the world

On the anniversary of January 6, 2021, the attack on the US Capitol has come to an end, and many Americans are deeply depressed that the country’s political division has only deepened. At the time, most Republican leaders blamed the attack, but the GOP subsequently internalized a network of lies and falsehoods about former President Donald Trump’s 2020 elections, losing 7 million votes. Republicans have even refused to participate in parliamentary investigations on this issue.

A year after the incumbent president tried to overturn the outcome of a fair and legitimate election, efforts to identify and prosecute the current responsible person must compete with other security crises. Iran is approaching the limits of a nuclear explosion. Humanitarian catastrophes in Afghanistan and Yemen. Faced with all this, American leaders will be tempted to draw a bright line between domestic and foreign. But doing so would be both dangerous and wrong.

The serious polarization of America reflects a society in which its members no longer share a core understanding of what it means to be “safe.” Americans tend to have broadly different experiences with US domestic security agencies across races, religions, and genders. Confidence in the US military and security forces was consistently high. Currently, it is declining alongside confidence in other US government agencies.

Americans no longer agree who and what constitutes a threat. Democrats are much more likely to cite internal cohesion and political violence, and Republicans are more interested in the enemies of traditional nation-states. In addition, Americans are divided by ideology and age as to whether people or ideas from elsewhere are opportunities or threats.

These divisions, and the resulting policy impasse, would be bad enough on their own. But the rest of the world is paying attention to seeing societies that cannot agree on what democracy is or who belongs to the demonstrations. In the World Bank’s Composite Political Score Index, the United States has been downgraded from the highest democracy score of 10 for many years to 5. This means that we are on the verge of democracy, a democracy with authoritarian characteristics.

Inspired by leaders such as Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr., around the world, people are now plagued by images of the federal flag waving in parliamentary halls. Allies whose relations with the United States have returned to World War II are now seeing elected US officials accepting Holocaust denials. Neither allies nor enemies believe that the United States can or will fulfill its long-term promises in the areas of vaccine distribution, climate change agreements, and nuclear trade.

If you’re an American and this explanation sounds exaggerated, you need to look to your northern neighbor. In Canada, where the United States shares the world’s longest unfortified border, top media marks the January 6th anniversary in a discussion about “what to do with the potential for elucidation of democracy in the United States.” Did. Upon returning home, American political scientist Barbara Walters, a world leader in civil war, wrote in a new book: But this is because they do not know how the civil war will begin. “

Americans need to recognize that their democratic erosion is as much a foreign policy issue as it is domestic. Republicans and Democrats who are willing to continue to cooperate with major international affairs must accept that this also needs to work to strengthen the core norms of democracy in the country.

These norms are the basis of everything the United States wants to achieve abroad. At the very least, it includes refusal of violence and hate speech, strong protection of voting rights, and independent election management. Conservatives who urge the Biden administration to take stricter actions abroad should stop thinking about what the constant right-wing harping of “Big Steel” would look like in other parts of the world. US leaders from across the political spectrum can send a much more compelling message by demonstrating their willingness to repair the cracks in American democracy. The ability to do that has historically been one of America’s greatest strengths.

After all, we were here before. Half a century ago, American democracy was tested by a resigned president and security agencies that plunged the country into a devastating war. This prompted extensive efforts to address systematic flaws. Although the solution was incomplete, it nevertheless succeeded in regaining the fame of US institutions for the next 40 years, both domestically and internationally.

What does such an effort look like now? South Dakota Republican Senator Mike Rounds recently inspired the courage to support Trump and told ABC News: In the Republican presidential election, we simply didn’t win the election. It’s a good start. But neither Republicans nor Democrats will be able to remain the leader in world opinion courts without progress in addressing all US election issues: who votes and how to count.

Of course, the responsibility is not solely with Congress. In a provisional National Security Strategy Guidance released last March, President Biden’s administration stated that “our role in the world depends on our strength and vitality here.” Since then, Biden has signed the bill and implemented a policy that allocates billions of dollars to research and development of strategic industry, physical infrastructure, and better social infrastructure.

Again, that’s a good start. But what if the administration takes its own logic one step further and publicly declares that our threat to democracy is also a threat to our security? The Director of National Intelligence has already warned that violent political extremism, a euphemism for domestic terrorism, poses a greater risk to Americans than Muslim terrorism.

Given America’s collapsing political norms and violent factions, it’s no wonder that only 17 percent of the world’s democracies see America as an emulating country. It’s time for Americans, or at least those who want to represent the United States in the world, to see themselves like anyone else, without excuses or rationalization.


Anne-Marie Slaughter

Anne-Marie Slaughter is the CEO of the think tank New America.

HEATHER HURLBURT

Heather Hurlburt is the director of the New Models of Policy Change Initiative in New America.


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