President Joe Biden urged participants in the first high-level meeting hosted by the White House on Democracy to reverse the trend toward regressive democracy, which is emerging at a time of growing authoritarianism across the globe and tremendous challenges to primary institutions in the United States.
President Biden said that in his view, democracy is the fundamental challenge of the time we live in.
” We stand at an inflection point in our history, in my view. The choices we make, in my view, in the next — in this moment are going to fundamentally determine the direction our world is going to take in the coming decades.
Will we allow the backward slide of rights and democracy to continue unchecked? Or will we together — together — have a vision and the vision — not just “a” vision, “the” vision — and courage to once more lead the march of human progress and human freedom forward?”, said President Biden.
The summit comes as American democracy faces challenges to its institutions and institutional traditions, including the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and Donald Trump’s false claims of stolen elections.
In his speech, President Biden announced the Presidential Initiative for the Renewal of Democracy. The United States is planning to provide up to $ 424.4 million for this initiative.
At the State Department event, President Biden said a free press was critical for democracy.
” We’re committing critical seed money to launch a new multilateral effort — our International Fund for Public Interest Media — to sustain independent media around the world. And through the — our USAID, we’re going to be standing up a new Defamation Defense Fund for Journalists to help protect investigative journalists against nuisance lawsuits designed to prevent them from doing their work — their vital work around the world.”
The virtual summit on democracy was attended by leaders from over 100 countries, including Albania and Kosovo, civil society activists and journalists.
The meeting had provoked reactions from some of the opponents of the United States and countries that were not invited.
The ambassadors of China and Russia to the US published a joint essay saying Mr. Biden’s administration has a Cold War mentality.