“The attendees should only discuss views amenable to the host country.”
The meeting last week by US President Joe Biden was inauspicious because it was hosted at a time when the image of the US was at its lowest. It came after the US suffered another debacle in its continuing crusade to put international order from the clutches of “authoritarianism” and “dictatorship.” The hasty retreat of the US in Afghanistan may not be humiliating as in Vietnam in 1974. Nonetheless, the world saw the event as another milestone in the receding influence of an empire in our modern time.
It was a setback for whatever one may categorize the event. The US suffered so much that without it, the value of its democracy would be meaningless. No matter how other countries would pirouette their version of democracy, they could never attain perfection because the US has for its motivation how it should be interpreted.
Thus, when the US called for a Democracy Summit but specifically excluded China, which represents 1.4 billion of the world’s population, it was an imperfect democracy. Their exclusion came as a result of political prejudice for the US condemnation of Xingjiang for alleged “genocide” committed against the Uyghurs and for China’s alleged political repression of the people in Hong Kong.
What is unusual in the decision not to invite China and Russia? Their political differences have nothing to do with democracy but more on their refusal of the two countries to submit to what the US prescribes as its version of democracy. The heightening tension with China over Taiwan is the result of the US’ refusal to honor the One-China principle signed during the visit of President Jimmy Carter to China in 1978; that there is only one China, and Taiwan is a part of China. China has set a red line for Taiwan not to declare independence.
The same can be said of the exclusion of Russia, which has a population of 144.1 million and the biggest country in land area. While the US invited 100 countries, only 89 came, with Pakistan making a last-minute decision not to attend because of differences with India. This means, the US totally ignored the 93 member-countries of the UN either because they are not democratic or consider them unworthy of being invited.
Moreover, the 11 countries may also not have been invited to avoid embarrassment for they might talk about democracy contrary to the American view to equate it with freedom. Maybe we can count, in addition to China and Russia, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Turkey, Syria, Belarus, Nicaragua and Hungary. The delisting of Nicaragua must have been triggered by President Ortega’s decision to break diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
It is anachronistic for a country to host a meeting that claims to uphold the universality of democracy. The US cannot be selective to countries it wants to attend. This betrays the truth that US president Joe Biden has a preconceived concept of democracy; that the attendees should only discuss views amenable to the host country.
Paradoxically, China is hosting the Winter Olympics in Beijing this year. As host, China would do its best to ensure the attendance of all countries. It cannot afford to take measures that would dampen the spirit of the participating athletes. To select the participants could spell a break in the spirit of the Olympic Games. Even Adolf Hitler, for all his adulation about the superiority of the German race, could not prevent the participation of a native American athlete Jessie Owens who won four gold medals in the 1936 XI Olympic games in Berlin.
China cannot exhibit prejudice against any country because that would be seen as their failure to meet the camaraderie of the sports. Rather, it was the US that was exposed when it refused to participate in the opening calling its decision a “diplomatic boycott.” Opportunism was very much evident in the US policy; that a total boycott could result in depriving its athletes of medals after their rigorous preparation for the games. Surely, many US athletes will vent their ire to US officials for mixing sports with politics.
When the Soviet Union granted independence to the Soviet Republics including Ukraine, the new Russian Federation offered to dismantle the Warsaw Pact and to withdraw all its troops in Eastern Europe. This offer was in exchange for the promise to end the “Cold War” after the last Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev and US President George Bush signed the agreement.
The US should have reciprocated the Soviet gesture by dismantling the US-led North Atlantic alliance. Aside from denying the promise, it intensified the provocation by inviting instead the former members of the Eastern European bloc to join the alliance and allowed them to install anti-ballistic missiles in Romania, Poland and Lithuania to endanger Russian security because a missile launched from Europe could reach Moscow in less than five minutes.