WASHINGTON — Win Without War Deputy Director Sara Haghdoosti released the following statement regarding the Biden administration’s upcoming Summit for Democracy:
“There can be no doubt: the forces of authoritarianism present a grave threat to global aspirations for democracy. Democratic values must be defended. But for the United States to live up to its professed ideals, it must begin by addressing its own democratic deficiencies at home, and antidemocratic tendencies abroad.
“The greatest threats to democratic aspirations in the United States come not from abroad, but from within. While some of these threats, such as militant right-wing and white supremacist movements, have recently grown in visibility, they have emerged from much older, longstanding democratic failures: the profound corporate capture of government; the systematic oppression and disenfranchisement of people of color, the working class, and other groups; a deeply inhumane system of policing and mass incarceration; and so much more.
“Meanwhile, the United States’ role on the world stage has often run directly counter to the global struggle for democracy: the backing of coups and regime change efforts against legitimately elected governments; alliances with, military support for, and arms sales to authoritarian governments like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and others; the regular abuse of international human rights law; military adventurism without accountability; economic warfare against countries like Iran and North Korea that only serves to empower authoritarian factions and undermine those seeking democratic change; and the promotion of a global economic system designed to keep power out of the hands of everyday people, to name a few.
“This in no way excuses the authoritarianism of others, and President Biden should be applauded for calling this summit and attempting to marshall the world’s democracies against our shared struggle against authoritarianism. But if the United States does not live up to its own values, forums such as this summit risk backfiring — covering for the United States’ own contributions to the problem, distracting from much-needed solutions, and fomenting a dangerous and ahistorical ‘us vs. them’ approach to foreign relations that helps no one.
“For the United States to be a credible force for democracy, it must begin by looking in the mirror.”
Win Without War is a diverse network of activists and national organizations working for progressive foreign policy in the United States.