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Can Biden make world safer for democracy?

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By Andrew Hammond

U.S. President Joe Biden has made "revitalizing democracy the world over" a key goal of his administration, but it has taken almost a year since his inauguration to fulfil the central pledge of holding a summit of democracies which takes place on Thursday and Friday.

To be sure, it has been a busy 2021 for the new U.S. president, but it is surprising to many that it has taken so long to hold the event. Especially given the increasingly hostile environment across the globe for democratic government that recent studies have highlighted, including by the U.S. think tank Freedom House.

The White House contends that the summit is just a beginning, not an end. It wants this week's gathering to kick off a "year of action" in 2022 to make democracy "more responsive and resilient."

There are multiple motivations for Biden's focus on democratic government in his presidency. For one, it is reported that he has been influenced significantly by the book "How Democracies Die" by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt.

The core concept of this study is that democracies, in recent generations, haven't generally collapsed at the hands of a military coup or an armed revolution. Rather, they have broken down gradually with public institutions and political norms weakened from within.


© The Korea Times

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