Why Democracies in G7 & NATO Should Reject U.S. Leadership
By Medea Benjamin and
Nicolas J. S. Davies (*) – CODEPINK
The world has been treated to successive
spectacles of national leaders gathering at a G7 Summit in Cornwall and a NATO
Summit in Brussels.
corporate media have portrayed these summits as chances for President Biden to
rally the leaders of the world’s democratic nations in a coordinated response
to the most serious problems facing the world, from the COVID pandemic, climate
change and global inequality to ill-defined “threats to democracy” from Russia
something seriously wrong with this picture. Democracy means “rule by
the people.” While that can take different forms in different countries and
cultures, there is a growing consensus in the United States that the
exceptional power of wealthy Americans and corporations to influence election
results and government policies has led to a de facto system of government that
fails to reflect the will of the American people on many critical issues.
President Biden meets with the leaders of democratic countries, he represents a
country that is, in many ways, an undemocratic outlier rather than a leader
among democratic nations. This is evident in:
defeated President proclaiming baseless accusations of fraud and inciting a mob
to invade the U.S. Congress on January 6 2021;
– news media that have been commercialized,
consolidated, gutted and dumbed down by their corporate owners, making
Americans easy prey for
unscrupulous interest groups, and leaving the U.S. in 44th place on Reporters Without Borders’ Press Freedom
rate of any country
in the world, with over two million people behind bars, and systemic police
violence on a scale
never seen in other wealthy nations;
though, Americans are not the only ones asking what is wrong with American
democracy. The Alliance of Democracies Foundation (ADF), founded by
former Danish Prime Minister and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, conducted a poll of 50,000 people in 53 countries between
February and April 2021, and found that people around the world share our
concerns about America’s dystopian political system and imperial outrages.
the most startling result of the poll to Americans would be its finding that
more people around the world (44%) see the United States as a threat to
democracy in their countries than China (38%) or Russia (28%), which makes
nonsense of U.S. efforts to justify its revived Cold War on Russia and China in
the name of democracy.
In a larger
124,000 people that ADF conducted in 2020, countries where large majorities saw
the United States as a danger to democracy included China, but also Germany,
Austria, Denmark, Ireland, France, Greece, Belgium, Sweden and Canada.
with the Queen at Windsor Castle, Biden swooped into Brussels on Air Force One
for a NATO summit to advance its new “Strategic Concept,” which is nothing more
than a war
World War III against both Russia and China.
But we take
solace from evidence that the people of Europe, whom the NATO war plan counts
on as front-line troops and mass casualty victims, are not ready to follow
President Biden to war. A January 2021 survey by the European Council on
Foreign Affairs found that large majorities of Europeans want to remain neutral
in any U.S. war on Russia or China. Only 22% would want their country to take
the U.S. side in a war on China, and 23% in a war on Russia.
Americans realize that Biden already came close
to war with
Russia in March and April, when the United States and NATO supported a new
Ukrainian offensive in its civil war against Russian-allied separatists in
Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. Russia moved tens of thousands of
heavily-armed troops to its borders with Ukraine, to make it clear that it was
ready to defend its Ukrainian allies and was quite capable of doing so. On
April 13th, Biden blinked, turned round two U.S. destroyers that were steaming
into the Black Sea and called Putin to request the summit that is now taking
antipathy of ordinary people everywhere toward the U.S. determination to
provoke military confrontation with Russia and China begs serious questions
about the complicity of their leaders in these incredibly dangerous, possibly
suicidal, U.S. policies. When ordinary people all over the world can see
the dangers and pitfalls of following the United States as a model and a
leader, why do their neoliberal leaders keep showing up to lend credibility to
the posturing of U.S. leaders at summits like the G7 and NATO?
Maybe it is
precisely because the United States has succeeded in what the corporate ruling
classes of other nations also aspire to, namely greater concentrations of
wealth and power and less public interference in their “freedom” to accumulate
and control them.
leaders of other wealthy countries and military powers are genuinely awed by
the dystopian American Dream as the example par excellence of how to sell
inequality, injustice and war to the public in the name of freedom and
case, the fact that people in other wealthy countries are not so easily led to
war or lured into political passivity and impotence would only increase the awe
of their leaders for their American counterparts, who literally laugh all the
way to the bank as they pay lip service to the sanctity of the American Dream
and the American People.
people in other countries are right to be wary of the Pied Piper of American
“leadership,” but their rulers should be too. The fracturing and
disintegration of American society should stand as a warning to neoliberal
governments and ruling classes everywhere to be more careful what they wish
a world in which other countries emulate or fall victim to America’s failed
experiment in extreme neoliberalism, the key to a peaceful, sustainable
and prosperous future for all the world’s people, including Americans, lies in
working together, learning from each other and adopting policies that serve the
public good and improve the lives of all, especially those most in need. There’s
a name for that. It’s called democracy.
CODEPINK is a women-led grassroots organization
working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights
initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green
jobs and other life-affirming programs.
Read also, another point of view:
What Does It Mean to
U.S. President Joe
Biden’s trip to Europe has thus far pivoted around the single issue on which
almost the entire world agrees: Biden is not Donald Trump. In the United States,
those who voted for Trump – nearly half of all of those who voted – mourn this
fact. The others cheer it. The Europeans who were present at the G-7 meeting
seemed to agree that this was a wonderful thing. But most European countries
are not part of the G-7, of course, and some, like Poland, dread Biden. For
many European countries, the Trump-Biden issue is a non-issue.