August 3, 2021

“In Europe, Joe Biden says he wants to bring together the democracies of the world. It is the rallying cry of the besieged fortress ”

Dyears a brief op-ed published on Monday, June 6 by the Washington Post, President Joe Biden explains what he is coming to do in Europe, which welcomes him from June 11 to 16 for his first trip abroad since his election: “Bringing the world’s democracies together around America. “ The word “democracy” or “democratic” appears no less than thirteen times in the text.

It is the rallying cry of the besieged fortress. In the briefings and preparatory seminars for this trip organized by various officials of the Biden administration for experts and journalists on both sides of the Atlantic, the expression “Our shared democratic values” figured at the top of the language elements.

A sort of rigorous automatism, because, if it should go without saying, it is all the same better by saying it – if there is a sign that the era of conquering democracies is over, this is it. . Survivor of the American tumult, Joe Biden arrives in Europe a few days after the anniversary of D-Day, but the heroic offensive is far away: welcome to the era of democracies on the defensive.

In London, where the US president lands on Thursday to take part in the G7 summit in Cornwall, the magazine The New Statesman asks this week if it is possible to consider a “Return of the West”. In 2013, he recalls, the last time the United Kingdom chaired the G7, Russia had not yet annexed Crimea and Xi Jinping was not yet president for life. One could add that Boris Johnson was only mayor of London and that Brexit was a word that meant nothing. That was only eight years ago! The G7 was also the G8, before becoming the G7 again the following year, when Russia was expelled from it for having, precisely, invaded Ukraine. In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan had not yet switched to all-repression. And Narendra Modi had not yet plunged Indian democracy into the abyss of Hindu nationalism.

Democratic retreat

Much will be said of MM. Putin and Xi during this transatlantic reunion, but at least their status is clear: they are opponents of democracy.

That of MM. Erdogan and Modi, to name a few, is more complicated. They are in a way part of the family, since the Turkish president will participate in the NATO summit the following week, in Brussels, on the sidelines of which he will meet with Joe Biden. The Indian Prime Minister gave up coming to the G7 because of the health situation in his country, but he was invited to do so.

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