On the 9th and 10th of December, US President Joe Biden has invited 110 nations to a virtual summit on democracy. According to a list issued on the State Department website on Tuesday, China, Turkey, and Russia were not invited to the summit.
The list comprises the US’s primary Western allies. India, Pakistan, and Iraq are also included.
Taiwan is on the list, which is expected to escalate tensions between the US and China. Turkey, a NATO member, is likewise absent from the list.
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have been omitted from the South Asian area.
The State Department announced on Tuesday night that Taiwan has been included among the 110 invitees to the Biden administration’s forthcoming democracy conference, a decision that is meant to demonstrate unity with a vital regional ally but might irritate China.
Joe Biden promised to organise the online meeting when running for president last year, with the purpose of uniting like-minded nations in the fight against corruption and tyranny while also advancing human rights.
Several apparent US allies, such as NATO member Turkey, are absent from the final list, highlighting the administration’s difficulty in narrowing down the invitees.
Even though Taiwan boasts one of Asia’s most dynamic and free-wheeling democracies, including it in the summit may be the most divisive move the administration has taken. That’s because it’s only recognised as sovereign by a small number of countries, none of which includes the United States.
Nations, corporations, and international organisations that regard the island as a separate entity have been targeted by China. Beijing has deteriorated relations with Lithuania’s government after Taiwan established a diplomatic mission in the Baltic country.
The addition of Taiwan follows a series of actions taken by the Biden administration in recent weeks to show support for a critical ally while attempting to de-escalate tensions with Beijing, which claims the self-governing island as its own territory. China has escalated military flights above Taiwan, prompting speculation that President Xi Jinping is planning an invasion in the coming years.
Biden’s summit preparation has also been difficult, as the administration has struggled to decide which foreign nations to invite and which to leave out. That difficulty is reflected in the final guest list: Brazil, the Philippines, and Poland were among those invited, all of which have seen democratic backsliding.
In the end, several nations on the list looked to be there more as an incentive to implement more democratic ideas than because they cleanly fell into the category of “democracy.” Angola, Pakistan, and Serbia were also included.
Apart from Israel, another sore spot was the Middle East, where the US failed to locate any invitees. Iraq was eventually added as well.
Biden has repeatedly referred to the fight between democracies and autocracies as a critical geopolitical problem of the twenty-first century. In an address to Congress in April, he said the US must fight back against Xi and other leaders who try to prove that their form of governance is superior to their people’s.
“He’s dead serious about becoming the world’s most important and impactful country,” At the time, Biden was referring to Xi. “He and others—autocrats—believe that democracy cannot compete with autocracies in the twenty-first century because it takes too long to reach a consensus.”
However, after events such as former President Donald Trump’s reluctance to recognise his re-election loss and some of his followers’ January 6 assault on the Capitol, many have questioned the status of American democracy.
According to a study released Monday by the Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, the United States “came prey to authoritarian impulses itself, and was pushed down a substantial number of democratic steps.”