The U.S. government organized a conference of its allies which it misleadingly called a “Summit for Democracy”, but which actually featured numerous anti-democratic, far-right regimes.
Several of the heads of state who spoke represent governments that even Western officials, corporate media outlets, and mainstream human rights organizations have admitted are authoritarian, including Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Andrzej Duda of Poland, and Narendra Modi of India.
The Joe Biden administration also invited Pakistan’s unelected coup regime, which came to power following a U.S.-backed regime-change operation against democratically elected Prime Minister Imran Khan in April 2022. (Islamabad, however, decided not to attend, as it faces mass protests and instability at home.)
Italy’s far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni participated in the summit as well. Meloni is a defender of former fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. She started her political career as the leader of the youth wing of a fascist political party founded by war criminals from Mussolini’s regime.
Meloni’s far-right political party Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) still uses the same symbols and colors of Mussolini’s fascist movement. An important leader of her party has a bust of the late dictator in his house, and was investigated for doing Nazi salutes.
The Biden administration organized the first so-called “Summit for Democracy” in 2021, in attempt to unify U.S. allies in a bloc to wage a new cold war on China and Russia, which were not invited to either summit.
These intentions were made obvious when the U.S. pressured all invitees to sign a joint statement denouncing Russia over the proxy war in Ukraine. The left-wing governments in Brazil and Mexico refused to support Washington’s denunciation of Moscow.
For its part, China’s Foreign Ministry condemned the summit as an attempt to “draw lines between countries in the world according to U.S. criteria and interfere in their affairs based on U.S. interests”, in a way that “reflects how arrogant, intolerant, selfish and domineering the U.S. has always been, and how it contravenes and tramples on democracy as part of the common values of humanity”.
The U.S. government exposed its cynical political designs by inviting Ukraine and Taiwan to participate in the summit, despite the fact that Taiwan island is not a country, but rather a province of the People’s Republic of China.
When the U.S. government normalized relations with China in 1972, it signed the first of three communiqués, in which it legally recognized that Taiwan is part of China.
Violating its formal diplomatic commitments, the Biden administration publicly illustrated Washington’s support for separatists in China’s Taiwan province by inviting them to both of the so-called “Summits for Democracy”.
Ukraine’s leader Volodymy Zelensky spoke at the conference as well, in spite of his brutal attack on democracy at home. Zelensky’s regime has banned all communist and socialist parties, while imposing some of the most aggressive anti-worker legislation in the world, suspending collective bargaining rights and essentially making it illegal to form a union.
Even the New York Times reluctantly acknowledged that Zelensky’s regime has imposed authoritarian control over the media. Meanwhile, Ukrainian opposition politicians and critics have been arbitrarily arrested.
Two NATO members were not invited to the so-called “Summit for Democracy”: Türkiye (formerly known as Turkey) and Hungary. This was clearly a politically motivated sign of disapproval by the Biden administration, because the two countries have tried to balance the West against Russia, maintaining good relations with both sides.
The democratically elected socialist governments in Venezuela and Nicaragua were not invited either. Instead, Washington invited right-wing U.S.-sponsored opposition activists from both Latin American countries, including Lesther Alemán, who played a major role in a violent coup attempt in Nicaragua in 2018.
Also participating in the summit was the notorious CIA cutout the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), which Washington has used to meddle in foreign countries all across the planet, organizing regime-change operations and funding “color revolutions”.
As a key foreign-policy strategy, the Biden administration has weaponized rhetoric about “democracy” to advance U.S. geopolitical interests.
In his first State of the Union address in 2022, Biden claimed that Washington’s new cold war on China and Russia was a “battle between democracy and autocracies”.
But European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said otherwise in a speech in October, criticizing the deceptive “democracies vs. authoritarians” framing.
Top EU foreign-policy official Josep Borrell admitted the West’s new cold war on China & Russia is NOT a battle of “democracies vs authoritarians”
He conceded: “On our side, there are a lot of authoritarian regimes”
It's an economic conflict
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) October 29, 2022
“On our side, there are a lot of authoritarian regimes”, Borrell admitted.
“We cannot say we are the democracies, and the ones which follow us are also democracies. That is not true”, added the top EU diplomat.
One of the first speakers at Biden’s 2023 Summit for Democracy, as it opened on March 29, was the far-right leader of the Israeli apartheid regime, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu has served as prime minister for more than 15 of the 27 years since 1996. Today, his far-right coalition government includes members of literal fascist parties.
In fact, Netanyahu spoke at Biden’s summit while mass protests were going on in Israel against his authoritarian regime.
Israel’s most influential newspaper Haaretz—which is essentially the country’s equivalent of the New York Times, promoting a centrist liberal perspective—published an article warning, “‘Israel’s Government Has neo-Nazi Ministers. It Really Does Recall Germany in 1933′: Holocaust historian Daniel Blatman says he is astounded at how quickly Israel is hurtling toward fascism”.
Biden’s “Summit for Democracy” also featured the far-right president of Poland, Andrzej Duda.
Even former U.S. President Barack Obama stated in an interview on CNN in 2021 that NATO and EU members Poland and Hungary “now essentially have become authoritarian“.
However, while Poland’s far-right authoritarian regime was invited to Biden’s “Summit for Democracy”, Hungary was not. The reason why is clear: Poland is virulently anti-Russia, so it was welcomed; whereas Hungary has tried to balance good relations with both the West and Russia, so it was the only EU member that was not invited.
Mainstream NGOs that are routinely cited in the Western media to attack NATO’s adversaries have admitted that far-right authoritarianism is growing closer to home.
The Civil Liberties Union for Europe—a major civil society organization that is similar to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in the United States—warned that Poland and Hungary are increasingly authoritarian. Both are “seizing further control of the justice system, civil society and media, while cutting basic human rights and fuelling divisions by scapegoating migrants and other minority groups”.
The Western government-funded International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) has warned that the Polish regime is violently cracking down on protesters and arbitrarily detaining anti-fascist activists, while allowing fascist extremists to use Nazi symbols.
Duda’s far-right Law and Justice (PiS) party reportedly tapped the phones of opposition politicians and journalists to illegally spy on them.
Joining Netanyahu on the opening panel of Biden’s 2023 Summit for Democracy was India’s far-right Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Modi is a longtime member of a fascist paramilitary group, the RSS, whose early leaders were inspired by Nazi Germany, praising Adolf Hitler’s “purging the country of Semitic races” as a “good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by”.
Before he became prime minister, Modi governed the state of Gujarat, where high school textbooks honored “Hitler, the Supremo” and the “Internal Achievements of Nazism”.
As governor of Gujarat in 2002, Modi oversaw a massive pogrom, in which hundreds of Muslims were killed. (As prime minister, Modi censored a documentary exposing his role in the massacre.)
India’s far-right ruling party, BJP, promotes an extreme Hindu-nationalist ideology that sees Muslims and other religious minorities as inferior, second- or third-class citizens, and heavily discriminates against them.
Some of Modi’s political allies have openly called for overturning India’s secular constitution and turning the state into a “Hindu rashtra“: a theocratic regime.
In fact, just a few days before Modi spoke at the so-called “Summit for Democracy”, his government launched an authoritarian attack on the leader of India’s political opposition, Rahul Gandhi.
On March 23, Gandhi was expelled from India’s parliament and sentenced to two years in prison over fraudulent charges of defamation, due to a comment Gandhi made in 2019 in which he referred to Prime Minister Modi and his wealthy oligarch allies as “thieves”.
The politically motivated charges seek to bar Gandhi from office, effectively paving the way for BJP and far-right Hindu nationalists to hand themselves victory in the upcoming 2024 election, without significant opposition.
But Modi was eagerly welcomed at Biden’s “Summit for Democracy”, because the United States is desperate to recruit India for its new cold war on China, and hopes to weaken New Delhi’s positive relations with Russia.
India is a member of the BRICS system, but it joined before Modi, under the previous government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, of the Indian National Congress party. When Modi rose to power (along with Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil), former CIA Director and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revealed that Washington tried to use these two far-right leaders to disrupt and divide the BRICS system.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 19, 2021
Former diplomat M.K. Bhadrakumar has cautioned that India is the weakest link in the BRICS system, because its government supports Washington’s “so-called ‘rules-based order’, which is a metaphor for the political ideology of the U.S. as the dominant state and “lone superpower” in the 1990s”.
BRICS faces a paradox that, while it grows, it also fails internal conflicts, “and the main reason for this is India’s unwillingness to work with China as leaders of economic growth”, Bhadrakumar wrote.
Modi’s “India feels uneasy that the centre of gravity in BRICS is poised to shift further to the left of centre”, he said, and,
Being an acolyte of the U.S.-led ‘rules-based order’, India faces the spectre of isolation.
The United States sees these contradictions, and hopes to exploit them to its advantage. That explains why India was invited to the so-called “Summit for Democracy”, despite being overtly anti-democratic.
The presence of so many authoritarian, far-right leaders clearly demonstrated the cynical political goals behind Washington’s Summit for Hypocrisy.