Biden calls on leaders to end 'backward slide' of democracy

Biden calls on leaders to end backward slide of democracy

Washington DC: President Joe Biden expressed alarm at a backward slide of democracy around the globe on Thursday, calling on fellow world leaders to work with him to bolster democratic institutions as his administration grows increasingly concerned about China's and Russia's push for global influence.

Biden's comments to more than 100 leaders at the White House's first virtual Summit for Democracy came as they pointed to a host of challenges confronting democracies, including corruption, inequality, and limitations on press freedom.

The leaders also expressed increasing worry about the perils of disinformation and strengthening autocracies.

Will we allow the backward slide of rights and democracy to continue unchecked? Biden asked. Or will we together -- together -- have a vision ... and courage to once more lead the march of human progress and human freedom forward?

He didn't mention either China or Russia by name. But he has repeatedly made a case that the U.S. and like-minded allies need to show the world that democracies are a far better vehicle for societies than autocracies. It is a central tenet of Biden's foreign policy outlook one that he vowed would be more outward looking than his predecessor Trump's America First approach.

Biden underscored that even long-established democracies, like the United States, haven't been immune to the strains, and he called the moment an inflection point in history.

Local elected officials are resigning at an alarming rate amid confrontations with angry voices at school board meetings, elections offices and town halls. States are passing laws to limit access to the ballot, making it more difficult for Americans to vote.

And the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol has left many in Donald Trump's Republican Party clinging to his false claims of a stolen election, eroding trust in the accuracy of the vote.

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