Why Russia, China, Turkey and Hungary were not invited to the Summit of Democracies

WithThe SHA has published a list of 110 countries invited to the “Summit for Democracy”. Armenia and Ukraine received the invitation, but Hungary and Turkey, Russia and China did not receive it. What guided Washington in his choice, RBC understood

Why Russia, China, Turkey and Hungary were not invited to the summit of Democracies

Who was invited by the USA to discuss the problems of democracy

The US State Department has published a list of 110 countries whose leaders are invited to the “Summit for Democracy”. It will be held in virtual mode in Washington on December 9–10. The list of invitees includes liberal democracies, weaker democracies and several states that have authoritarian traits, the Foundation’s expert noted in his reportCarnegie Stephen Feldstein. 77 countries of the world are considered “free”, that is, fully democratic, according to the rating of the American non-governmental organization Freedom House for 2021, another 31 countries are “partially free”, according to the same rating, and three of the invited participants are headed by countries belonging to the group of “not free”.

Russia and China have not received invitations from permanent members of the UN Security Council. Hungary did not receive an invitation from the European Union countries, and Turkey did not receive an invitation from the US NATO allies. Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine received invitations from post-Soviet countries.

Why Russia and China were outraged by the list of participants

Moscow and Beijing criticized this choice of the United States. Moscow has a negative attitude to Washington’s plans to hold a “Summit for Democracy” and sees this as an attempt to draw new dividing lines, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. Even before the list of countries participating in the summit was published, Moscow asked its allies to ignore it, a diplomatic source told RBC. However, for example, Armenia ignored this call— Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has already confirmed his participation in the forum.

After the second Karabakh war ended a year ago, the balance of power in the South Caucasus has changed – Baku has clearly become very close to Ankara, Russia has not had diplomatic relations with Georgia since 2008, so Yerevan remained the last ally country, political analyst Alexey Makarkin draws attention.

Beijing strongly opposed the invitation to the summit of Taiwan, which it considers Chinese territory (although China has no control over it). A week earlier, at talks with Chinese Leader Xi Jinping, US President Joe Biden expressed his commitment to the principle of “one China”, according to which official negotiations are possible only with representatives of Beijing. Taiwan’s invitation to the summit violates this principle, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Wednesday.

The Chinese and Russian authorities are very attentive to symbols and status in international relations, so their reaction to the summit was quite sharp, says Igor Zevelev, an expert at the Kennan Institute.

Why is the summit being held

The summit will demonstrate one of the unique strengths of democracy, the ability to recognize its shortcomings and confront them openly and transparently, will focus on the challenges and opportunities faced by democracies, and will provide leaders with a platform to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms and initiatives to protect democracy and human rights in their countries and abroad, the State Department said in an official statement. It is planned that three key topics will be discussed: protection from authoritarianism, countering and combating corruption, and promoting respect for human rights.

In the foreign policy of any US administration, there are two components – a tough defense of national interests and the pursuit of geopolitical goals, that is, it is a policy in the spirit of political realism, in which at the same time, to a greater or lesser extent, there is a component of liberal values, which is expressed in international support for democracy and human rights, recalled Zevelev. International support for democracyand human rights in the United States is institutionalized in the form of the duties of the State Department to publish reports on the state of human rights in the world, the expert recalled. Biden began his presidential term in a very pragmatic way, firmly defending national interests, now he must balance this approach with rhetoric about democracy and human rights and their support on a global scale, explains the logic of the summit Zevelev.

The Democratic administration continues to make efforts to restore and strengthen relations with allies that were damaged during the presidency of Donald Trump, Makarkin adds. “When the Democrats came, their task first of all was to regain the trust of their allies, to show that America has not gone anywhere, it will not dissolve NATO and so on. We need to show that America remains a reliable ally and thatfor America, its traditional partners are significant. And it had to be put in some kind of ideological framework. And such a framework was the topic of support for world democracies,” the expert says. Makarkin also believes that the composition of the upcoming summit suggests that Washington has decided to abandon the export of democracies and wants to focus on strengthening them where they already exist.

Why the summit will be held without Turkey and Hungary

Eight of the invited countries are in low positions in the ratings of political freedoms. Feldstein assigned Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Kenya, Pakistan, Serbia and Zambia to this group. In four more countries, he notes, there is a rollback from democratic freedoms – these are Brazil, India, the Philippines and Poland. When compiling the list of participants, the regional dynamics in the Middle East was taken into account.democracy is Israel, Tunisia could have joined this country at the summit, but there was a coup there, and it would be politically wrong to invite only Israel, so Iraq was invited, an expert from the Carnegie Endowment describes the logic of the Biden administration. Strategic interests were also taken into account – Pakistan is important as an ally in the fight against international terrorism, the Philippines is important in the context of deterring China, and Ukraine is important for Russia, he continues.

Feldstein explains the non-disclosure of Hungary and Turkey both by trends in the political development of these countries and by the Biden administration’s unwillingness to show support for Viktor Orban and Recep Tayyip Erdogan shortly before the elections (in Hungary, elections will be held in 2022, in Turkey no later than 2023). At the same time, most experts do not expect any real results from the Summit for Democracy, especially since it will be held online and has rather symbolic significance, concludes Zevelev.

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