Is Global 'Democracy' America's Mission?
"In the battle between democracy and autocracy, democracies are rising to the moment, and the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security," said President Joe Biden in his State of the Union address.
"This is a real test. It's going to take time."
Thus did Biden frame the struggle of our time as the U.S. leading the world's democracies, the camp of the saints, against the world's autocrats, the forces of darkness.
But is "democracy" really America's cause? Is "autocracy" really America's great adversary in the battle for the future?
Not all autocrats, after all, are our enemies, nor are all democrats our reliable friends.
When Ukraine was invaded, the U.N. General Assembly voted on a resolution which "deplores in the strongest terms" Russia's "aggression" against Ukraine.
Among the 35 nations that abstained was India, the world's largest democracy. Whose side is India on in the great struggle?
Freedom House ranks Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, all friends, partners and sometime allies of the United States, as "not free."
Are we in a global struggle against all of these nations, all of these regimes, because all of them are autocracies?
As for America's own wars, democracy-versus-autocracy would seem to be a misguided way to describe any of them.