With President Biden’s first democracy summit completed last week, the next steps will be continuing the dialogue the convening has generated and turning sights on implementing initiatives announced at and prompted by the conference. Given the national and international state of affairs, the summit performed a useful function by providing a high-level platform for devoting attention to the global implications of democratic decline and rallying like-minded nations around the ideals of democracy.
Globally, democracy needs bolstering, and the Biden administration has committed to reasserting a credible American diplomatic voice in support of it. As anyone who has been paying attention here at home over the past several years is aware, U.S. democracy is undergoing a substantial stress test. The latest Freedom House report warns that the United States has declined, according to its rating system, by 11 points in the past decade. In its recent report, the European think tank International IDEA included the United States among countries where democracy is backsliding. I expect this turbulence in American democracy to continue at least a few more years, perhaps through this decade.
Not only do Americans need to feel safer at home; they also need to be safer at home in their communities.
Among other areas of democracy bolstering, last week’s summit focused on countering authoritarianism. On that first pillar, moving forward, the summit identified issues such as combating corruption, defending human rights and countering digital authoritarians as specific areas of work in the years ahead. Those global efforts are worthy and important, but if the United States intends to address the lure of authoritarianism domestically, an additional area of focus should include devoting deliberate attention to making the American people safer at home.
And this effort to provide security needs to be undertaken in a thoughtful way that bolsters confidence in the rule of law through adherence to and respect for civil liberties and rights.
Read the full story from Lawfare.
More from CNAS
PodcastUnfinished Business at the Department of Justice
Carrie Cordero joins Lawfare executive editor Scott R. Anderson to discuss recent events involving the Department of Justice on The Lawfare Podcast. Listen to the full conver...
By Carrie Cordero
ReportsFrom Mardi Gras to the Philippines: A Review of DHS Homeland Security Investigations
Introduction As it approaches 20 years since its creation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is due for substantial updates in order to improve its ability to adapt t...
By Carrie Cordero & Katie Galgano
Congressional TestimonyHearing on Securing the Homeland: Reforming DHS to Meet Today’s Threats
Submitted Written Testimony I. Introduction Chairman Thompson, Ranking Member Katko, and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today on...
By Carrie Cordero
ReportsReassessing Homeland Security Intelligence
Introduction The discipline of intelligence has been a central element of the homeland security enterprise over the past two decades since the terrorist attacks of September 1...
By Christian Beckner