October 01, 2019

Want to prevail against China? Prioritize democracy assistance

By Patrick Quirk and David Shullman

The United States is reshaping how it uses foreign aid in order to compete with China. The executive branch and Congress are exploring efforts — some controversial and still few on details — to better leverage foreign aid as a tool to prevail in an era of great power competition.

This competition is one over resources, influence and nothing short of the world order’s future contours — or, as the 2017 National Security Strategy aptly proclaims, “between those who value human dignity and freedom and those who oppress individuals and enforce uniformity.”

The strength of democracy in places where the United States and China are competing will be a key determinant of the competition’s result. Authoritarian countries are more vulnerable to Beijing’s coercion or cooptation because their regimes are less constrained by independent media, free elections, and other institutional checks that would otherwise control against such subversion. The numbers are not in America’s favor. Over the last decade, democracy has declined globally while the ranks of authoritarian states have swelled.

Read the full article in The Hill.

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