At the Summit for Democracy last December, President Joe Biden said that the on-going clash between autocracy and democracy is “the defining challenge of our time.”
Despite the rise of autocratic governments and the recent backsliding of some democracies, proof “that autocracies are weaker and less capable than democracies … is playing out right before our eyes,” said USAID Administrator Samantha Power.
“Vladimir Putin’s brutal war on Ukraine has shown us exactly where despotic power leads. … So threatened was Putin by the Ukrainian people’s embrace of democracy, by their rejection of corrupt oligarchs, by their desire for deeper integration with their peaceful, European neighbors, that the Russian leader rained down steel and death on its neighbor—on a people he claims are his own.”
The resolve of the people of Ukraine to live in freedom and defend their democratic choice and the drive of Russia’s autocratic regime to thwart them by the use of force exemplifies the courage and determination of citizens seeking democracy across the globe.
All over the world, citizens are seeking more accountable, more just, and more representative governments. And they want governments that deliver tangible results, enabling more equitable economic and social development.
“This is a key moment of profound weakness of the world’s illiberal forces, and we must act on it,” said Administrator Power.
“The world’s democracies, allies in the private sector, civil society, multilateral institutions, religious and diaspora communities, everyday citizens — all of us must build on the unity that we have demonstrated in Ukraine to try to extend a broader revolution of dignity to people seeking to be free.”
As we work together to foster the infrastructure of democracy —including a free press, judicial systems, civil society, political parties, local government, and parliaments – we must also help our partners demonstrate that “democracy delivers,” as President Biden has said.
“We call on all who share our values here, in the United States and all over the world, to join in. To extend a revolution of dignity throughout the world,” said Administrator Power. “And in order to do so, we must cement progress in democratic bright spots that are out there right now, help people fight digital authoritarianism, and shine a light on the oligarchs and autocrats who hide their ill-gotten gains in dark corners.”