Biden Says Democracy is Winning. It’s Not That Simple.

July 16, 2023


Is democracy on a roll? You would think so if you listened to President Joe Biden’s speech at last week’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Vilnius, Lithuania. It was vintage Biden, the rhetoric alternately soaring and stumbling. He started with “the transformational power of freedom” in Lithuania and its Baltic neighbors as they broke free of Soviet rule, lighting up “the flame of liberty.” The enlargement of NATO and the advance of democracy are one and the same, he argued, because the alliance is “bound by democratic values.”

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Fine words. But what if democracy, far from being ascendant, is really in retreat?

Niall Ferguson is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and the author, most recently, of “Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe.” He is the founder of Greenmantle, an advisory firm, FourWinds Research, Hunting Tower, a venture capital partnership, and the filmmaker Chimerica Media.

Originally published in Bloomberg.

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