By Ayya Lmahamad
The "Summit for Democracy" initiated by U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled for December 9-10 in the virtual format.
As Biden himself said he wants to gather the leaders of "various democratic countries of the world" on a single platform for a virtual summit in support of democracy. He stated that his goal is to "set a positive agenda for democratic renewal around the world", adding that the defining question of the modern era is whether democratic countries can come together to achieve real results in a rapidly changing world.
It is worth noting here that democracy is a form of government in which the people have the authority to deliberate and decide legislation (direct democracy), or to choose governing officials to do so (representative democracy). Such a system of government is based on three pillars: the power of the people, freedom, and the rule of law.
The question is raised of how a country like Armenia, where human rights are grossly violated, is invited to the summit, and countries like Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Hungary are not.
A few days ago, UN Human Rights Committee experts expressed concern about undue legal restrictions on the freedom of peaceful assembly, unjustifiable police interference in peaceful demonstrations as well as arbitrary and prolonged detention of demonstrators.
Summit - clear example of double standards
In an interview with the local media, Azerbaijani MP Vugar Iskandarov said that it is ridiculous that countries such as Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Hungary are not invited to the summit, where the level of democracy is much higher than that in the majority of invited countries.
The MP noted that the organization of such a summit by the U.S. is itself already absurd. He stated that by organizing it, the U.S. wants to present itself to the world as a “patron of democracy”.
“By organizing such a summit, the U.S. wants to present itself to the world as a ‘patron of democracy’, as if the U.S. is the guardian of democracy and not all the countries of the world. While we all remember what happened in the last U.S. presidential election when Joe Biden tried to beat Trump. Opinion polls show that U.S. citizens still favor Trump over Biden, and Trump is still saying in his statements that he will not accept Biden’s results. So where is democracy?” he said.
"Divide and conquer" policy
Political scientist Shabnam Hasanova told the local media that the U.S-organized summit amid growing problems of democracy in this country is aimed at dividing the world into camps based on the “divide and conquer” policy.
"The world has witnessed in recent years that U.S. intentions to ‘embrace democracy’ in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, other Muslim states in the Middle East have led to tragedies and bloodshed,” she said.
The invitation of Armenia, which at the state level supports terror, to the summit, and the absence of Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Hungary from the upcoming event, create a clear idea of the criteria by which the event's participants were selected, the analyst added.
Commenting on the absence of Azerbaijan and Turkey in the list of guests invited to the summit, American analyst Paul Goble considered such a decision by Biden strange.
“As for the criteria of inviting [countries] to the upcoming summit, I do not have much understanding. I think the U.S. bases its decision on the assessments of human rights activists from different countries, mainly those opposed to Azerbaijan and Turkey,” the analyst told the local media.
He noted that this summit is not the best way to promote democracy, given that there are no countries in the world without problems in this direction. Goble added that promoting democracy and supporting countries on this path is laudable, but it is not easy to implement this in practice.
"In the early 1990s, the U.S. held a summit like this in the hope that it would encourage countries to move in what the U.S. believed was the right direction. This year, the number of countries participating is comparatively smaller, indicating a decline in interest in the event. I don't think that such meetings are the best way to promote democratic values, given that there have always been and always will be problems with democracy," he said.
The Baku-based news website Day.az stated that how Armenia ended up among democracies is not a difficult question.
“No need to go deep into the previous years, it is enough to see what has been happening and continues to happen in Washington-Armenian diaspora relations over the past year. The curtsies of American diplomacy towards Yerevan, the endless anti-Azerbaijani discussions and decisions made at the insistence of the Armenian lobby speak for themselves,” the website stated.
Another Baku-based news website noted that the fact that, for example, Iraq and Congo received invitations to the summit, but Hungary, Azerbaijan and Turkey did not is absurd.
“It turns out that if the leadership of a country pursues a foreign policy that disagrees with the U.S. position, it automatically becomes an outcast and has no right to its own, different from the U.S. opinion. Those countries that pursue independent policies aimed at protecting their national interests are put on the list of 'undeserving' and 'undemocratic' ones,” the website said.
The selective choice of countries participating in the Biden-led "democracy" summit suggests that America and its leader are fundamentally distorting the concept of democracy by forcing it to certain limits.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz