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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/15/21

Why Democracies in G7 & NATO Should Reject U.S. Leadership

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by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies


In full: Joe Biden meets Boris Johnson in Cornwall ahead of G7 summit
(Image by YouTube, Channel: The Telegraph)
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The world has been treated to successive spectacles of national leaders gathering at a G7 Summit in Cornwall and a NATO Summit in Brussels.

The U.S. corporate media have portrayed these summits as chances for President Biden to rally the leaders of the world's democratic nations in a coordinated response to the most serious problems facing the world, from the COVID pandemic, climate change and global inequality to ill-defined "threats to democracy" from Russia and China.

But there's something seriously wrong with this picture. Democracy means "rule by the people." While that can take different forms in different countries and cultures, there is a growing consensus in the United States that the exceptional power of wealthy Americans and corporations to influence election results and government policies has led to a de facto system of government that fails to reflect the will of the American people on many critical issues.

So when President Biden meets with the leaders of democratic countries, he represents a country that is, in many ways, an undemocratic outlier rather than a leader among democratic nations. This is evident in:

- the "legalized bribery" of 2020's $14.4 billion federal election, compared with recent elections in Canada and the U.K. that cost less than 1% of that under strict rules that ensure more democratic results;

- a defeated President proclaiming baseless accusations of fraud and inciting a mob to invade the U.S. Congress on January 6 2021;

- news media that have been commercialized, consolidated, gutted and dumbed down by their corporate owners, making Americans easy prey for misinformation by unscrupulous interest groups, and leaving the U.S. in 44th place on Reporters Without Borders' Press Freedom Index;

- the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world, with over two million people behind bars, and systemic police violence on a scale never seen in other wealthy nations;

- the injustice of extreme inequality, poverty and cradle-to-grave debt for millions in an otherwise wealthy nation;

- an exceptional lack of economic and social mobility compared to other wealthy countries that is the antithesis of the mythical "American Dream";

- privatized, undemocratic and failing education and healthcare systems;

- a recent history of illegal invasions, massacres of civilians, torture, drone assassinations, extraordinary renditions and indefinite detention at Guantanamowith no accountabllity;

- and, last but not least, a gargantuan war machine capable of destroying the world, in the hands of this dysfunctional political system.

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Medea Benjamin is the cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace and author of Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection. 

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