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Joe Biden can't stop thinking about China and the future of American democracy

April 29, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 23.1%. 2 min read.

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 28: President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress, with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on the dais behind him on April 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. On the eve of his 100th day in office, Biden spoke about his plan to revive America???s economy and health as it continues to recover from a devastating pandemic. He delivered his speech before 200 invited lawmakers and other government officials instead of the normal 1600 guests because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Melina Mara-Pool/Getty Images)

White House aides were prepping President Joe Biden to virtually tour an electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant last week when the President suddenly shifted the conversation to something else entirely: China and the fate of democracy.

Washington (CNN)White House aides were prepping President Joe Biden to virtually tour an electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant last week when the President suddenly shifted the conversation to something else entirely: China and the fate of democracy.

The comments were just the latest in a string of public remarks at nearly a dozen events in which Biden has framed his policy priorities -- foreign and domestic -- through the lens of this vital test for democracy.

But whether he is emphasizing the value of democracy to other countries or to the American public, Biden believes the best path to achieving that is through a government that delivers, with the kinds of big transformative policies Biden has focused on, as he outlined in his address to Congress.

"Things are changing so rapidly in the world in science and technology and a whole range of other issues that -- the question is: In a democracy that's such a genius as ours, can you get the consensus in the timeframe that can compete with autocracy?" Biden told TV anchors on Wednesday ahead of his congressional address.

The direct piece of the puzzle is that the country needs to see again that democracy can deliver tangible results in their lives," said Mike Donilon, Biden's longtime senior adviser.

And as former President Donald Trump crash-tested the guardrails of democracy -- culminating in the January 6 insurrection -- Americans responded favorably to Biden billing his campaign as "a battle for the soul of the nation" and his warnings of an erosion of democratic norms and institutions.

A senior White House official, who requested anonymity to speak more candidly, said Biden's perspective on the rise of autocracies and the threat to democracy was "magnified by seeing some of those same characteristics reflected in the American president (Trump) and the American government for the last four years. "

Just as Roosevelt led the US through a pivotal decade in which democracy was threatened, Biden told his aides he believed the US was at a similar inflection point.

"We're at an inflection point between those who argue that, given all the challenges we face -- from the fourth industrial to a global pandemic -- that autocracy is the best way forward, they argue, and those who understand that democracy is essential, essential, to meeting those challenges," Biden told the audience of world leaders at the Munich conference.

I promise you, they are not waiting, but they're counting on American democracy to be too slow, too limited, and too divided to keep pace," Biden said earlier this month.

by summa-bot

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