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Opinion: Can America still promote democracy? Yes, and it should start with Ukraine

January 13, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 21.1%. 2 min read.

Last week, as the smoke cleared from the shocking pro-Trump mob attack on the US Capitol, America's global reputation as a stable, strong democracy emerged badly damaged. Now, many are questioning whether it can ever regain the moral authority necessary to lead the world's democracies, fledgling or otherwise.

(CNN)Last week, as the smoke cleared from the shocking pro-Trump mob attack on the US Capitol, America's global reputation as a stable, strong democracy emerged badly damaged.

In fairness, even before the election of President Donald Trump, America's powers of persuasion were on the wane, with former President Barack Obama having allowed rogue leaders -- such as Bashar al-Assad of Syria (who used chemical weapons on innocent civilians) and Vladimir Putin of Russia (who invaded Crimea) -- to cross red lines, stated or implied, with a penalty of mere sanctions, the diplomatic equivalent these days of a slap on the wrist.

But as for US foreign policy, once in office President-elect Joe Biden can move quickly down the list and cancel out the damaging foreign policies Trump has instituted, reversing the "America first" -- or, in some cases, "Trump first" -- attitude the current President has taken toward a host of global issues and hotspots.

An early test of Biden's foreign policy savviness -- as well as his ability to turn the page from Trump's agenda -- could be in a country he handled as the point man for President Obama: Ukraine.

If Biden is to exorcise the demons of Trump's foreign policies and anti-democratic behavior, the culmination of which we all witnessed on January 6, Ukraine would be an appropriate place to start.

Aside from boosting America's global credibility, there's another Trump-era trend that Biden should seek to reverse: American policies that benefit Putin.

And it came after four years of Trump seeming to fulfill Putin's wish list, from publicly casting doubt on Putin's meddling in the 2016 US election (which was aimed at sweeping Trump into power), weakening NATO and perpetually attacking the US media to discrediting the American electoral process.

The relationship deteriorated into open enmity with Putin's 2014 incursion into Crimea, and it came to dominate American domestic politics after Russia's meddling in the 2016 US election and during the yearslong Mueller investigation, the infamous Trump-Zelensky phone call and the impeachment saga that followed.

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