“Democracy was on the agenda at last week’s White House meeting between U.S. president Joe Biden and Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, with Biden calling on the two nations to support democracy ‘not just in our hemisphere but around the world,’ and Lula affirming that the United States ‘can count on Brazil in the fight for democracy.’

“Yet what are the United States and its allies doing to counter authoritarian aggression? The Biden-Lula meeting comes two months ahead of the Summit for Democracy, where the United States and other hosts will ‘reaffirm the vitality of the democratic model’ to ‘meet the unprecedented challenges of our time.’ The United States and co-hosts will also take stock of progress toward commitments they and others made during the first summit, held in 2021.

“The inaugural summit provided a high-level platform for the Biden administration to repeat its rhetoric, affirming U.S. support for democracy overseas and warning of the escalating contest between democracy and autocracy.

“Unfortunately, this position hasn’t always been backed by action. While the gathering highlighted the need to push back against authoritarianism, the administration undercut this aim by advancing too narrow of a solution—one focused disproportionately on supporting civil society and curbing graft without shoring up the institutions of governance that make democracy deliver. …”

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