Home WORLD AMERICA No to Cuba, yes to Arabia? Biden’s ambivalences on democracy

No to Cuba, yes to Arabia? Biden’s ambivalences on democracy

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During an interview with reporters on Monday, devoted to a regional summit with Latin America currently being held in Los Angeles, a senior White House official found himself on the defensive.

What logic is there in excluding Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua from this Summit of the Americas due to reservations about democracy and human rights, while at the same time the 79-year-old Democrat is talking about a trip to Saudi Arabia?

It’s a bit like comparing cabbage and carrotssaid the White House official. This in no way suggests an approach that would be different depending on the region.

All this nevertheless remains embarrassing for Joe Biden, who sees himself as a champion of democracies against autocracies and who is not stingy with moral indignation.

He released a report showing the responsibility of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and promised to make the oil kingdom a pariah of the international scene.

However, now, according to the American press, he is considering a meeting with MBS.

Whether [Joe Biden] decides that it is in the interest of the United States to make contact with a foreign leader and that this contact can bring results, then he willsaid his spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre on Monday.

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Everyone is mad at Biden

Pure cynicism, according to Robert Guttman, who teaches political science at Johns Hopkins University. The mid-term legislative elections [en novembre] are approaching and everyone is mad at Biden, and he has to show that he is doing something.

Whether everyone is mad at Biden, it is in particular because of the prices at the pump which do not stop climbing. This infuriates Americans and jeopardizes the Democrats’ chances of retaining control of Congress.

Joe Biden therefore thinks he has everything to gain from a drop in the price of black gold, if Riyadh agrees to produce more.

Conversely, he cannot hope for any political benefit from a dialogue with Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. On the contrary: the Republican opposition would fire red balls at any rapprochement, in particular with the Communist regime in Havana.

The president therefore the bet that Americans will be blinded by a drop in gas prices and not notice that he is getting closer to autocrats and dictatorswas indignant recently Andrea Prasow, director general of the NGO Freedom Initiative.

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Bruce Jentleson, a professor at Duke University, believes the planned trip to Saudi Arabia is also a strategic mistake.

What worries me is that it feels like we’re going to bed ahead of Riyadh.

I do not believe that an increase in Saudi oil production would have a significant effect on the price of gasoline. It is therefore counter-productive, both in terms of democracy and in terms of the balance of powerhe deciphers.

Ambivalence

In Los Angeles, Joe Biden has also scheduled his first bilateral meeting with Brazilian far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

A delicate interview: Washington is indeed publicly worried about the maneuvers of the Brazilian head of state, who is seeking a second term, to challenge his country’s electoral system already.

This is not the first time that the Biden administration has been caught in the act of ambivalence, between democratic ambitions and diplomatic interests, for example the desire to face the ambitions of China.

When he recently organized the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the American president, for example, shunned Burma, but invited regimes that are not exactly considered models of democracy, for example Laos and Cambodia.

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