On February 23, 2024, MEDC’s executive director Tess McEnery and the International Republican Institute’s Patrick Quirk published an opinion piece in the National Interest that critiqued President Biden’s foreign policy, highlighting a gap exists between rhetoric and action, especially in not consistently applying human rights standards globally and supporting actions that undermine U.S. moral authority. They argue for a foreign policy that genuinely supports democracy, not just for altruistic reasons but because democratic states are more stable and economically beneficial partners.

“Is the world on fire because of Joe Biden’s foreign policy? Perhaps. The administration has certainly not done its best, from its failure to deter Iranian aggression to insufficiently arming Ukraine in its defensive war with Russia. Yet one thing the White House has gotten right is that U.S. foreign policy should be “centered on the defense of democracy and the protection of human rights” based on the recognition that democracy is one of our greatest assets in the contest with authoritarianism.

Despite this stated principle, the Biden administration—as many administrations before it—faces a gap between rhetoric and practice, underinvesting in advancing democracy overseas and failing to hold all countries accountable to the same human rights standards. The administration’s support for the war in Gaza, a human rights and humanitarian crisis that risks wider regionalization by the day, is facilitating a return to cynicism about democracy and human rights rhetoric, and it is an easy way to dismiss U.S. moral authority to support democracy anywhere.”

Read the full piece in the National Interest.