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Will Europe Rise to Biden’s Challenge?

In seeking to renew the image of liberal democracy in an age of rising authoritarianism, US President Joe Biden recognizes that the first step is for the West to get its own house in order. For Europe, that means finally overcoming longstanding political hurdles to deeper economic integration.

BERLIN – US President Joe Biden has found his mission: to secure the West by strengthening its liberal democracies against authoritarian temptations, both foreign and domestic. Having witnessed both an attempted coup and steeply rising socioeconomic inequalities in his own country, Biden knows that democracies will not find support abroad until they have fulfilled their promises of fairness, justice, and security at home.

If Europe wants to be a partner in this democratic revival, it can start by recognizing the realism behind the US administration’s rhetoric. Biden is not pining for some mythical lost era of American greatness, as his predecessor did. He is focusing on the future, and he is concerned with questions that animate democratic liberals and conservatives alike.

For example, how do we create opportunities for those left behind by global capitalism, so that they will not fall prey to populists’ false promises? How do we restore other developed democratic countries’ commitment to democratic values? How do we rein in overpowered financial and tech industries, or forge a more dynamic global order?

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