For those excited by Joe Biden’s campaign promises to restore democracy promotion as a central plank of U.S. foreign policy, the months following last year’s presidential election were hair-raising. As Donald Trump refused to concede defeat and his supporters spread baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud, experts raised alarms that the fraught climate and Republican intransigence were eroding America’s global reputation. The ensuing loss of credibility, they warned, would make it all the more difficult for the U.S. to hold other countries accountable for authoritarian behavior.
One insurrection, one inauguration, and 100 days later, the democracy promotion community has found some encouragement in Biden’s early acts in office. During a speech on his administration’s foreign policy agenda in early February, Biden deemed democratic values the “grounding wire of our global foreign policy.” That