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"Democracy is a process, not a destination"


Guest commentary by Susan Corke, Senior Fellow, German Marshall Fund in Washington, DC on Joe Biden's first 100 days as US president.

Over the past several weeks, Biden has laid out several things he wants to do in his first 100 days in office. The proposals include tackling the pandemic, reversing immigration policies put in place under President Donald Trump and addressing criminal justice reform. What will Joe Biden's first 100 days as US president look like?

America is reeling from the riotous and deadly sedition. America faces its moment of reckoning: Should Biden move forward with a message of unity and not get dragged into the Trump muck? Or should he focus on justice and accountability for the insurrection at the Capitol and the events leading up to it? 

Given the dangerous state of our nation, many worry that Biden's first 100 days will be thrown off course if impeachment becomes the focus. For the longer term good and survival of our country, however, impeachment is necessary because if this is not a high crime that deserves impeachment, then nothing is. Reconciliation cannot begin until there is repentance and a shared set of facts, starting with an acknowledgement that Biden legitimately won the election.  In order for the country to heal, and work as Biden has promised, the country needs accountability and justice for those responsible for these heinous acts in the first 100 days. 

Charting a course for pandemic recovery, after close to 400,000 deaths, will be the most urgent priority for the incoming administration. This is also a place to prioritize having the transatlantic alliance manage pandemic recovery together - tackle the global emergency as a collective security operation and demonstrate the necessity of values-based alliances.

America must rebuild its credibility on human rights but that does not have to be a go it alone exercise. With humility, the new administration can approach its own democratic challenges with transparency and accountability within multilateral institutions. Some are arguing that Biden should quietly shelve his idea of hosting a global summit for democracy and instead convene a domestic summit for democracy. Democracy is a process, not a destination. We can improve our democracy at that same time that we help to defend and advance it globally. The world might appreciate seeing America seek criticism and help from partners. 

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