Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
April 14, 2021
I’m honored to introduce today’s event – the launch of the report by the Freedom House, CSIS, and McCain Institute Task Force on the U.S. Strategy to Support Democracy and Counter Authoritarianism.
This report – and today’s conversation – could not be more timely. By Freedom House’s own calculations, the world has experienced 15 straight years of democratic decline. That decline is driven by so many factors. Factors like persistent inequality, pervasive disinformation, and populist authoritarians sowing seeds of division and distrust. Most frightening of all, over the past few years, we’ve seen how even robust democracies, like our own, are far from immune.
Democracy is a process. Democracy is not easy. And it’s precious.
The attacks on the Capitol show just how close we can come to losing it. But even more important is what happened only hours after the attacks. Members of Congress went back into the very same buildings that had been under siege. And they did their duty and completed the business of the American people. That gives me hope.
Secretary Blinken has noted – and I agree – that in an international context, it’s remarkable how transparent America has been about our challenges. Other places might try to sweep this under the rug, or deny the ugly, painful truth of those attacks our democracy has faced over the past few years. Instead, we are bringing our struggles into the sunlight, and confronting them directly.
We acknowledge – as always – that our nation is imperfect. But every day we strive to make it more perfect. It’s that striving that sets us apart. And today represents a remarkable step forward in that effort. Because you can’t aim for that more perfect union without a plan. You can’t strive without a strategy.
So, I am deeply thankful of the work you are doing to draw attention to this challenge. Developing these tangible recommendations to policymakers could not be more important. And this is only the beginning of our partnership. Together, let’s remain committed, to strengthening our democracy at home, and advancing democratic values around the globe.