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Why Should the U.S. Be Supporting Democracy Abroad?
In light of recent protests in Hong Kong, Human Freedom expert Chris Walsh shares how the U.S. can supporting democracy abroad.
For the past several months, people in Hong Kong have been protesting and demonstrating for their basic rights, their freedom, and for the quality of their democracy. Now, what happened this past weekend was actually pretty remarkable. You saw the Hong Kongers demonstrating in front of the U S consulate asking for us support. Now to me, what makes that pretty interesting and pretty special is the fact that the idea of the United States, what it stands for, the values of freedom, democracy, pursuing opportunity, still matters to people who are struggling for their own liberty. I think that's pretty special.
Now, why does that matter to us? Well, in the United States, what happens abroad affects us here at home. We believe that freedom is a universal value. We believe that democracy is the best way to enshrine that value to help people pursue their own freedom, pursue opportunity, and I think that's why it's so important, especially as we look to combat poverty, despair, extremism around the world, that we have right at the top of our government, rhetoric supporting people struggling for their freedom, but then looking to our Congress to develop policy and legislation that enshrines supporting freedom, democracy, and human rights around the world.
I think of the Magnitsky Act. I think of the North Korea Human Rights Act. These are policies that, in law, tell people, dictators around the world, that the United States will not back down from threats of tyranny and that will support those who are looking to spread freedom of information, who are looking for institutions that are credible and transparent and support the will of their people, and is just generally supporting better lives for people. Again, I think democracy is the system that while imperfect, is the best system for helping people to realize that.