Wednesday’s riot left US diplomats stunned and worried about the impact it will have on US credibility in the eyes of the world and the State Department’s effectiveness in promoting democracy overseas.
“My sense is this has made our jobs even more difficult, as part of what we do is promote democratic values abroad,” one diplomat said. “Perpetuating disinformation, in many cases by our elected leaders, led to this moment. This, frankly, makes us look hypocritical. I still believe in the power of our message, but we are clearly not a perfect country and need to do some serious self-reflection.”
The guidance sent Thursday by the State Department outlined a series of answers to potential questions about whether US democracy is in peril or if America has lost its moral standing, noting that Wednesday’s events “show once again that there is a right way and a wrong way for the citizens of a democracy to express themselves.”
“That does not in any way diminish the power of our democratic history and the principles that we strive toward,” it said.
“Our democracy has been tested in the past, and it will be tested in the future. These experiences make us stronger as we work to perfect our union and our democracy. That we are tested, however, should never cause anyone — allies, friends, or foes — to doubt the strength of America’s democratic institutions or our people,” the guidance said.
The guidance does not in any way connect President Donald Trump to the rioters. It highlights a tweet from Pompeo in which he said: “America is better than what we saw today at a place where I served as a member of Congress and saw firsthand democracy at its best.”
It is noteworthy that Biden’s tweets are among those highlighted, given that Pompeo has not been consistently supportive of the transition to the President-elect’s administration. In the early days after the election, after Biden’s victory was clear, Pompeo would not acknowledge his win.
“Our way is plain: It is the way of democracy — of lawfulness, and of respect — respect for each other, and for our nation,” Biden wrote.