From his 2021 address through the Munich Security Conference to last week’s Summit for Democracy, President Biden has been clear. He wants to frame world politics as a contest between liberal democracy and autocracy. That’s unfortunate. While not completely misguided, this approach hampers America’s diplomacy overseas and further erodes the weak consensus at home behind a strong American foreign policy around the world.
Mr. Biden is invoking an old American tradition here. Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt framed the world wars as conflicts between democracy and dictatorship. And from Harry S. Truman to Ronald Reagan, America’s Cold War presidents used similar language.