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Draghi and the Defense of Democracy

US President Joe Biden's administration has made forging a common approach with its allies to China and Russia a pillar of its foreign policy. The prospect that former European Central Bank president Mario Draghi will join the European Union’s core leadership could go a long way toward achieving that.

STANFORD – Mario Draghi, the European Central Bank’s former president, has been asked to form a government of national unity in Italy at a pivotal moment. Coming so soon after Joe Biden’s arrival in the White House, and with the impending retirement of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a Draghi premiership means that French President Emmanuel Macron will no longer cut such a forlorn figure in Europe when standing up for the West and democratic values.

Donald Trump’s one-term US presidency weakened those values, and the West remains saddled with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, “Britain’s Trump,” as well as a motley assortment of populist rulers in Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, and elsewhere. Given Draghi’s tested leadership skills and unquestioned fidelity to democratic norms, his arrival in the European Council may prove to be as important for the future of Europe and transatlantic relations as Merkel’s departure.

Facing external challenges like Russia and China and internal threats from its home-grown populists and authoritarians, a post-Merkel Europe needs leaders who are more in sync with the pro-democracy Biden administration. Having Draghi, who is very pro-American, join the European Union’s core leadership will go a long way toward achieving that.

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