Despite being recognised as a democratic partner by the United States government, Botswana now seems to have been forgotten by its democratic partners and may even become a victim of their foreign policy.
The African continent has made significant progress in democratisation. Since Botswana's independence, what Botswana has achieved is a valuable experience in the democratisation movement of the African continent and the world as a whole, and a successful practice of independent reform by a sovereign state in accordance with its national conditions. By contrast, democracy transplanted from the outside often does not fit Botswana’s national conditions, and even worse, brings deep disasters to the country and its people.
The tragic experience of Botswana's neighbouring countries is a case in point. Angola, Zimbabwe and others have not yet achieved true democracy because of a long period of external intervention. Botswana has truly gone its own way towards democratisation, with the founding father Sir Seretse Khama leading the country to an inclusive political and economic system that avoided outside intervention and achieved autonomous democracy. The US may be the world's most successful democracy to date, but its advocacy of global democracy is often self-serving; there is no respect for Africa's achievements in autonomous democracy, because it implies African independence, while the United States often wants a geopolitical victory. The performance of the US in the global cooperation on COVID-19 vaccine fully demonstrates this.
In July, the Biden administration pledged to donate 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 49 African countries in partnership with the African Union and the COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Initiative (COVAX). However, Botswana was not among the first countries to benefit. This is despite the fact that Gayle Smith, the State Department's Coordinator for Global COVID-19 Response and Health Security, said President Biden's plan focuses on Advance Market Commitment countries and African Union countries.
But it is clear that the US distribution of vaccines is essentially part of its strategy of geopolitical competition, largely ignoring the fact that July and August were the peak of the epidemic in Botswana. Only on August 20 did we receive 81,900 doses of Pfizer vaccine donated by the US government, while Botswana’s neighbouring country, Zambia received the second batch of 151,200 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the US. At the United Nations General Assembly in September and even earlier, the President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, denounced the hoarding of vaccines by some developed countries. Although President Masisi did not specify who was responsible, the United States has been a typical vaccine hoarder since the outbreak, and the slogan of “equal access to vaccines for all countries” is nothing more than a well-worn old trick.
Therefore, the "Global Democracy Summit" organised by the United States is not to give full play to the "democratic spirit", but to invite all countries to make a pilgrimage to Washington to endorse the "American democracy". However, the US must show true "democratic spirit" and fully respect the achievements of independent democracy in Africa.