It’s still a mess out there. A short list of what’s on Joe Biden’s foreign policy plate includes damage to relationships with institutions of regional and global governance like the EU, NATO, and the UN, hot spots such as the Middle East, North Korea, China, Russia, Africa, Venezuela and Central America, and the longest war continues in Afghanistan.
Then there is the climate, the pandemic, the global economic crisis, millions of refugees waiting in camps, immigration and asylum issues, terrorism, cyber security, nuclear weapons, and oceans brimming with plastic garbage.
Complicating matters further is the rise of nationalistic and authoritarian regimes and fantasy-based, social-media fueled propaganda. The advent of the Biden administration is a hopeful time, but it starts from a crater left by four years of disrespect toward the international order. Part of President Trump’s America First agenda was to marginalize and dismantle the State Department, draining it of experienced practitioners of the foreign-policy arts. Devastated morale led to mass resignations by career diplomats, issue experts and country specialists who spoke the languages and possessed the historical and cultural knowledge needed to guide interactions and decisions.
The good news is that President Biden is eminently qualified to assume leadership. Prior to a vice presidency rich in international assignments, he alternately served as either chairman or ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has the standing to attract talented, experienced people. He will begin to rebuild a functional State Department, mend key relationships, and re-establish the United States as a competent and willing partner for peace, security, and global problem solving.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog post do not necessarily reflect the official policy of Citizens for Global Solutions.