COVID-19 exposes a changed world: A prescription for renewing US global partnership

Hands holding a a globe like a Rubik's cube


The world of 2021 that awaits the Biden-Harris administration no longer resembles the relatively simple and stable post-World War II international system, nor the dominant position the U.S. briefly held in the post-Cold War period of the 1990s. Nor is it even the world following 9/11 or the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009 that Vice President Biden helped the Obama administration navigate.

The economic, social, and political disruption wrought by the current pandemic, along with retrenchment from global leadership of the Trump administration, have unmasked and accelerated what has been an evolving alteration in the international order and the U.S. position in that frame.

The disruption to the international order is forcing a reassessment of the notion of “American exceptionalism” and what is meant by “U.S. global leadership”—maybe “leadership” in a multipolar/multi-actor world means listening and partnering rather than driving the train?

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