Memo to the President: Restore American Leadership to Address Transnational Threats
The 21st century will be defined by security threats that transcend borders, from climate change, nuclear proliferation and terrorism to conflict, poverty and economic instability. The greatest test of global leadership will be building partnerships and institutions for cooperation that can meet the challenge.
On January 15, Carlos Pascual offered his recommendations to President Obama on how to restore credible American leadership; galvanize cooperative action against major global challenges; and revitalize key international institutions. The memo is the eleventh of 12 Brookings memos on the most crucial public policy priorities facing the new president.
Following the presentation of his paper, Pascual moderated a discussion with a distinguished panel including Brookings Senior Fellows Bruce Jones, Michael O’Hanlon and Bruce Riedel.
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Biden’s overarching message [in an address to the U.N. General Assembly] . . . was that strategic competition with China will not in any way diminish America’s commitment to working with other nations to tackle shared existential threats like climate change and pandemics. [The challenge for the U.S. president is to find a way of tackling shared threats in an era of great power rivalry and nationalism...] He will try to work with China but he also needs a back-up plan if that fails to materialise. Today’s speech was a first step in that direction.