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Election 2020: America's Foreign Policy Future

Read: Joe Biden’s ‘foreign policy and American leadership’ plan here.

Foreign policy is in the Democratic platform, but it’s not a big talking point at the party convention. Maybe it should be. We talk with global analysts about why any plan to rebuild the U.S. internally might also rely on restoring the nation’s position internationally.


Stephen Walt, professor of international affairs at Harvard University. Author of “The Hell of Good Intentions.” (@stephenWalt)

Dr. Leslie Vinjamuri, director of the U.S. and the Americas program and dean of the Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs at Chatham House. (@londonvinjamuri)

From The Reading List

Foreign Policy: “The Death of American Competence” — “No matter how the federal government responded, the United States was never going to escape COVID-19 entirely.”

NPR: “John Kerry Pans Trump’s Foreign Policy As ‘Blooper Reel’” — “Former secretary of state and former Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry used his time at the Democratic National Convention to draw a sharp contrast between Joe Biden — a fellow former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — and President Trump.”

Chatham House: “Why Democracies Do Better at Surviving Pandemics” — “The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the debate over whether authoritarian states are gaining the upper hand across the world. In contrast, democracies are showing capacity for innovation and adaptation.”

Foreign Affairs: “Why America Must Lead Again” — “By nearly every measure, the credibility and influence of the United States in the world have diminished since President Barack Obama and I left office on January 20, 2017.”

Chatham House: “In Search of the American State” — “The urgent need for US leadership to drive forward a coordinated international response to coronavirus is developing rapidly alongside snowballing demands for Washington to step up its efforts at home.”

Vox: “Joe Biden’s plan to fix the world” — “If Joe Biden wins in November, he will face a slew of global crises on the first day of his presidency — many of them caused or at least exacerbated by the presidency of Donald Trump.”

New York Times: “As Relations With U.S. Sink, China Tones Down ‘Hotheaded’ Nationalism” — “For weeks, China fanned nationalist sentiment in its escalating war of words with the Trump administration.”

Foreign Affairs: “The Democratic Renewal: What It Will Take to Fix U.S. Foreign Policy” — “If elected president, Joe Biden will inherit a United States that has abdicated its leadership role in the world and lost its claim to moral authority.”

Foreign Policy: “Inside the Massive Foreign-Policy Team Advising Biden’s Campaign” — “Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s team of informal foreign-policy and national security advisors has expanded to over 2,000 people, including 20 working groups spanning issues from diversity in national security to arms control, defense, intelligence, and homeland security, according to campaign officials and an internal list of the co-chairs of those groups obtained by Foreign Policy.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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